Film / A Separation

A 2011 Iranian drama about the pair who decides to separate on the ground of their irreconcilable goals: Simin wants to leave Iran in order to give her daughter Termeh a chance to grow up in a less restrictive culture, whilst Nader believes his primary obligation is to care for his father, who suffers from Alzheimer disease. The film subtly comments on cultural and psychological differences by confronting the two main characters with another married pair with less education and more traditional worldview - Hodjat and Razieh. Apart from all that, it is a compelling crime story full of suspense and plot devices characteristic for Agatha Christie's books.

Examples of tropes included:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Nader is not punished for Razieh's miscarriage, which was most likely not his fault, but he and Simin are still separating. Their mourning clothes as they wait for Termeh to make her decision also indicate that Nader's father has died.
  • Buy Them Off: Simine sees this as the ideal solution. In fact, Hodjat and Razieh are okay with this - but Nader sees paying the money as an admission of guilt and refuses.
  • Daddy's Girl: Termeh, who seems to get on better with Nader than with Simin.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Averted - Simin does not want to retain any material possessions with the exception of a couple of books.
  • Feuding Families: Nader and Simin vs. Hodjat and Razieh, as a result of unfortunate conflict about the old man.
  • Fiery Redhead: Simin.
  • Foreshadowing: Near the beginning of the film, Nader tell Termeh that her teacher made a mistake with her homework, and says that it's better to be marked wrong than to be wrong. Later, his refusal to admit that he had anything to do with Razieh's miscarriage prevents the story from being resolved quickly and in the end means that the families will never come to any agreement. But hey, he never confessed any guilt, right?
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Simin and Termeh.
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee: Nader.
  • The Fundamentalist: Hodjat.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: All over the place. All of the characters wind themselves deeper and deeper into moral dilemmas where they struggle between their faith, their family obligations, the law, and the truth.
  • House Husband: Nader.
  • Missing Mom: Simin for Termeh, for quite some time.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Razieh.
  • Never My Fault: Nader refuses to admit that he could have caused Razieh's miscarriage, and in fact won't accept responsibility for anything that happens in the film.
  • No Ending: The film ends without revealing the ultimate outcome of the separation.
  • No Woman's Land: Downplayed. Hodjat has some very backwards views, as does Razieh, and Simin wants to raise Termeh outside of Iran. However, women are not portrayed as downtrodden or without rights in any way.
  • Papa Wolf: Hodjat.
  • Punch a Wall: Hodjat again.
  • Solomon Divorce: Termeh's problem.
  • Taking the Kids: Simin attempts to do it.