I’ve been sitting on The Past for 10 days now. I was convinced of its greatness after initial viewing, and was immediately prepared to write a review praising the film. But I wanted to let it settle in my mind as I tried to process the fact that this mastermind of a director has crafted two masterpieces in the past three years. He follows up his towering, beautiful A Separation (still one of the best screenplays I’ve ever seen in film) with the equally rich and morally complex tale that lies within The Past. The performances from Bérénice Bejo and Tahar Rahim in the lead are tonally perfect and equally divisive; at times they are torturous and painstakingly set in their ways, but they are always grounded in personal truths. As the movie uses its last five minutes to navigate its main character’s inner struggle in a continuous, methodically staged long take, I was amazed by the level of tenacity and subtlety Farhadi continues to demonstrate. He understands the complexity within our actions and the repercussions they have on others more so than any other director working today. He’s evolving into an auteur and a voice in cinema that I truly love; his latest film is a great, brilliant work.
Grade: ★★★★★ (out of 5)