Master storyteller Asghar Farhadi weaves magic again with Le Passé (in French) or 'The Past' translated into English. Academy Award winner Farhadi brings to 'The Past' the same brilliance that he created in his highly acclaimed movie from 2011, 'A Separation'.
Beware of spoilers ahead.
The movie begins with Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returning to Paris after a 4 year hiatus to finalise his divorce with Marie-Anne (Bérénice Bejo of 'The Artist' fame). Marie has 2 children from a previous marriage. Life is more complicated than it seems as Marie is now in a relationship with Samir (Tahar Rahim) an Arab man, who has a 5 year old son and a wife in a coma. Marie's older daughter Lucie does not appreciate this relationship and makes her disapproval very evident. Marie seeks Ahmad's help to deal with Lucie.
What follows over the next few days is a string of emotions, a daughter who is running away from her mother and cannot face her mother's new relationship, a man and woman desperately trying to leave something behind in the past and a woman and a man unsure of their future together.
As the movie unfolds, it reveals each actor's perspective. Farhadi doesn't focus on the right or wrong. He is not out there to make the audience believe in a story he wants to tell, but lets the viewer fancy their own story ending. As a viewer you soon realise that apart from all the emotion and earthliness of the movie, there is also an element of mystery that is slowly coming to light.
As I watched the movie, I silently applauded Farhadi for the screenplay. The scene where Ahmad (the past) and Samir (the present) sit together in the kitchen is commendable. The subtle elements of everyday life that Farhadi adds to the movie doesn't go unnoticed. They keep the momentum going and leave the audience asking for more.
From the beginning of the movie, Ahmad seems to have all the answers and makes the viewer believe he is the key to the puzzle. Somewhere over halfway, Farhadi throws his trump card and a little mystery into the mix and the focus suddenly shifts to Samir and his relationship with his son, his comatose wife & Marie.
In the last 20 minutes of the movie everything starts adding up, but Farhadi doesn't solve the equation for you. He provides a finish that dwells in the viewer's mind, just like he did with his Oscar winning 'A Separation.'
My take, there is nothing not to like about this drama.