A HERO – Review by Gadi Elkon

Asghar Farhadi’s latest film, A HERO, took home the Grand Prix from Cannes Film Festival.  Our Gadi Elkon hopes you will check out this moving movie.  Here is the full review.

Asghar Farhadi’s films all tackle the human experience through believable stories of struggle mainly set in his homeland of Iran.  Farhadi’s truthful story telling is of the sort that shakes the establishment’s view of the everyday people that inhabit our world.  A HERO is a simple tale of a few days in the life of Rahim.  Rahim is an inmate due to debt in the town of Shiraz, Iran.  He is allowed a two-day furlough to try and raise the funds to pay off his debt to a local merchant who is his former father-in-law.  Rahim’s journey home is filled with elements of shame and humiliation, but his upbeat and quiet nature make him completely sympathetic as a character.  During this furlough Rahim is able to further see his girlfriend, who in secret is trying to help him.  Rahim’s son is being raised by his uncle and aunt who Rahim stay with during these two days.  The film follows as Rahim becomes recognized for a good deed that he orchestrated and ultimately blows up in his face.  This world wind tale sees Rahim go from honored figured to dreg of his family and community.

Asghar’s films have an amazing quality in which the stories don’t always end up with a happy closure.  Rather his films are slices of reality that hold a more impactful resonance.  Setting the film in the more tourist friendly and lovely Shiraz rather than the bigger Tehran helps add another character to the film. The lovely mountain scenery expands the film’s scope even further.  Director of Photography Ali Ghazi both captures the vast setting and the intimate family abodes we visit.

Amir Jadidi’s subtle performance is rich in its ability to disarm him and still allow for moments of pure bliss or devastation.  His ability to charm his undeniable and the interactions with his son and girlfriend showcase a real passion to love.  The damning cloud of his pending re-jailing allows for the suspense quality of the film.  Mohsen Tanabandeh, as Bahram, delivers a real gem as the indifferent figure that has forced Rahim to be jailed for the debt owed.  Bahram’s toughness is a such an important element to the film’s never-ending struggle. The women in the film are amazing in showcasing the culture elements of Iran and also acting as the heartfelt belief in Rahim.  His sister Malihe (Sahar Goldoost) and girlfriend Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldoost) standout for their tremendous performances.  The story though hits you hardest whenever Rahim’s son, Siavash (Saleh Karimai), is involved in the scene.  Siavash has a strong studder that he tries his best to battle through in the film.  This studder is an element in the film that elicits sympathy, confusion and even is used as a sort of weapon for the battle of Rahim’s freedom.  Rahim’s reaction to his son’s studder holds such depth in that he appears both humiliated but also later strengthened by his son’s constant power.  Along with the studder element of the character Ashgar Farhadi shares a Spielberg-like quality to capture the innocent point-of-view of children in a majority of his films.  He showcases so much heart by holding on shots of children’s eyes as they watch others communicate.  Seeing Siavash’s quiet view of the battles and struggles of his father are at times heartbreaking.

A HERO is not Farhadi’s grandest film, but all of his work holds such truth and reality that they stand well above most other movie experiences.  Rahim and his family’s story is well worth your viewing and you will go away from this movie truly moved.

The film is out in theaters today and on Amazon Prime Video January 21st, 2022


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