THE PERSIAN VERSION – A Review by Jenn Rohm
Maryam Keshavarz has written and directed a true story… “sort of”. The Persian Version reminds me of diary/journal entries by an early 20’s female. Some things are larger than reality, others glossed over, throw in some soul searching, and don’t forget what you will need for therapy sessions one day to unravel your relationship with Mom.
The opening sets the tone to be the story of a woman who bucks the system as she works toward achieving her dreams. Raised in an Iranian American family with eight brothers, culture and tradition set the tone for what was expected. When in Iran Leila (Layla Mohammadi) was too American, and in America too Iranian. Really, she just wanted to decide for herself. Like many films about family dynamics, there are issues between Mother and Daughter. Shireen (Niousha Noor) must find her way, in a country where she is still learning the language and customs, after her husband Ali Reza (Bijan Daneshmand) falls ill. This is the second act. There is also a third act after we learn there was a scandal in Iran. Younger Ali Reza (Shervin Alenabi) and Shireen (Kamand Shafieisabet) tell the story that led to their moving to America.
This film has some things going for it. The choices of music are eclectic and fitting. The costume department did a good job. I do like a bright color-blocked power suit with a skirt. The acting by Mohammadi, Noor, and Shafieisabet took me on their emotional path.
The three acts felt like separate movies. Of course, different locations and time periods would be expected. The choices for lighting, style, and pace of the storytelling also led to my feeling of bouncing around as if I were channel surfing. This was an intentional choice by Keshavarz who wanted to tell the story of three women.
Knowing the full film, I understand why what was included remained. The change in pace did have me checking my watch when it flashed back to the parents in Iran. Then when the movie was over, I felt like so much had been packed into a short amount of time.
Good choice for a watch before brunch. Then you can all break it down and relive moments with good friends, good food, and maybe an adult beverage or two.
Director: Maryam Keshavarz
Written By: Maryam Keshavarz
Cast: Layla Mohammadi, Niousha Noor, Kamand Shafieisabet
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual reference
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Selig Rating: 4 stars
Runtime: 1h 47m
Release Date: November 3, 2023
Movie Site: The Persian Version Website
Trailer: The Persian Version Trailer
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well there was nothing else…
1 Star – Total waste of time.