The Past – 7.9

Among the things we don’t know: why Celine tried to kill herself; why Marie didn’t book a hotel for Ahmad; why Naimi lied to Lucie; why Marie is marrying Samir; why Ahmad left Marie; and, in the final shot, whether Celine is brain dead and whether Samir wants her to be. For each question, director Farhadi has provided two plausible answers. We do know the only possible reason Ahmad and Samir both hover around Marie: Berenice Bejo is beautiful – which is good for the viewer because her character is a pain. More than just pointing out that we can never be sure of someone else’s motives, the film seems to say that we can’t even be sure of them ourselves. This film, like its predecessor A Separation, is a wonderful character study; but like a Springsteen song, it took a wrong turn near the end and it just kept goin’. We thought the movie was about Ahmad and Marie, and until the end it was. Then, for some reason, it became about Samir and Celine, the least interesting people on the stage.

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