2009 | Drama | 119 minutes | Farsi with English subtitles
The film, About Elly, begins when a group of three married couples, their three children, Ahmad, a recently divorced young man, and Elly, the attractive, single teacher of one of the girls, rent a dilapidated villa for a weekend on the Caspian Sea. Sepideh, the wife who planned the trip, invited Elly, hoping she would connect with Ahmad. They all seem to get along, pitching in to clean the house and enjoying the beach. One day, one of the mothers asks Elly to watch the kids as they swim in the sea. Elly is distracted, and one of the boys, Arash, looks like he’s drowning. He is rescued and resuscitated by the men. Arash survives but Elly is nowhere to be seen. Some in the group are alarmed she may have drowned. Others feel she fled out of guilt. Everyone gets confused with the arrival of Alireza, who claims to be Elly’s fiancée. Emotions are high as theories of Elly’s past and her mysterious disappearance are argued the rest of the weekend.
Why Stream This Film?
Film critic Kenneth Turan wrote the following: “It’s an irony of the international film scene that arguably the greatest contemporary creator of adult psychological dramas comes from a country that views America’s movie business and everything associated with it as the Great Satan. That’s why seeing About Elly is not only entertaining, but also so important.”
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 99%
- Metacritic Score: 87
Berlin International Film Festival: Winner, Silver Bear, Best Director (Asghar Farhadi)
Asia-Pacific Film Festival: Winner, Best Screenplay (Asghar Farhadi); Best Film
The film was a New York Times Critic’s Pick
Now streaming on:
Legal issues have kept ABOUT ELLY from the U.S. until now. But this terrific ensemble piece has lost none of its power. It has the impressive ability to put viewers in an emotional vise and keep them there. Farhadi has written a first-rate script. Emotional intensity is Farhadi’s métier and to see ABOUT ELLY is to revel in his skill.
ABOUT ELLY is gorgeous to look at. The ever-changing sky and sea lend it a moodiness so palpable that the climate itself seems a major character dictating the course of events. It’s a devastating film.
Farhadi is a masterful director of actors and here he gets a range of precise, vivid performances from a superb cast.
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