The Patience Stone | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 102 minutes
In an unnamed Middle Eastern country in the throes of civil war, a woman (Golshifteh Farahani) struggles to protect her young children and comatose husband, a well-known jihadist a few decades her senior; with no one else to protect her, this docile wife and mother belatedly comes into her own. Atiq Rahimi directed this adaptation of his 2008 novel, which he scripted with the venerable Jean-Claude Carriere, and he succeeds where many authors-turned-filmmakers have failed. The movie preserves a novelistic sensibility (much of the drama takes place in the main character's head) while effectively communicating it in cinematic terms. Both the editing and mise-en-scene contribute to our understanding of the woman's complex inner life; most impressive, however, is Farahani's lead performance. Though often pitiable, the heroine never registers as a martyr or a victim, but a relatable, multifaceted human being. In Persian with subtitles.

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