This multi-faceted, French-produced character study by Iranian international filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (A Separation
) is one of the best films, in any language, from 2013. An Iranian man (actor Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran to take care of family business with his estranged French wife (Bérénice Bejo) and walks into a scene of major dysfunctionality involving his stepdaughters, the wife’s new boyfriend, the boyfriend’s troubled son, and the concepts of trust and partnering. Mosaffa, Tahar Rahim, Pauline Burlet, and especially Bejo turn in remarkably detailed performances as the screenplay – by director Farhadi and Massoumeh Lahidji – investigates each character’s complaints, including the circumstances of the attempted suicide of the new boyfriend’s wife. Surprisingly, we’re grateful to witness all this, from afar. Call it catharsis (130 min.).