A wrenchingly intimate tale of lives torn asunder by forces within and without them.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
The narrative complications can be distracting, at times exasperating, but they're finally irrelevant because Mr. Farhadi's filmmaking is so fluid, and the performers, Ms. Bejo, in particular, are so attractive.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Almost hypnotically compelling, spinning an intricate web of predicaments, emotional reactions and resolutions in a domestic drama that leaves the viewer reeling by its conclusion.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
"The Past" has something important and powerful to say about the past. It doesn't shape or haunt the present. In a sense, Farhadi suggests, they exist alongside each other.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
An impeccable work that moves forward steadily and without much dynamic modulation, it's a movie not for people who want to escape the world but for those who want to understand it better.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Bolstered by performances that convey profound grief and remorse without look-at-me histrionics, The Past is steeped in the believable micro details of its scenario while also expanding to universals.
Nick Schager - Village Voice
"The Past" is not as nuanced as its predecessor - and not as impactful, either. But this is still far more complex than most family dramas.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
The layers have layers in Mr. Farhadi's narratives. The title itself is layered with irony; the past is never past, but always shaping the present.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
What a teller of domestic truths Asghar Farhadi has become.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
[Farhadi's] gift for pulling us deep into the story, and for conveying the major burdens of these supposedly minor lives, is unimpaired.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi creates detailed characters in distinctive circumstances, bypassing script cliches of domestic tension.
Bill Stamets - Chicago Sun-Times
Even with a bit of dramaturgical clunkiness "The Past" is fluid, intimate cinema.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
A thickly knotted and compelling tale, set in an unglamorous, working-class Paris, it churns with complex emotions, suspense, guilt, and regret.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
The Past is a compelling mystery tale wrapped in a riveting family drama, with the death throes of a marriage cloaking deeper, fouler things.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Farhadi has pulled off the dysfunctional family mystery trick twice now, brilliantly, and perhaps three times in a row would be too much. But it's doubtful he will leave behind the fertile ground of family ties and modern messiness. He sees so much there.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Farhadi again burrows deep into his characters to tell an achingly intimate story, spinning grand tragedies out of minor lives in which the past lingers in the air, a perfume that haunts long after its wearer has left the room.
Barbara VanDenburgh - Arizona Republic
If "The Past" doesn't equal the masterpiece that preceded it, it's still an exceptional film from a man who is clearly one of the best working directors.
Farran Smith Nehme - New York Post
Farhadi works like a master poker player, carefully revealing his cards and building tension with each new bit of information.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Gossipy and hand-wringing, but graceful enough for you to safely call it art.
Jordan Hoffman - Film.com
Farhadi's new work confirms his unique ability to explore how constant chatter and anguished outbursts obscure the capacity for honest communication.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
Farhadi proves again that he can craft a domestic drama that has all the tension of a thriller.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
If "The Past" is perhaps not the same level of masterwork as "A Separation," it's still the work of a master.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
The machinations fester and ravel in a plot-driven film that, for all its references to detergents, never lapses into soap opera.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
The plot is the impurest of soap opera, but [director Asghar] Farhadi's artistry and resonant humanism transcend melodrama and cultural barriers.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
The revelations Farhadi relies on to propel the story are not as compelling as he gives them credit.
One of the most impressive things about Farhadi's film is the way he reveals facts about the tale and his extraordinary timing in which he reveals them. The movie unfolds like a surprise birthday gift.
Um filme povoado por pessoas que tentam encontrar sentido onde nao ha nenhum.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
It's a testament to Farhadi that I could even consider a movie as good as 'The Past' to be any kind of disappointment.
This slim and pretty terrific thriller may just prove to be the ultimate antidote to this summer's bloated superhero onslaught.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Farhadi's most thrilling gift, which seems innate and intuitive, is in demonstrating how figures move, are framed by frames, reflected by surfaces, going beyond elementary considerations, describing a vital mathematics of humans in motion.
While Farhadi's eye for detail is as unsparing as ever, his style this time around has begun to look formulaic.
Ryan Gilbey - New Statesman
The Past is clearly the work of a master dramatist, and precious few filmmakers in world cinema are currently operating at Farhadi's level.
Philip Concannon - The Skinny
Farhadi finds his characters trapped, not by the constraints of an overbearing authority but by the spectre of the past.
Mark Kermode - Observer [UK]
With its sympathies forever shifting among its characters, the film asks whether the truth is ever even objectively knowable, let alone whether honesty is always the best policy.
This is an exquisitely made film which probes away at the rawest, most intimate emotions of its characters with a delicacy and insight reminiscent of Krzysztof Kieslowski in his prime.
Derek Malcolm - Independent
Farhadi uses grace and fluidity to tell a story in which no one is quite innocent.
Farhadi weaves a very sticky web with more than a few ragged edges, but even if the characters (and more precisely, their actions) aren't easy to relate to, they are compelling.
Stella Papamichael - Digital Spy
If you can possibly imagine an extremely superior episode of EastEnders, lasting more than two hours and in French, then you will have some idea of what The Past is like.
- Daily Mail [UK]
The film finally feels centreless, stateless, even a little cold: like the first work of an artist in exile.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Farhadi loosens the valve on a drip-feed of revelations, each one changing any assumptions prompted by the last.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
another stunning drama that confirms Farhadi's artistic preeminence in making films that are simultaneously intimate psychological portraits of interpersonal conflict and detailed, nerve-wracking mysteries
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
The acting is good but it plays like an upscale soap opera, without any emotional payoff.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Tahar Rahim and Berenice Bejo are on top form in this immaculate study of marital disharmony.
David Jenkins - Little White Lies
Writer-director Asghar Farhadi's follow-up to the Oscar-winning A Separation is an intensely gripping emotional drama with a superb script and a trio of terrific central performances from Berenice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mossaffa.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
A remarkably grounded French-Iranian drama about a broken family trying to mend; unexpectedly riveting, thanks in part to one of 2013's best ensembles.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
In the end, so much of The Past just doesn't have that crucial ring of truth to it. Disappointing and underwhelming.
Dave Calhoun - Time Out
Comes dangerously close to perpetuating rational man/hysterical woman stereotypes.
Andrew Lowry - Total Film
A bold, honest film about family life that showcases a terrifically unpeppy turn from Bejo.
Philip De Semlyen - Empire Magazine
With this quietly gripping domestic drama, Asghar Farhadi once again demonstrates his ability to turn keen human insight into powerfully compelling cinema.
Paul Gallagher - The List
'The Past' opens at a Paris airport, where Marie and the newly arrived Ahmad greet each other through a pane of glass. Their lips move, but they don't actually hear one another. This is a state that will be maintained more or less throughout the film.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The movie, which runs more than two hours, takes patience. It is slow-going most of the time. Yet, it does not feel contrived or false.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
With The Past, Farhadi again displays a gift for poking into corners of nondescript lives and discovering unique drama.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
There are only so many spats that you can sit through before you realise it's difficult to care for the outcome, no matter how twisted it is.
Audiences who invest themselves in Faradi's story may feel shortchanged by the writer-director's ambiguous ending. That doesn't stop him from being a modern master of realism.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Never strikes a resoundingly false note -- which is a precious thing in movies lately -- and as such is a film that promises moving rewards.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Farhadi piles on plot twists and sensational revelations until we realize what we're watching is soap opera packaged as art. Five or ten minutes into hour three, the film reaches a critical mass of preposterousness.
Rick Kisonak - Film Threat
On paper, the complications sound like plot points in a melodramatic soap opera. But under Farhadi's direction and in his cast's more-than-capable hands, this knotty family drama never feels false or manipulative.
Jeff Meyers - Orlando Weekly
Any short-term illusion of being in charge is at the cost of long-term trust and fidelity. The Past stands as a resonate warning to this vicious cycle.
George Wu - culturevulture.net
The last film from Faradi, 2011's A Separation, deservedly took home the Oscar, and this new piece is admirably its equal.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Farhadi not only has a gift for complicated and elegantly crafted human drama, he understands the way people think and feel, the way they make choices and are forced to live with the consequences of those choices.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
The actors playing the boyfriend's son, still processing the loss of his mother, and Marie's older daughter give fine performances as troubled characters who are as emotionally complex as the adults who made them that way.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Where an American film would make up our minds for us about the outcome, Farhadi lets us make up our own minds.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
The Past doesn't have the thrilling tempo of Farhadi's previous Oscar winning A Separation; but it's as if you're cemented into concrete boots and tossed into the chasm of consequence.
Blake Howard - 2UE That Movie Show
Farhadi is as much of a natural storyteller as he is a neo-realist filmmaker, making cinematic novels where others would create soap operas.
Matt Kelemen - AspectRatio.us
The Past is a beautifully acted and cleverly constructed drama.
Andrew Moraitis - FILMINK (Australia)
"The Past" is long and occasionally feels slow - as real life sometimes does - but never false.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Asghar Farhadi has a fluid, realistic style, as if we are genuinely eavesdropping on these people's lives.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Farhadi is a master at unpicking human relationships, revealing that in the end everyone, and no one, is blameless.
Frances Morton - Flicks.co.nz
The film is made naturalistically, and music is only heard at the end, yet for all its heartbreaking veracity, it has the tragic grandeur of mythology
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
A searing drama in which truths, lies, blame, guilt, actions and consequences collide in a spectacular emotional tour de force
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Farhadi is the rare director who can establish an atmosphere of intimacy that resonates with meaning and sentiment.
Michael Sragow - Orange County Register
All of the acting is first-rate, with Bejo winning the best actress award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where The Past made its world premiere. But Mosaffa's role as Ahmad proves to be the biggest revelation.
Charles Ealy - Austin American-Statesman
Think you've nailed down a character? Wait another five minutes. It's rare to see so many characters, including children, afforded so much nuance.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
Farhadi crafts another flawlessly designed, engagingly acted domestic melodrama that puts ordinary but unique characters through the emotional wringer.
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
Farhadi all but perfects the art of making mountains out of molehills.
Michael Nordine - Willamette Week
The Past is about people who wish they could erase what came before and just live in the now, but life doesn't let anyone off the hook that easily.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Yes, the past can haunt us, which is why Farhadi's design is so clever because he phrases it like a ghost story, where the audience is forced to walk alongside a group of highly stressed characters as they grope through the shady corridors of their lives.
Katherine Monk - Canada.com
Once its momentum sets in, the narrative spiral of The Past pulls you straight down, irresistibly.
Stuart Klawans - The Nation
Sensible and restrained, full of drama but not with histrionics.
Eric D. Snider - About.com
An intense, engrossing melodrama that compassionately unravels the conplex tapestry of contemporary family life.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Quite simply, a superb soap opera, but no more than that.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
While not as powerful as [A Separation] ,The Past nevertheless is a fascinating, slow-burn depiction of a relationship in crisis.
Cary Darling - Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
As the dark-haired, hot-headed beauty at the center of the action, Bejo is a radiant, riveting mystery.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
While a lot of what Farhadi holds up his sleeve is rooted in soap opera, it plays very much like a horror picture, as ghosts from the recent and distant past continue to reveal themselves in shocking fashion.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
A morally complex mystery, without a detective to stand outside the drama and identify the one truly guilty party.
Richard von Busack - MetroActive
Drama for the intelligent filmgoer
Jean Lowerison - ReviewExpress.com
The push to climax the feature on a note of revelation feels forced, slathered on a film that's just fine simmering with the family, picking up on nuanced emotions and overdue outbursts.
Brian Orndorf - Blu-ray.com
One of the best films of the season, with remarkable dramatic performances.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Unlike most films, Farhadi's do not pretend to have all the answers. His approach to creating stories seems to be: Here's a difficult situation for a bunch of people, and now, let's observe as they try to figure it out.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Even in its measured pacing, the film easily commands attention.
Matt Pais - RedEye
["The Past"] is not for all tastes but does give a view into the life of mixed cultures trying to make sense of things.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The authenticity of the dialogue and the performances gives the material a universal resonance without resorting to cheap sentimentality or happy endings.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
The emotional stakes are large-scale, and Farhadi honors them by delving into their intricacies. All the characters in this movie, including Marie's sullen eldest teenage daughter (beautifully played by Pauline Burlet), are given their due.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
"The Past" makes conventional movies feel artificial. Watching the characters interact in this movie feels like "Here is real life," and real life just happens to be strangely compelling.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
There are so many twists and turns as one revelation after another reshapes the truth that "The Past" begins to feel contrived, like an art house soap opera.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
With patient sensitivity, Farhadi expertly elicits sympathy, followed by empathy, for each character, almost in turns, to resist misguiding the audience to easy answers.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
It's as if Farhadi became too depressed by his own cynicism to keep the drama humming. The movie turns into a dour demonstration of missed connections.
Asghar Farhadi tries to unravel tangled emotional connections and disconnections in no less than two broken households in this highly theatrical movie.
Kirk Honeycutt - honeycuttshollywood.com
Not just deserving of an Oscar for best foreign film of 2013 (Iran's official nominee) but best picture--period.
Louis Proyect - rec.arts.movies.reviews
Well-acted, captivating, nuanced and emotionally resonating. Not a single moment rings false. One the best films of the year.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru