Indie Gems: The Salesman

Therapy all around.

Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) are a married couple in Tehran who are forced to evacuate their apartment. While performing "Death of a Salesman" on stage, one of their castmates offers them a temporary apartment where the previous tenant had lots of visitors. When Rana is assaulted by one of these visitors, Emad struggles with wanting to go after that person and trying to understand how to support Rana through this trauma.

Director Asghar Farhadi impressed (and infuriated me) in 2011 with A Separation so I was happy to see him getting Oscar attention again for this again. He crafts fascinating character studies. At times it's hard to watch Rana and Emad navigate the murky waters of PTSD. You want them to go to group therapy together and just LISTEN to each other, but it's never that simple.

Farhadi and Alidoosti are great in their roles. The film handles the assault very delicately and nothing graphic is shown or explained. This made it an easier watch for me considering how awful I usually handle that subject matter. 

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "I thought it was you." - Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti)


  1. This film sounds highly intelligent and very thoughtful regrading the assault. I remember watching The Accused and there was no reason for the explicit rape scene to be shown. We knew what she experienced without that show which I felt damaged the film. Your review makes me want to see this film.

    1. Ugh fuck the Accused. That's a text book example of not treating your traumatic scene well. That felt exploitative.

  2. I do want to see this as I'm a fan of Farhadi's work as I really did like A Separation (which my parents also enjoyed) as well as The Past.

  3. I can't believe I still haven't seen A Separation! This one got me really intrigued as well.

  4. Oh yeah, I still need to see this! I chased it at Oscar time but could never get it done.

    1. It came nowhere near me during Oscar season. Story of my life with the Foreign nominees.


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