Leila

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This tragic and perceptive Iranian film about the disintegration of a marriage recalls the style of Eric Rohmer. Young, beautiful Leila (Leila Hatami) marries young, handsome and wealthy Reza (Ali Mosaffa) after a brief courtship She delights in taking care of Reza, and he's similarly enamored of her: They seem to be the ideal newlyweds, snuggling while...read more

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Reviewed by Sandra Contreras
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This tragic and perceptive Iranian film about the disintegration of a marriage recalls the style of Eric Rohmer. Young, beautiful Leila (Leila Hatami) marries young, handsome and wealthy Reza (Ali Mosaffa) after a brief courtship She delights in

taking care of Reza, and he's similarly enamored of her: They seem to be the ideal newlyweds, snuggling while watching DR. ZHIVAGO and joking around like school kids. As they quietly marvel about having found one another, they learn that Leila can't bear children. Although Reza assures her that he

doesn't care and wants only her, Leila is devastated and they visit doctors and herbalists, all to no avail. When Reza's mother (Jamileh Sheikhi) learns that Leila is barren, she first implores the girl to let Reza divorce her and marry someone else. Then, realizing that Reza will never agree to

such a plan, she asks Leila to let her husband exercise his traditional Muslim right to take a second wife. Each phone call or visit from Reza's manipulative mother drives another stake through Leila's heart; hidden beneath her chador, Leila seethes with shame and self-loathing, afraid that she'll

lose her beloved husband. She insists that Reza look for a suitable second wife, and when he goes courting Reza insists that Leila wait nearby so they can bond while dissecting the latest potential bride. Eventually he finds a woman he thinks he can marry, and Leila — truly the soul of

consideration — erases all signs of herself from their house and prepares to share Reza. But on the wedding night she leaves, with heartbreaking consequences for all involved. Director Dariush Mehrjui tells a succinct and peculiarly suspenseful story, set in a Tehran full of superhighways,

phones, glass towers, shopping strips but ultimately bound to strict family structures and tradition. (In Farsi, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This tragic and perceptive Iranian film about the disintegration of a marriage recalls the style of Eric Rohmer. Young, beautiful Leila (Leila Hatami) marries young, handsome and wealthy Reza (Ali Mosaffa) after a brief courtship She delights in taking ca… (more)

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