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Winner of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, CIRCUMSTANCE is a provocative coming-of-age story that cracks open the hidden, underground world of Iranian youth culture filled with sex, drugs and defiance. From newcomer Maryam Keshavarz, this suspenseful tale of love and defiance unfolds as a wealthy family struggles to contain their teenage daughter’s growing sexual rebellion and her brother’s dangerous obsession.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 71
- Fresh: 61
- Rotten: 10
- Average Rating: 6.9/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: The film wages an internal battle between its ripely sensual atmosphere and its often stilted pacing and plotting.
Fresh: The film doesn't feel weighed down with the burden of representation: It's too free-flowing for that, too plot-heavy, too stylish, too romantic, too hot.
Fresh: Maryam Keshavarz has announced herself as a bold voice, albeit from exile, in the new Iranian cinema.
Fresh: "Circumstance'' is a rhapsodic erotic romance that takes place in a cultural prison, and it pulses with a defiance that would be mischievous if it weren't so rip-roaringly angry.
Iran's Long Dark Night
The hot LGBT action was not as riveting as the oppression cast over all Iranian life like a suffocating blanket. I physically felt fear. It was at moments unbearable. Daily life goes on but within it is the experience of living in a society where utter fear persists, moment to moment. While these characters were the privileged of Iranian society, even they were implicitly and explicitly threatened by the bureaucrats and police of the regime. The film is worth watching in order to grasp what a deeply oppressive society is like. A modern life appears to be taking place, but nothing is sure. This is what a totalitarian, religious government looks like. Women suffer this repression most profoundly. it is a wonder all Iranian women aren't lesbians! The opening scene on the beach is perfect. The men are enjoying the beach and the water, wearing their speedos, while the women are completely covered roasting in the sun. All they can do is reach out to each other for intimacy. These filmmakers clearly believe that the institutionalized sexual repression is a character itself, driving further repression and continual acts of misogyny. A very good film. I felt the timing was a bit off, but the film is well done and worth watching.
Moving & Powerful
This story of lesbian love in an unforgiving world is brilliant. The minor love scenes paired with the cultural struggles make it a must see. If you're looking for something to pass the time without needing your full attention, pass this by. However, if you're looking for a film that will change your life (in the way some films can) then I highly recommend you check this out. Circumstance is an amazing moving and powerful film.
A beautiful, bittersweet love story
My family immigrated to the US from Iran years before I was born. Watching Circumstance, I found myself in tears, thinking of what my life would have been like growing up gay in such a repressive environment.
This film is amazingly beautiful, and a great story wonderfully shot. The sense of claustrophobia is so imminent, it's palpable -- that's a testament to the director's skill. Persian culture is so rich in sensory stimulus and warmth of family, juxtaposed to the austerity of its politics -- this film really does a great job putting together everything in this narrative about two girls falling in love. The love story, the family living with the repercussions of the revolution 35 years later, as well as its commentary of Iran, is bittersweet. Fantastic.