The Persian Version Is A Story Of A Young Iranian Woman Who Delves Into Her Mother’s Past.

by Eliza C. Thompson

The Persian Version tells the sprawling tale of Leila (Layla Mohammadi), a young Iranian American woman who delves into her family’s history while her father, Ali Reza (Bijan Daneshmand) recovers from a heart transplant. Told through liberal use of flashbacks, voiceover, and historical interstitials, the movie follows Leila as she uncovers a secret about her mother, Shirin (Niousha Noor), who married a 22-year-old Ali Reza at age 13. 

In the present day, Leila’s dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and a case of writer’s block, but her story becomes less interesting as her grandmother, Mamanjoon, fills in the gaps in Shirin’s past. Played by Bella Warda, the formidable Mamanjoon is a scene stealer at every turn, a feat made all the more exceptional by the cast’s sheer size. (Leila has eight brothers who function like a Greek chorus, popping up throughout to offer their advice and loving insults.)

If the film has a problem, it’s that there’s simply too much happening at once. It can be hard to keep track of where the “present” is among all the flashbacks, and an extended sequence about Shirin’s early life in Iran is so riveting that it’s almost a bummer to return to the 21st century. As the title card indicates, this “sort of” true story is based on writer/director Maryam Keshavarz’s real life, which is so overflowing with fascinating details, the movie could have been a miniseries. Once you get past the feeling of wanting more, The Persian Version is a heartwarming—and often heartbreaking—exploration of a mother and daughter repairing their future relationship by confronting their past.

Image Via Sony Pictures

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