It is present day Tehran, on the last day of the Persian New Year, when the whole city rushes out into the streets to celebrate with fireworks. The sweet, naive young Rouhi (Alidoosti), working her first day as a house cleaner for Mozhde (Tehrani), is about to experience a different kind of fireworks. It seems the lives of her new employers are in turmoil, as Mozhde has just accused her husband (Farrokhnezhad) of having an affair. The recently engaged Rouhi finds her ideals of domestic bliss shattered as she gets enlisted in uncovering the truth, becoming increasingly embroiled in this ugly domestic dispute.
This intimate, powerful little film focuses on the rarely considered personal lives of average, middle class Iranian citizens. The class and gender-related tensions at the heart of the story reveal much about the strictures of modern Iranian culture, but director Farhadi's humanist viewpoint and his actors' vivid characterizations also make this tale feel achingly familiar and borderless. As events come to a head, the family's highly combustible conflict ironically mirrors the climactic explosion of holiday chaos outside. Though as a result of this traumatic experience Rouhi must consider her own future in a more sober light, we sense this may be a blessing in disguise. Don't miss this fascinating, penetrating entry, which adds up to a lot more substance than flash.