Four years after separating from his French wife Marie (Bejo), Ahmad (Mosaffa) returns to France from Iran to finalize their divorce. He is thrilled to see her two daughters Lucie (Burlet) and Lea (Jestin) from her first marriage, but concerned to find her pregnant and involved with Samir (Rahim), a young father whose wife is in a coma after a suicide attempt. As Marie and Ahmad move towards a future apart, Lucie struggles with her mother’s new relationship — and a guilty secret from her own past.
Iranian writer/director Farhadi follows up 2011’s Oscar winning “A Separation” with this downbeat but absorbing relationship drama; once again, the emphasis is squarely on story and character. Bejo proves a compelling force as the high-strung Marie, and Mosaffa projects both strength and humility as a reluctant outsider who seems like the only true adult. Performances are solid across the board, with Elyes Aguis, who plays Samir’s young son, a standout. As Farhadi slowly unravels the secrets and lies that simmer beneath the surface of this troubled “blended” family, we are right there with him. You too will be very much present for “The Past.”