About Elly Movie Review
One of the most outstanding melodramas of the director and producer Asghar Farhadi, About Elly, deserves all the awards it has won with its captivating style and special atmosphere it creates. Having watched it, I was amazed with the ability of the film director to involve every viewer into a story turning them into the active participants of the plot. I really felt as if I was one of those characters, seeing their sorrows, grieves and joys. The melodramatic film is devoted to presenting a story of three middle-class married couples from Iran who go on vacation. My first idea was that the movie was going to be focused on the irresponsible behavior of the young people since the beginning was about the actions of the youth. However, it turned out that the story deals with the instability of life and unexpected character of changes, which might happen and turn everything upside down. It also emphasizes how crucial it is to be truthful to close people and how important it is for the people to be together in challenging moments or when some tragedy happens.
The story starts with the scenes of driving through a noisy busy channel in one of the cities in Iran. The main characters of the movie are getting to their holiday destination on weekends. The movie plot seems to be confusing at first as in the first scenes the audience can see envelops being thrown out of not a large hole. The next moment the viewers get more and more interested in what is happening as their attention is grabbed with the scenes full of adventures, emotions, and sincere feelings. The fun of Sepideh and her friend Elly is very catching when they are waving hands in the car driving at a great speed along the tunnel. The scene when the daughter of Sepideh has a blast is also full of emotions. The movie shows us how dramatically everything can change when nobody is expecting anything to go wrong. When the guest of Tehran disappears, the life of the main characters of the movie gets completely different. Being bullied by the husband, Sepideh is the person who arranges everything for the vacation outside Tehran in order to facilitate the marriage of Elly, an elementary school teacher of Sepideh’s daughter, and Ahmad, her friend.
The movie About Elly is intense, intriguing and emotional; it is full of suspense and drama to such an extent that no one can stay indifferent. Although the plot cannot be referred to as slow moving, at some of the moments I felt impatient and willing to know what will happen next as I could not wait to see the following scene. I know that the film is exciting as my curiosity was at the highest level throughout the film. Furthermore, the movie does not only touch upon the viewers’ souls, but also educates them. They acquire a lot of information regarding the peculiarities of work of the government in Iran, their religious views, and social problems related to the differences between people who belong to different social classes.
Having arranged everything for the trip with her old friends from the college, Sepideh persuaded them to take her daughter’s teacher on the trip, although they know not much about this young good-looking girl who seems shy and quiet. Having low self-esteem, she does not talk a lot and that makes everybody think that she is hiding from some life troubles and her personal fears. Sepideh tries her best to persuade Elly to accept the invitation; she is not sure that she is willing to join, but finally, she agrees to go. The movie makes it evident that the norms of behavior in the society and religious traditions influence the way people act in different situations and do not let people behave the way they want. It reminds that being evil and cruel a person can seem to be an angel if he or she just conforms to the norms of behavior. For instance, Sepideh changes her way of behavior talking to the lady, owner of the villa they want to rent. It is not an easy negotiation as the lady lies that she has no house for rent and it is difficult to persuade her. Sepideh needs to lie saying that Elly and Ahmad are a couple; otherwise, the people in the country would be offended in their religious beliefs, which do not let them show feelings being not married. It is an evidence of how the traditional religious rules and moral values can be disregarded in the society depending on the situation.
Therefore, Sepideh’s lie touches upon other people, in particular the cousin of her husband and Elly. The lie, constructed for an old lady, implies that the newly-married couple Elly and Ahmad need to find a place to stay on weekends with their guests. Owing to the invented story, the old lady allows them to rent a house at the seaside, although it is to be cleaned first. The necessity to do the cleaning does not scare the companions, and they make up their minds to stay at the villa notwithstanding its hidden dangers. The scary thing is that the villa is the place where the characters cannot use their mobile telephones, as the signal does not go through. That is the moment when the intrigue for me is the strongest; I could feel the lies and the atmosphere was extremely intense. The dramatic nature of the plot reveals itself here, when Elly stays with the people notwithstanding her mother’s advice to avoid that. I really enjoy films that are both dramatic and interesting; so, I like the moment when Elly is in the car with Ahmed and she gets a phone call that she is trying to hide from him. Secrets and mysteries are the zest of a movie, so they only add to the enjoyment of the viewers.
The majority of girls do not share their life experience with any of the relatives, especially their mothers, when they are grown-up. Thus, Elly agrees to join her new friends in their trip to the Caspian Sea on the weekends. The viewers can guess that she has some personal fears and secrets to hide from everybody. Their suspicions het stronger when Elly wants to return to Tehran but Sepideh manages to persuade her to stay. Neither the characters nor the viewers can even imagine what will happen next and what a tragedy will ruin their lives.
As for me, About Elly is a movie about middle-class people in Iran who are searching for fun and entertainment being not very comfortable and happy in their own families with their children. They get the fun they can afford and do a lot of things in the range of those allowed by the social norms of behavior. Moreover, I am interested in seeing how people deal with various religious issues, and the movie enables me to witness that. It is also interesting how they manage to handle lies and how affected the minority groups are in the society. Having introduced intrigues and secrets, the film director shows how a young girl disappears in Iran; he also lets his audience guess and try to invent the story of what could have happened. A dramatic melodrama gets even more intriguing when the women go shopping to the grocery shops and leave their children on the seashore with Elly and another mother. It is scary when one of the kids is in the waters of the ocean alone, without any help.
I could not help crying when Elly leaves to help the girls with their kite paying no attention to the boy in the ocean. In a few minutes, the audience see Elly’s face which shows both fear and joy, and they can only wonder where she disappears afterwards. There is no clue for the viewers to guess what could have happened. One of the options is that she gets drowned saving the boy; however, there is no exact information about the events, so it is not clear whether she is alive or dead. Starting from the middle of the film, the audience gets a chance to fancy what could have happened and what the fate of the girl could be. Visualizing the events, the audience do not get the full information, but they are amazed and overwhelmed with different options.
To sum up, the movie shows the disappearance of the girl to reveal the idea of vulnerability of a woman in the society. In addition, the film director points out how the unreasonable political activity influences the minorities in the communities; thus, if something happens to poor people from the minority groups, the further measures may even not be taken against those who are involved in the potential crimes or break the state regulations. The case of disappearance of Elly shows that sometimes people in charge of crimes do not even get penalized for what they have done. I have come to the conclusion that Elly’s boyfriend is the only person who she is trying to escape. He is presented as a man who suffers a lot after the loss of the girl he seems to love; however, he could have followed and murdered her. Finally, it is very important that the movie demonstrates the importance of friendly and warn relations between the people when it comes to troubles. I can recommend the movie About Elly as a dramatic and exciting story full of suspense, intrigue and emotions, that can make the viewers both smile and cry.