I think it’s a tough sell.
Great performance by Shohreh Aghdashloo, although there are some unanswered questions about how her character came to be the maverick she is.
The stoning is as graphic as the scourging scene in the Passion (Steve McEveety producing on both), but to less purpose here, I think. Watching Jesus suffer is meaningful for a believer. Watching Soraya get bloodied to a pulp is less meaningful as spectacle. Don’t see the point in having the camera linger on it. I would definitely not classify this as a family film.
No epiphanies really — it has a moral (treating women badly is bad) but no theme … nothing to be argued.
And I don’t know what they want the audience to come away with — except some general sense that the culture depicted needs to be deconstructed / exposed… but it raises all kinds of questions: Are ALL Muslims like this? Are all the abusive men one-dimensional and unsympathetic like the husband in this film? It’s a morality play of sorts, I suppose.
For a vigorous discussion of story as epiphany, heroes in cinema storytelling, how dark is too dark, etc., visit the podcast site for last October’s Act One Story Symposium.
Panel discussions include Hollywood writers, producers, and the winsome Dr. Peter Kreeft.