Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008) R - 5 Stars

This movie disgusted me and made me very angry. Long before 9/11, I was actively involved in spreading information regarding conditions the woman of Afghanistan endure with their suppressed conditions. Not able to be seen in public without another family member present, not able to get a decent education, treated like worthless commodities to the superior male population and face stoning if they disobey. I was really naive to the fact it's still happening in other countries around the world. This Iranian story is sub titled but don't let that stop you as it's a must see. The incredible true story of Soraya M., wife, mother of 4, niece, friend and neighbor, who was ruthlessly stoned to death for adultery based upon a lie her husband started to get rid of her. In a country where women will always be considered guilty while men are always presumed innocent, women have very few resources to defend and protect themselves.

The story...

Soraya M (Mozhan MarnĂ²), is an Iranian woman with 4 young children, 2 boys and 2 girls. She is married to Ali (Navid Negahban), who acknowledges his sons but ignores his daughters. Soraya has withheld sex from her husband, and bares many bruises across her body to his lawful right to take from her. Now, Ali is no longer interested in her since a young 14 year old has caught his eye. He wants to marry this new girl soon with the blessings and assets of her wealthy and powerful father.

Ali refuses to pay wages to Soraya and she will not give him a divorce without it. A neighbor, Hashem (Parviz Sayyad), has just lost his wife and can not manage taking care of his young autistic son on his own. The village council suggest Soraya take a job with Hashem in exchange for wages to help feed and shelter her daughters. Soraya's outspoken aunt Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo), does what she can to comfort Soraya and help her keep her head held high. She begins to smile again as she feels useful as a caretaker. But Ali's assets will not allow him to return Soraya's dowry as custom dictates in a divorce, so instead he plans another way to get out of the marriage. He has dirt on Mullah (Ali Pourtash), and threatens to expose him if he does not follow through on Ali's accusations of infidelity. Ali also threatens Hashem to go along with his story or his son will end up in as an orphan in a mental institution. When Ebrahim (David Diaan), the mayor is told, he holds a fast tribunal to determine Soraya's guilt. It is determined she must be put to death by public stoning, in one hour, for the disgrace she has brought to the village. She is buried waist deep with her hands tied behind her back. Even the male children are allowed to witness and participate with Ali throwing the first stone which brings blood as her sons follow suit. Soraya's body is not allowed to be buried and the women take it next to the river to rest. The very next morning, Freidoune Sahebjam (James Caviezel), a journalist is diving by when his car breaks down. He must spend the day in this small village while his car is repaired. Zahra bravely contacts him in order to get her message out for the world to hear.

I want to pick up a boulder and smash it into Ali's skull so I guess that means Navid Negahban did an excellent job at convincing me he's a monster. Shohreh Aghdashloo, Zahra, is fantastic in telling the story. Unbelievable performances, see this fantastic movie, not for the squeamish, as it is a very realistic violent portrayal of a woman wrongly accused and stoned to death. This is the 21st century and it looks like we're back in the uncivilized stone age, no pun intended. Get as outraged as I did and do something about it. Please visit the web site http://www.thestoning.com/flash.php#/involved/ and do your part. I wouldn't last 5 seconds in a country like this. A movie you will never be able to erase from your mind.

Roadside Attractions, Mpower Pictures, Lionsgate
Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh
Writers: Cyrus Nowrasteh, Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh
Producers: Stephen McEveety, John Shepherd
I viewed 1/11


Nicole said...

I heard about this movie several months ago and have been wanting to see it ever since. After reading your review, I most definitely will.

Zola's Movie Pic's said...

Like I said, warning.. it's NOT for the squeamish and very realistic. It will make you angry but the acting is just superb.