Home Estate Planning The Persian Version review: heartfelt story of American immigrants

The Persian Version review: heartfelt story of American immigrants

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Recently, there have been many great films about the experiences of America’s immigrant communities. The Farewell, Everything Everywhere All At Once, and current Oscar nominee Past Lives have all looked into different aspects of their experiences. Comedy The Persian Version may not scale those heights, but it makes an entertaining impact.

Inspired by director Maryam Keshavarz’s life (“sort of”, the film adds), Layla Mohammadi plays Leila, an Iranian-American who has always felt out of place. An ugly divorce from her wife inspires a drunk hook up with a man in drag, which results in pregnancy.

A strained relationship with her conservative mother Shireen (Niousha Noor) means she lacks support, until she begins to look into her mother’s past and find shared experience. Such a personal story needs someone talented to convey it, and Mohammadi is perfect for the task. Embracing Keshavarz’s fourth wall breaking narration, she is more than capable of the many time jumps, flashbacks, and explanations required to keep the audience up to speed.

The family lore, cultural history, and dual timelines can make the film crowded, particularly with the energy of the scenes, but the script and performances are heartfelt. Noor is an ideal counterbalance to her on-screen daughter, with the actor resisting the urge to make her a close- minded zealot, even in her most unlikeable moments.

There is a reason for most actions in this story, and a talented support cast ensure we are led into a world that feels authentic. The generational strike of The Persian Version is something that’s been explored before, to greater effect. However, a fine cast and creative storytelling ensure this is a journey that people from all walks of life can latch on to.

The Persian Version is in cinemas from 2 February.

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