Movie Review: Circumstances (Sharayet)

Posted on 24 September 2011 by ana_a

Circumstance (Sharayet), a 2011 Sundance Audience Award winner, gives its audience a remarkable insight to life in Tehran. The sweet sexy lesbian relationship between the two main teenage protagonists (Atafeh played by Nikohl Boosheri and Shireen played by Sarah Kazemy) becomes almost second fiddle to the fascinating world that writer-producer-director Maryam Keshavarz navigates us through. We are able to witness rebellious Tehrans enjoying drugs, alcohol, free-form gender mingling in underground clubs; navigating to storefronts hiding contraband media alongside glimpses of school life and what life would be like harassed by the morality police.

The moral of the story permeates not only in the dialog but also in the explicit scenes of affection between Shireen and Atafeh and the displays of skinship. One must take a stance and be willing to take risks to change one’s circumstance. Given that homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in Iran, the movie bears a lot of risk for the people involved in the production of this film including the actors. Never mind that the film was shot in Beirut, Lebanon, the courage of the film’s crew is commendable for affording us the pleasure of peeking into an entirely plausible tribulations of a lesbian couple’s life in Tehran.

Apart from the occasional vagueness and abruptness in plot shifts of some scenes, this is a great movie to watch.

If you enjoyed the movie as much as I did or even if you haven’t, please show your support at

Circumstance Trailer. Link obtained from IMDB

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