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Critical Consensus: Iran-Set Drama "Circumstance" Is The Pick of the Week

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 24, 2011 at 8:13AM

"Circumstance" - which won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival - is also the pick of the week, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.
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"Circumstance" - which won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival - is also the pick of the week, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.

From first time Iranian-American filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz, "Circumstance" takes on culture wars in contemporary Iran through the story of a wealthy family that struggles to contain a teenager’s growing sexual rebellion and her brother’s dangerous obsession.

Nine critics gave "Circumstance" an average of B+ on the film's criticWIRE page, topping the likes of "Our Idiot Brother" and "Higher Ground," both of which also debuted in Sundance. indieWIRE's Eric Kohn take on the film - and others - below:

"Circumstance," a well-made if somewhat ponderous and conventional coming out story, has one unique hook: It takes place in Tehran, where a group of young friends struggle to live their lives amid constant oppression. Despite its cultural context, however, "Circumstance" has much in common with "Gun Hill Road" and "Pariah," two recent New York-set stories about gay urban teens. In each case, the struggle involves both coming out and coming of age.

That latter progression can be found in several other new releases this weekend: "Our Idiot Brother" follows Paul Rudd as he comes to grips with being a man-child in a world of adults. "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" places a young girl coping with her parents' divorce in a world where creepy things lurking in the shadows of an old house come to represent her fear of forces she can't yet comprehend. And "Higher Ground" features Vera Farmiga as a Christian believer coming to terms with the holes in her faith. It's a busy weekend at the specialty box office, but these characters are all feeling very much alone.

More extensive takes on those titles all are linked to below. Also offered is the top 10 criticWIRE scores for films already in theaters, which is currently topped by doc "Senna," which shot up past "The Interrupters" thanks to some recent grades. Note that only films with three or more grades have their averages included.

iW Film Calendar & criticWIRE:
criticWIRE | Opening this week | Opening this month | All Films A - Z

criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week
NOTE: The averages listed here are current as of the publishing of this article. They are subject to change as new grades come in, and will be updated in next week's edition of this article.

Circumstance (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Our Idiot Brother (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Higher Ground (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Brighton Rock (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+


criticWIRE: 10 Best Bets Already In Theaters

1. Senna (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

2. The Interrupters (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

3. Attack The Block (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

4. Mysteries of Lisbon (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

5. Project Nim (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

6. Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

7. Page One (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

8. Buck (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

9. Terri (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

10. Littlerock (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+


Previous Picks of the Week:
August 17: Álex de la Iglesia's "The Last Circus"
August 10: Asif Kapadia's "Senna"
August 3: Raoul Ruiz's "Mysteries of Lisbon"
July 26: Steve James' "The Interrupters"
July 20: Mike Cahill's "Another Earth"
July 13: Errol Morris' "Tabloid"
July 6: James Marsh's "Project Nim"
June 29: Azazel Jacobs' "Terri"
June 22: Rodman Fletcher's "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop"
June 15: Andrew Rossi's "Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times"
June 8: Michael Winterbottom's "The Trip"
June 1: Richard Ayoade's "Submarine"
May 25: Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life"
May 18: Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris"
May 11: Lu Chaun's "City of Life and Death"
May 4: Koji Wakamatsu's "Caterpillar"
April 27: Clio Barnard's "The Arbor"
April 20: Denis Villeneuve's "Incendies"
April 13: Janus Metz's "Armadillo"
April 6: Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff"
March 30: Michaelangelo Frammartino's "Le Quattro Volte"

This article is related to: Circumstance






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