Robert Beksinski’s review published on Letterboxd:
Maybe Dariush Mehrjui and his lack of subtlety is just not my cup of tea. Having now watched what is widely deemed his two best films and two of the best films to emerge from Iranian cinema but was subsequently underwhelmed on both occasions. The Iranian New Wave which was ironically begun by D. Mehrjui's The Cow has produced some of the greatest cinematic achievements in the medium of film but I cannot get behind Mehrjui's work as examples like so many others.
Described as being Fellini-esque and Mehrjui's 8 1/2 listed on the film's poster from various newspaper critics, I could hardly call it in the spirit of Fellini. If anything it is closer to resembling late career Fellini when he too lost all subtlety but even then I would say a few foolish dream sequences do not elicit the comparison to Fellini. Speaking on the dream sequences, I guess my expectations were off as well expecting a more serious drama rather than an fantastical and sometimes humorous contemplation on divorce in Iran. I would think the entire idea of divorce in a strictly male governing state such as Iran could provoke a deep and intelligent study of human rights but instead Mehrjui seems to be emulating western style filmmaking abandoning his own culture's approach and the result feels forced. As much as I love dream sequences and surrealism, I could not get behind any of them in this film as they felt completely unneeded and threw off the tone of the film every chance they appeared.
It's a shame that Hamoun had to be executed in such a silly manner. As I stated before I would love to have seen an examination of a disintegrating marriage in Iran where a divorce is wanted but it is up to the husband to grant it given that he has the power in the relationship according to Iranian politics. I have also read a comparison that the lead character Hamid Hamoun seems crafted from a Woody Allen movie with a neurotic and self-righteous manner and honestly it is not too far of a stretch. Everything about this film seems unnatural and again western influenced rather than sticking true to one's roots. I wish I saw the appeal as everyone else.