About Elly is written and directed by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, the man behind Oscar-winning films A Separation and The Salesman. The film is about a group of friends who go on holiday together in northern Iran for the weekend. There are three married couples, one single man, a few children, and Elly- a mysterious woman who is invited along to vacation with the others. At some point during the trip, Elly completely vanishes. Her disappearance creates conflict and exposes deception within the group.
I have wanted to explore foreign films for quite some time, but just never knew where to begin. This film was brought to my attention several months ago, but I only recently realized that it was streaming on Netflix!
About Elly is haunting and mysterious, yet very engrossing. Throughout the film, I couldn’t help but feel anxious and uncertain because I just didn’t know what was going to happen! That feeling kept me engaged even when the film seemed a little plot-less at times.
I found the film to be very character-driven, which was a perfect fit since all of the actors are so incredibly talented. This is a film that really examines the complexities of human nature. It is also looks at the universality of grief. The entire cast deliver top-notch performances at each turn.
The deception that I mentioned earlier really rocks this group of friends to their core. Some of the characters make choices that completely backfire on them, namely Elly, as there is pertinent information that she has withheld from everyone.
On the other hand, Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani), the woman who invites her, also chooses to keep vital details to herself. Each character’s decisions/lies begin to snowball until it’s just too late to prevent any negative ramifications. “Honesty is the best policy” is an understatement in About Elly.
Once the young woman disappears, we see each character grappling with what to do. Search for her? Alert her family back home? Contact the local police? Further complicating matters is the fact that each of them thinks something different should be done. Sepideh’s husband Amir (Mani Haghighi) chooses to blame her since she invited Elly, while Ahmad (Shahab Hosseini) just wants to do whatever necessary to safely find her.
At the beginning of the film it was obvious how close they all were and how deep their friendships and marriages go, but we really see that begin to be tested once Elly goes missing.
About Elly doesn’t offer a whole lot of closure or explanation, but that leaves plenty of room for analyzing and interpretation on the part of the movie-goer. Without giving any spoilers, I must say that I was left wondering if Elly’s disappearance was a tragic occurrence or one of her own design. Because grief and depression both come up throughout the film, even early on, I knew that some form of tragedy would affect this vacation.
About Elly tells an extremely enticing and interesting story. If you’re a fast reader and don’t mind subtitles, check it out on Netflix! 🙂
Are you familiar with Asghar Farhadi? Do you suggest any other movies of his that I should check out?
What is your favorite foreign language film?