Home  >  Movies & TV  >  Movie Reviews

Movie & TV Reviews

Movie review: ‘The Patience Stone’

Posted 4:53pm on Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013

R (sexual content, violence, strong language); 98 min.


A walk onto the street, to get fruit and medicine, becomes a frantic run for survival for the unnamed woman played by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani in The Patience Stone. Suddenly, there is an explosion. A truck full of militia firing automatic weapons tears around the corner, dust and damage everywhere.

The woman lives in a small house behind a walled courtyard, where she has two young daughters and a husband. He is lying comatose, a bullet in his neck, a tube with serum going into his mouth. The man (Hamid Javdan) is much older. She was 17 when she married him — or married a photograph and a dagger representing his presence. He was away.

And now, in this quietly fierce condemnation of fundamentalist Muslim society’s treatment of women, she begins to speak truths she dared not utter when he was awake. The Patience Stone, adapted from the Atiq Rahimi novel and directed by the author — aided in no small measure by Thierry Arbogast’s remarkable cinematography — finds the woman telling her husband about the men who fathered her daughters, because he was impotent. She talks of her longings, her rage. After weeks of these confessions, something stirs, breaks free. She meets a soldier (Massi Mrowat), and they make love.

In Persian mythology, the patience stone is a magical talisman that absorbs the worries and woe of those who confide in it. For the woman, her husband becomes that stone. Although the country goes unnamed in this powerful, parable-like film, it is clearly Afghanistan, torn apart by war, a culture dominated by men, by mullahs.

But what comes across more than anything is the resilience of women. Beneath the hijabs and the burkas that conceal them, a spirit burns fast and strong.

In Persian with English subtitles.

Exclusive: Angelika Dallas

— Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?


Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me




We now have a new, simpler way for you to enter and search for events, at listings.dfw.com. As always, when you submit an event to appear online, it will also be available for us in our print publication. But now you can simply enter your event and provide an email address, rather than creating a separate account and registering. Our new listings tool is still a work in progress, so we appreciate your patience as we fine-tune it. Please contact us at hsvokos@dfw.com if you have any questions or concerns.