After it’s first premiere at Tribeca Film Festival in 2009 ‘About Elly’ was a big hit for Academy Award Winner, Director Asghar Farhadi.
This story begins with a group of middle-class Iranian friends who decided to travel to the Caspian Sea for a three-day vacation. Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani - actress in Body of Lies) decides to invite their daughters teacher Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti) to come along with them on their vacation. She insisted on inviting Elly to introduce her to an old friend Ahmad (Shahab Hosseini) who came from Germany for a visit and has just been through a divorce. Sepideh is married along with two other couples who are too, leaving Elly and Ahmad as the single ones.
Upon arrival to the villa things don’t seem to go as smooth as you'd think. Sepideh lies to an old lady who manages the villa , saying that Elly and Ahmad are newly married when they are not. Elly is a little shy and quiet around everyone and she begins to develop feelings for Ahmad.
After an agreement Elly made with Sepideh, Elly wanted to leave the next day. With Sepideh not allowing Elly to leave, Elly is left minding the children who are playing by the sea. After helping Morvarid one of the children with her Kite we suddenly see Arash, another one of the children, floating in the sea and Elly is nowhere to be seen. As it turns out Sepideh has been lying about certain facts that concern Elly and slowly but painfully reveals the truth.
Not only is this a psychological thriller it’s beautifully written and very well directed. A simple story can make you think about regrets, decision-making, trust and most importantly, family. It also goes to show you the many difficulties that Iran is facing; such as legal restrictions on unmarried couples traveling together, hence Sepideh having to lie about Elly and Ahmad’s fake marriage.
An interesting fact about this film is that Farhadi wanted to go through each individual character trying to find out who might of said what to Elly for her to disappear or even who might know something about her who hasn’t yet mentioned it. Giving the option to the audience to make judgements on the characters , eventually leading us to Sepideh who has been lying about Elly.
All the characters are trying to unravel the mystery behind where Elly could be or have gone with one last thought they have in mind which is, could she have drowned in the sea?
'About Elly' was released in 2009 winning numerous awards at film festivals and finally getting it’s recognition after 6 years in 2015. Cinema Guild has picked up the North American distribution rights to this film and after a long wait it has open at the New York Forum. A national release is coming soon for 'About Elly' so be sure to check it out!