The Patience Stone

The Patience Stone

2013, R, 102 min. Directed by Atiq Rahimi. Starring Golshifteh Farahani, Hamidreza Javdan, Hassina Burgan, Massi Mrowat, Mohamed Al Maghraoui.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Oct. 4, 2013

A French/Afghan co-production, The Patience Stone is based on a novel, but it feels more like a play: a one-way conversation between a woman and her comatose husband, confined to a single room as Afghan forces spray bullets just outside. Golshifteh Farahani is billed simply as “The Woman,” and certainly she begins the film defined by others solely as a wife and mother. But as the days pass with no sign of improvement in her husband’s condition, she begins to speak aloud, sharing her inner life with him in a way that was unthinkable when he was conscious. There’s an intriguing mirror in the anonymizing ways in which the man and woman have used each other as vessels. She pours her secrets into him because he can’t talk back, and we come to understand he has valued her as little more than a body in which to plant his seed.

Director Atiq Rahimi, who also wrote the bestselling source novel, is attempting something truly bold here – the dramatization of an orthodox Muslim Afghan woman blooming into a sex-positive feminist. The execution isn’t perfect: The early, cinema-verité-like stretches, rich with texturally detailed passing glances (such as kids playing in a bombed-out car), are superior to the overplotted, self-consciously composed third act. Still, there isn’t a false step from the quietly devastating Farahani; her tour-de-force performance carries the film through its rocky stretches.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Golshifteh Farahani Films
Paterson
Adam Driver embodies the poetry of the quotidian

Marjorie Baumgarten, Jan. 27, 2017

Rosewater
Jon Stewart makes his directing debut with this story about a journalist's imprisonment in Tehran.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Nov. 14, 2014

More by Kimberley Jones
Little Woods
Tessa Thompson takes all the tough choices in a grimy tale of downtrodden life

April 19, 2019

Diane
Mortality has never seemed more pressing or vibrant than in this tale of small-town aging

April 12, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Patience Stone, Atiq Rahimi, Golshifteh Farahani, Hamidreza Javdan, Hassina Burgan, Massi Mrowat, Mohamed Al Maghraoui

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle