The Patience Stone Lays Bare the Heart of an Afhan Woman

Golshifteh Farahani in The Patience Stone
Benoit Peverelli

Starring Golshifteh Farahani. Written and directed by Atiq Rahimi. 102 minutes. Not rated.

Atiq Rahimi's slender, wrenching novel The Patience Stone lays bare the heart of a devout Afghan woman, a Muslim who shields her face from her community and her truest self from her husband, a jihadist hero many years her senior. That husband lies comatose, a bullet in his neck, and his wife must try to care for him and their children as bombs and soldiers tear apart her city. Directing his adaptation of his book, Rahimi spackles those isolated moments into workaday scenes, the inner spaces of the novel now articulated by the actress, Golshifteh Farahani, who is more extraordinary than the movie around her. The more typical approach transforms the material, and not for the better. Still, the woman's monologues detailing her sexual life, delivered to an unhearing man, retain their vital power, and these scenes stand as a valuable contribution to world cinema.

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