The Past (French: Le Passé, Persian: گذشته Gozašte) is a 2013 French–Italian–Iranian drama film, written and directed by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi and starring Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa.
The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and won the festival's Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Bejo also won the festival's Best Actress Award. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
The film was selected as the Iranian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 71st Golden Globe Awards.
Ahmad, an Iranian man, returns to France after four years to finalise his divorce with his wife Marie. On the way to her home, he learns that she has begun a relationship with Samir, the owner of a dry cleaning service and he is to share a room with Samir's son Fouad. At Marie's request, he speaks to her daughter from a previous marriage, Lucie, regarding her recent troubled behavior. Lucie disapproves of Marie's new relationship.
Ahmad and Marie attend court to complete their divorce. Just before the meeting with the officials, she tells him that she is pregnant with Samir's child. Ahmad continues to counsel Lucie, hoping to reconcile her to the situation. She reveals that Samir is still married and his wife is in coma after a suicide attempt, caused by the revelation that Samir and Marie were conducting an affair. Samir tells Ahmad that his wife suffered from depression and the suicide attempt was in fact caused by an incident with a customer in his shop. His wife was unaware of his affair and he arranges for Naïma, his employee, who witnessed both the suicide attempt and the incident in the shop, to meet with Lucie.
After hearing Naïma's story, Lucie becomes distressed and confesses that she forwarded Marie's emails to Samir's wife the day before she tried to kill herself, after calling her at the dry cleaning shop. Lucie disappears and Ahmad and Samir search for her. Ahmad finds Lucie, who has been staying with a friend, and tries to convince her to tell Marie what she did, saying that Marie has a right to know, now that she is carrying Samir's child. Lucie does so and Marie becomes enraged, telling Lucie to leave. Ahmad calms the situation and Lucie returns.
After questioning what feelings he may still hold for his wife, Marie tells Samir what Lucie did. Samir finds this hard to accept and questions Naïma about the events leading up his wife's suicide attempt. Naïma states his wife wasn't even in the shop the day that Lucie said she called. After Marie accuses Lucie of lying, Lucie maintains her version of events saying that she spoke to a woman with an accent on the phone. Samir realizes that she actually spoke to Naïma, who then gave Lucie his wife's email address. He confronts Naïma, who confesses and explains that his wife had always been jealous of her and had been trying to get her either sacked or deported from France and had initiated the confrontation with the customer. However, Naïma believes that his wife never read the emails, because she came into the shop and chose to drink bleach in front of her, instead of in front of Samir or Marie.
Samir and Marie discuss the events and their relationship. Marie decides that they should focus on their future, while Samir appears conflicted. Ahmad prepares to return to Iran. He says farewell to the children and attempts to talk to Marie about the end of their marriage, but Marie does not let him, stating that she doesn't need to know such things now. Meanwhile, Samir visits his wife in hospital with a selection of perfumes, which the doctors have recommended in order to possibly initiate a response. He sprays on some of his cologne and leans over her, asking her to squeeze his hand if she can smell it. A tear runs down her face and he looks down at her hand, which is holding his.
The film received universal critical acclaim. It holds a 93% "fresh" rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 136 reviews with a weighted average score of 8.2/10 and the site's consensus: "Beautifully written, sensitively directed, and powerfully acted, The Past serves as another compelling testament to Asghar Farhadi's gift for finely layered drama." On Metacritic, the film has a normalized score of 85% based on 41 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
The German-English website KinoCritics.com wrote the three main actors Bejo, Rahim and Mosaffa were convincing in their roles and added "a natural liveliness" to their scenes.