We’ve seen it before – the multi-generational culture class story that happens in a lot of families. From the older generation coming to America and having dreams and aspirations for their kids, to the children who not only embrace the American lifestyle but prefer it to the more traditional ways. It plays out over and over again, and the reason these movies do so well is a lot of viewers can relate to them. We were raised in these families and these family traditions still hold on two or three generations later. It makes light of some of the harder moments we may experience with our own families, but also gives a bit of levity to a situation that so many of us can relate to.
The problem with multi-generational cultural comedies though, quite often the differences in generations as something negative, or ridiculous. But The Persian Version is different. Sure, the movie still pokes a bit of fun at the mother Shireen (Niousha Noor), but it’s seen from the perspective of the daughter Leila (Layla Mohammadi), who is trying to find her own cultural identity within her community and family. At no point are her parents’ cultural differences used as a comedic plot point, but instead, it’s actually lauded as a strength. The determination, the working outside of the box of their coworkers, and even cultural celebrations.
The Persian Version follows Leila, the only girl of nine children who is not only treated differently than her brothers but has decided to take her own path in life. Constantly at odds with her parent’s expectations, she finds her own life and happiness, until a bad breakup sends her in another direction. While she reaches out for support from her parents, she’s met with rejection by her mother and goes on a journey to find out more about herself and her mother’s path. Maybe things aren’t as simple as they seem.
Yes, there are still the goofy sibling characters and some more over-the-top characters we’re used to in these stories – but really, every family has a couple of those we can relate to as well. But The Persian Version doesn’t focus on their stories as much. Instead, it’s more focused on the women’s stories and their struggle to find themselves no matter the odds. It will have you laughing, but more than one moment in the movie you’ll be reaching for the tissues as well.
The Persian Version will be playing in theaters everywhere this weekend. The movie is a breath of fresh air compared to other multi-generational cultural clashes and is one that you’ll want to revisit.
About The Persian Version:
THE PERSIAN VERSION: Coming from two countries at odds with each other, Iranian-American Leila (Layla Mohammadi) strives to find balance and embrace her opposing cultures, while boldly challenging the labels society is so quick to project upon her. When her family reunites in New York City for her father’s heart transplant, Leila navigates her relationships at arm’s length in an effort to keep her “real” life separate from her family life. However, when her secret is unceremoniously revealed, so are the distinct parallels between her life and that of her mother Shireen (Niousha Noor). Punctuated by a bright color palette, snappy comedic relief and vibrant dance numbers, “The Persian Version” delivers an honest portrayal of a woman who remains unapologetically herself, blended seamlessly into a heartfelt story about family, belonging and the undeniable influence of pop music.
Starring Layla Mohammadi, Niousha Noor, Kamand Shafieisabet, Bijan Daneshmand, Bella Warda, Chiara Stella, Tom Byrne, Shervin Alenabi
Written and Directed by Maryam Keshavarz
(Sony Pictures Classics)