The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)
A drama adapted from a 1990 book – La Femme Lapidée written by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, The Stoning of Soraya M. is about the story of how an Iranian village woman Soraya was framed and accused of infidelity by her abusive husband Ali. Falsified with the testimonials from a corrupted ex-convict mullah and another blackmailed widower, Soraya was eventually stoned to death by the villager, in which, her sons also partook in the stoning. As fate would have it, Zahra, who is Soraya’s aunt related this harrowing tale of her neice to a journalist when his car ran into mechanical problems and he was stranded in the same village of Kuhpayeh where Soraya was just stoned to death just a day ago.
The Stoning of Soraya M. is a slow paced drama but not with a moment of boredom or dryness at anytime of the screen duration. Although the development and reveals are pretty much linear but it still has a great story-line with beautifully and expressively crafted visuals and dialogues. Other than the only one main weakness in the plot of this film on the part how the story of Soraya was actually revealed to a journalist stranded in the remote village and how he escaped from the village mob which is totally unnecessary and a bit of a far-cry.
Engendered with brutal ideological messages of deprived feminism, blackmailing and conspiracy, and accustomed religious practices against crimes and sins. It’s not surprising one might argues that The Stoning of Soraya M. was produced with a heavy-handed approach and only transcended through the sheer strength of its overly-strengthened subject material of telling the story of a muslim woman being stoned to death. Far from being a simple stone-cold conspiracy and murdering plot, the plot hatched by Ali to remove Soraya were populated with failures and resistance in which even when the first few stones thrown by Soraya’s father missed her (a sign of Soraya’s innocence), Ali eventually resorted to pick up the stones himself and threw at Soraya.
The strong niece-aunt bond between Soraya and Zahra was beautifully and poignantly performed by Mozhan Marnò and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Navid Negahban’s perceptive portrayal of Ali (Soraya’s husband) as an abusive and heinous husband who framed his own wife of infidelity and eventually stoned her to death was enough to ignite anger and indignation from the viewers.
Good news for non-fans of Jim Caviezel (cast as the stranded journalist in this movie), it’s so much easier for any viewers to forgive the usual over-the-top self confidence, poor control of timing and frequent display of overly-enacted-emotion level 12 acting of Jim Caviezel (also known as James Patrick Caviezel) when you have other power-class veteran casts like Mozhan Marnò, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Navid Negahban in this movie. The bad news is that yes he will be again starring in Mel Gibson’s The Resurrection of Christ (2021), a sequel to The Passion of Christ (2004).
|Title||The Stoning of Soraya M.|
|Country & Language||United States
Persian & English
|Duration & Genre||116mins
Drama (based on a true story)
|Release Date||07/09/2008 – TIFF
26/06/2009 – Theatres
|Directed by||Cyrus Nowrasteh|
|Edited by||David Handman
|Produced by||Stephen McEveety
|Date of Publishing||24/12/2019|