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“In Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning moral parable The Salesman, the writer-director’s longtime acting collaborator Taraneh Alidoosti delivers a stunning central turn that earns our admiration for what the actress both does and doesn’t do. As Rana, a married Iranian actress who is assaulted by a stranger one night in a new apartment, Alidoosti refuses to embroider the character with personal touches or make her exceptional in ways that transcend the confined events and traumatic revelations depicted within the film. This daring lack of distinctiveness could conceivably run the risk of alienating an audience were it not for the actress’ sterling, measured technique, which betrays potent flashes of toughness and devastation, but mostly an increasing recessiveness that proves just as worrisome to those surrounding her on screen as it does to the engrossed viewer. Alidoosti’s watchful restraint consummately traces the arc of an everywoman struggling to collect her bearings after a harrowing encounter, all the while privately pushing back against a role which she never intended to play — that of victim.” — Matthew Eng

The 10 Best Female Film Performances of Early 2017

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