Meteorologically speaking, ‘thermal inversion’ is the reason Tehran is often blanketed under a thick smog. It’s what kicks off this film, after the toxic air puts an elderly woman in hospital with doctor’s orders to leave the city for cleaner climes. Someone must move north with her, and her family soon decide that her unmarried, childless daughter Niloofar (Sahar Dolatshahi) will be the one to go. Niloofar, a business owner who relishes her freedom in the city, is never consulted, but filmmaker Behnam Behzadi is absolutely in her corner, detailing how her relatives use tradition to mask their self-interest and push her around.
Like Asghar Farhadi’s acclaimed recent movies 'A Separation' and 'The Salesman', this is a story about middle-class Tehran and the layers of conflict that evolve out of seemingly ordinary circumstances. What’s distinctive here is the film’s investment in the plight of female self-determination. It delves into the labyrinth of Iranian social mores, and the subtle ways in which women of different generations mark out their own emotional space.