Wed, 04 Oct, 2023

The Stoning of Soraya M. : Movie Review

By Ashmita Thapa

Photo Courtesy Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh Cast: Shohreh Aghdashloo, James Caviezel(as Friedoune Sahebjam the foreign journalist) and Mozhan Marno(as Soraya Manutchehri, the title character) A directors’ choice award winning movie of 2008 based on a true story. The movie is basically based on an international bestseller which depicted an event that occurred in Iran, this story shows the status of women in some parts of Iran vividly. This is a story of Iran where women are treated like slaves. A French-Iranian journalist, Freidoune Sahebjam, published THE STONING OF SORAYA M. . This story is focused on the practice of stoning as a punishment for adultery. This is a kind of movie one will remember clearly throughout their lifetime. The scenes in the movie are unbearable and unwatchable, but still one cannot take their eyes off the screen. This is the 21st century and still women are being victims of such immoral and inhuman acts, strictly indictable by law, which obliges one to watch this movie without even blinking. (For those of you wondering what stoning is, it is a practice of burying half of the body of a person and people throwing stones at him/her to death). The movie can bring tears to everyone’s eyes; tears for the women in the movie, for her children, tears for the women all around the world going through such pain. This movie shows the conscience of women. This movie shows that in the male-dominated countries like Iran, women can never stand up for themselves. In the movie, Soraya’s husband wants to marry a different girl who is only 14 years old. He wants divorce from Soraya but denies giving her alimony (Soraya’s dowry). Soraya refuses as she cannot feed her children on her own. She knows it very well that if she agrees; her children would starve to death. Later she finds a job in a man’s house as a maid. Her husband accuses her of adultery, which is a false accusation. He threatens the man that he will have him killed if he did not support him. So, as the punishment of adultery Soraya is stoned to death. Zahra (Soraya’s aunt) then meets a journalist and tells him everything; the journalist publishes a book on it. It becomes the best-seller. The world comes to know the reality about that society. In the last scene of the movie, when Soraya is given a chance to speak up and prove her innocence, she reprimands the entire village for doing such acts to her. The Mullah says Soraya had committed sin, for which the village should suffer, and that each stones thrown at her could bring them back their honor; this is the stupidest thought that prevails in a society. The most heart rendering part is, when even Soraya’s sons throw stones at her as their father had taught them that it was a man’s world. This movie is not Islamophobic and does not objectify Muslim women as meek and helpless creatures. But the movie is a strong accusation against hypocrisy displayed by some Muslim communities. It is huge lesson for the world to learn for.