Tehran: City of Love is a tragic comedy about three strangers all trying to find a better life, until they suddenly find their lives changing in ways they never expected. Hessem (Amir Hessam Bakhitiari) is a professional body builder turned personal trainer who has aspirations of being an actor, willing to do almost anything to be a star.
Vahid (Mehdi Saki) is a singer whose wife has left him, just as his career picks up and he starts singing for weddings, and Mina (Forough Ghajabagli) is a lonely plastic surgeon’s receptionist who likes to call up the handsome clients she finds and pretends to be somebody else. All three stories are knowingly sad but also have a great spark of humour as their stories play out, even as they find themselves crossing paths.
The second film from writer/director Ali Jaberansari, Tehran: City of Love is played with a wry smile to the audience as the film shows the lives of its seemingly disconnected cast who all share at least one thing in common. The film talks about the world as it is today and the path to perfection that many will take in order to fulfil their dreams or simply to make themselves feel better.
As sad as that may be, unfortunately these themes are universal. However, the audience are never supposed to directly laugh at the main cast, because their stories are so relatable and even if the irony of their stories may seem a little contrived in places, the audience may even find a little of Hessem, Vahid and Mina in themselves.
Out of the three stories, Mina’s journey to find love and to acceptance, is by far the best part of the film. Ghajabagli’s performance is funny and yet endearing, so the audience never really pities her nor see her as a hateful character. Even as Mina is pretending to be somebody completely different on the phone to the handsome clients she meets, the audience still warms to her because, perhaps somewhere in their minds, they would love to have the courage to pull of something so wicked themselves.
This is not your typical romantic comedy where everything ends happily and is tied up nicely before the end credits. However, as the credits roll, perhaps the audience will start to think about their own lives and want to grab the opportunities that life gives them, before it’s too late.
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