So much of this review is purposefully vague about the dramatic fulcrum of the film that I think it’s only fair to talk straight about it here. The big issue in The Past is: Why is Samir’s wife in a coma? We find out that she attempted suicide by drinking detergent in his place of work. (Samir owns a laundry.) Lucie believes it’s her mother’s fault for having an affair with Samir. She also confesses later to have forwarded love letters between Marie and Samir to Samir’s wife the day before she tried to commit suicide. But then, in another twist, it’s revealed that Samir’s employee Naïma (Sabrina Ouazani) is to blame for stoking her jealousy and despair and that she downed the detergent in front of her deliberately. Farhadi just keeps on turning the screws on this plot point, until we go from blaming Marie to blaming Lucie to blaming Naïma to perhaps blaming no one at all.
Additional question for those who have seen the film: What do you make of the ending? Why do we end with Samir? What does this miraculous event signify? I ask because I honestly don’t know, other than maybe Farhadi wanting to leave us on a note of hope and redemption.