The Fifth Reaction | Chicago Reader

The Fifth Reaction

Five middle-class Iranian women are lunching together at a restaurant when one of their husbands arrives with his young secretary, discovers his spouse there, and decries the impropriety of her being out in public with friends. The wife's refusal to leave triggers a panoply of events, and director Tahmineh Milani adroitly shifts focus to a recently widowed woman (Niki Karimi) who fears losing custody of her sons to her wealthy, controlling father-in-law. After he cruelly invokes an ancient custom to cast her out of his house and keep the kids, she decides to kidnap the children, aided by her girlfriends. Milani's dignified treatment of complex characters deepens the drama of the woman's desperate scheme to keep her sons. In Farsi with subtitles. 106 min.

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