November 01, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it a B

An Iranian woman reveals her student-activist and romantic past (seen in extensive flashback) to her judge husband the night before he is to decide the fate of a female political prisoner. A fascinating, from-the-inside, feminist take on the repression of Iranian women since the Islamic revolution, The Hidden Half suffers from a generous helping of melodrama (the round-faced Karimi bears a striking resemblance to Olivia de Havilland at her hand-wringing best), which humanizes the film’s ideology but distracts from the real drama of women who have no voice. (Caveat renter: Annoying white-on-white subtitles make at least one key scene impossible to follow.)

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