A school teacher from Tehran is preparing to attend a wedding in northern Iran. When her husband suddenly forbids her to go, she makes a choice that will place her on a painful path to atonement.
Sara (Sahar Dolatshahi), a beloved school teacher, lives in Tehran with her husband, Hamed (Pejman Jamshidi), and their five-year-old daughter, Raha. They are preparing to attend a wedding in northern Iran, but an unheralded work obligation for Hamed throws a wrench into the wheels of the family plan. Sara is determined to join the celebration, but stern and stubborn Hamed will not grant her permission to make the long journey with their child. When reasoning and sweet talk fail, dogged Sara devises a plan to flout her husband’s authority. But an unforeseeable event changes the family’s fortune and ensures that Sara’s trespass surfaces. Stealth and calculated choices are no longer possible, and in the blink of an eye, the pair are barrelling toward a collision.
Though the lens focuses on Sara’s plight, glimpses into the lives of her students further illuminate the trials of being born a woman in a country where what is desired and what is permitted are often at impossible odds. Inspired by true events and marking the beginning of a trilogy about secrets and lies, 180° Rule is the debut feature from writer-director Farnoosh Samadi. Cloaked under the veil of straightforward storytelling, the film lays bare the fallacy and untenability of rectitude. Samadi’s piercing family drama plunges into the pitfalls of tradition, providing a glimpse into the customary Iranian family structure while adapting universal notions of remorse and penance. Where moral dilemmas can usually be perceived in one of two ways, 180° Rule is a zero-sum portrait of atonement.
Content advisory: child endangerment