The Persian Version (2023) Movie Script

And the winner of this year's
best Halloween costume is:
Miss Burka-tini!
Oh, my God!
Nice legs.
Nice cultural commentary.
Oh, my God. I love drag queens.
Oh, no, I'm an actor.
I'm playing Hedwig at the Belasco.
I was supposed to come
in this Frankenstein thing--
You're so beautiful until you talk.
-Why would you do that?
-Sorry, I thought that was sexy.
-You scratched me.
Let me show you how it's done.
-You did that with one hand.
-I've had a lot of practice.
Obviously I've had some issues
with culture, but can you blame me?
I come from two countries that used
to be madly in love with each other.
And like any great romance,
it ended in a bitter divorce.
The Iran crisis...
As early as I could remember,
my two cultures didn't just hate
each other, they were at war.
Like a child of divorce,
I was right in the middle,
being pulled at it from both sides.
Being a girl, I couldn't be drafted
into the Iranian military.
So I was the only child in my family
who could travel
between these two countries,
these two parents
who wanted each other dead,
Iran and America.
I never fit in anywhere.
Too Iranian in America,
too American in Iran.
Unresolved childhood trauma.
This neurosis led me
to become a writer. Free therapy.
Writers and neurosis,
what's more New York than that?
As a kid growing up in Brooklyn,
I thought we were the all-American family,
Sears family portrait and all.
We even had our archetypes:
The disco king, the troublemaker,
JFK Jr. minus the plane crash,
the brainiac, future Harvard grad,
the goth, the hippie,
the greaser, and the metrosexual,
and me, the outsider.
-I'm almost done!
I was just an all-American girl,
but the Americans didn't see it that way.
You smelly terrorist!
Meanwhile in Iran...
You smelly imperialist!
Go back to where you came from.
And liftoff.
In America, I learned
how to put my faith in science.
In Iran, I learned
how to put my faith in politics.
Modesty is beauty and heavenly.
The only way to survive was
to not put my faith in any of the rules.
Hold your horses!
Not science, not politics.
The only thing
that I could put my faith in was art.
Come on, hurry up.
Growing up in a home with eight boys,
I knew that men had it easier.
But still, being the only girl
in a family had its benefits.
Both for getting in line first
and for smuggling.
So after the Islamic Revolution,
the Iranian government wanted
to distance itself
from its former lover, the U.S. of A.
So if in the past
everything American was cool,
after the revolution, anything Western
was forbidden and the source of all evil.
So logically, I became the mule
for all good from America.
-Search their bags.
-What the hell is wrong?
I smuggled Michael Jackson,
Prince and Cyndi Lauper
back to the homeland,
but I had to play it just right.
If we were detained at baggage control,
they would do a full body check
and I would be busted.
-Take them for a body search.
-Leila! Why are you squirming so much?
You all right, little girl?
I have a really bad rash.
You're free to go.
I loved
those mother-daughter trips to Iran.
What did you bring us?
We brought a little America to Persia.
I agree with you.
Wonder what it's like running
into your ex when you look like shit?
Oh, my God. Okay, okay, okay.
Don't scream.
It goes something like this.
Ma'am, do you know this child?
I'm sorry, I don't know him.
-She put on the gorilla mask.
-Is that you?
Elena. Hi, how are you?
Evidently, better than you.
-You've gotta stop calling me.
-Maybe I called a few times.
I have 54 missed calls from you.
Okay, maybe more than a few times.
It's just that I think we should give it
another shot. I still love you.
I don't think you know how to love,
you have too much baggage.
You're gonna have to learn
how to confront your family.
Especially mommy dearest.
-Really, Elena? We're still going there?
-I've moved on, let me have my life.
Maybe you can finally come pick up
the rest of your stuff.
You know the best thing
about gay marriage? Gay divorce.
Shireen, darling.
Make peace with your daughter.
The hospital called three times.
-Wake up! It's our turn.
-What's happened?
You're getting a new heart.
What if we don't make it?
Maybe it's not my destiny.
You are getting that heart.
Crazy traffic!
-Where's Leila?
-You know Leila. God knows.
Hi, our father's gonna have
a surgery soon,
his name is Ali Reza Jamshidpour.
Crazy, my dad's about to get a heart.
Imagine carrying
someone's heart in your body,
but not really knowing
anything about them.
Hi, Mom.
Leila, I didn't want to call you,
actually, but we had to leave.
We are in the car,
Mamanjoon is waiting for you at home.
-She won't stay with anyone but you.
-How's Dad?
Hey, moron, it's a car,
not a donkey. Move it!
Oh, my God!
Why is it so busy? Come on, go!
It's getting late.
Yah Imam Zaman! We need your help.
He came!
Stop! Wait, wait, wait.
This is where I have to stop the story.
So Shia Muslims are really
into this magic realist stuff.
In our family, there's always someone
who comes to save the day.
His name is Imam Zaman.
He's this amazing saint.
He disappeared a few hundred years ago.
Like, literally, disappeared
into thin air one day. He's a busy guy.
A true believer says his name
and he appears in times of need,
and he can appear in human or animal form.
Oh, you're skeptical, huh?
Well, I sort of am too.
This close to getting what she wants,
of course she pulled a favor
from the big guy.
My mom really believes in this stuff.
I'm not sure I do.
She's old world, I'm new world. This is
my mom and I's relationship in a nutshell.
Imam Zaman is cute tonight, am I right?
Obviously you can't see his face.
Well, because you just can't.
Just trust me on this.
I told you he'd come.
He's doing his magic.
Gonna have your very own personal,
Persian fan club after this.
Just immediate family, please.
These aren't even all of my siblings.
They're like a litter of cats.
Usually the stronger kittens eat
the weaker ones.
Does she think we are cannibals?
Mama, Dr. Balestri is
the best heart surgeon in New York.
But, Dad, the same can't be said
for the heart you're getting.
We're on the B list.
But a second-rate heart is better
than the one you have now.
You've been in and out
of hospital for so long,
this should give you another two years.
Five, if we're lucky.
That's like 35 years in dog years.
Is she saying I'm a dog?
Shivaz, be strong for your father.
Dad, with your history,
this procedure could take eight hours,
maybe more.
That's a lot for a man of any age.
I haven't lost many patients,
but this is still an experimental program.
Find Vahid.
Shit. Vahid.
We'll find him, Dad.
And when I wake up,
I want to see all my children.
Both Vahid and Leila.
Oh, I love Persian soap operas.
Where's the popcorn?
Are you okay? They told me you were sick.
I feel good when you're here.
You're the only one who likes me.
-Shall I take you to the hospital?
-Your mother doesn't want me there.
It's me she doesn't want there.
My mom is heartless.
You two can't fight forever.
You're a writer.
If you want to understand your mother,
write about her.
I'm tired.
So are you ready to meet my family?
I love you, okay?
This is gonna be great.
You are early.
Well, happy Thanksgiving, Mom.
You remember Elena.
Happy Thanksgiving.
I actually have a cold.
Hi, Dad.
-Oh, hey, Elena.
-How's it going?
Come sit with us.
Do you play backgammon?
How's life?
Is that a trick question?
Play with us.
I haven't played since I was 5.
You know what today is?
Of course.
It's the anniversary of Grandpa's death.
-I remember--
-I read...
Elena some of his poems on the way here.
I think if he saw you today,
he would be ashamed of you.
No, he wouldn't.
He was a poet.
He wasn't afraid of something
just because he didn't understand it.
-You barely knew him.
-I read his books more than you, Mom.
Of all people,
Grandpa would want me to live my truth.
Your truth?
Your truth is going to kill your father.
Wait, sorry, now we're talking
about killing Dad?
I thought I was scandalizing Grandpa
on his anniversary.
You're such a coward, Mom.
Hiding behind Dad,
hiding behind your father.
It's not them who don't want me
to be who I am, it's you.
You were always like this
ever since you were a kid.
Stubborn, selfish...
and there was not one rule
you did not want to break.
I'm not breaking any rules.
I think you should leave.
You and Elena, both of you.
You're throwing us out on Thanksgiving?
You want to live outside the rules,
live outside the rules.
My mom could be so cruel.
She just didn't have room
in her heart for me.
How is Duncan?
If you're gonna have one last boyfriend
before becoming gay,
you could do a lot worse than Duncan.
We're not together anymore.
We broke up like nine years ago.
You did good.
You don't love him, leave him.
Mom wanted me to marry him.
Forget it. Have fun with someone new.
Just don't get carried away.
But if you must, put it
in the back door, so you stay a virgin.
I let Grandpa do that
before we got married.
Oh, my God.
Okay, Grandma, stop, stop, stop.
You think we just stared
across the room at each other?
Can we change the subject?
Spoiled! You're just like your mother.
You overreact just like her.
I'm nothing like my mother.
Do you know
why your parents came to America?
Sure. It was 1967...
The U.S. had a shortage of doctors
because of the Vietnam War.
So they recruited doctors from Iran
to work in America's inner cities.
My dad opened his practice in Brooklyn.
We were supposed to be here five years,
for my dad to complete
his internal medicine specialty.
Then five years became 15.
Mom, that really hurt.
Then there was the revolution...
and then the war.
So we didn't go back.
No, Leila. That's only one version.
what are the other versions of the truth?
Your parents were escaping.
Escaping a scandal.
A scandal!
Mom never mentioned a scandal.
What could be the scandal?
Even finer, even finer.
What does it matter?
If you want to learn
how to make ghormeh sabzi,
you have to learn it the right way.
My mother was an enigma.
Hard to ever understand
what she was thinking.
She held her cards tight with everything,
except her criticism of me.
More. Keep going.
Watch your finger, Leila.
They're here!
The Americans are on time?
Why are they on time?
Your dad is not even home.
Leila, watch the rice,
I have to get ready.
Okay, everybody, cleanup time!
Everybody, get dressed now!
Wake up!
Vahid, get your ass off the couch.
Leila, get the shoes.
Mom, your shoes!
Cinderella, catch.
-Happy New Year!
-You're welcome, Mom.
My mother was also the master multitasker.
Cook a huge meal, clean the house,
and get ready for a party effortlessly.
Something I probably learned from her
and helped me become a director.
What a gorgeous dress you made me.
Look. I've gotten so many compliments.
Just take the money.
Don't mention it to your husband.
None of his business how you make money.
Happy Persian New Year!
I brought you a little gift.
I hope you like it.
Why are you spying here?
Instead of helping me, you're doing this?
Go back to the party.
But Vahid was smoking, Mom.
It's amazing
what a good night's sleep can do.
Erase all the worries of the night before.
-Good morning, New York...
-And erase the past.
We're out of orange juice.
Pancakes are a little overdone.
-I need another Coke.
-These eggs are pretty good.
Is there any syrup?
What are you wearing?
-I like it.
-Can you pass the orange juice?
-Nice hair, sis.
Your omelet is ready.
You have to go to school today.
I'm not going to school.
You boys are not helping Vahid enough.
I can't make him study.
What do you want us to do, Mom?
I keep you from using the car,
unless you are ready to help him.
How's that?
Ali Reza.
Ali Reza? Ali Reza!
-Ali Reza Jamshidpour?
To recover
from a triple bypass is serious.
There's going to have
to be lifestyle changes.
Maybe that'll make him stop smoking.
Can he return to work?
The damage to his heart was severe.
No stress whatsoever.
He'll be lucky if he can walk
around the block, but he's alive.
Okay. I'll quit law school, get a job.
You will not.
-I wanna help.
We did not come to America
for you to be a hamal.
You will finish your school. I--
I will figure it out.
I will figure it out.
My mother is not one
to take no for an answer.
No one gave her the memo
that Muslim women were passive good girls.
There was never a mountain
that was insurmountable.
Hello, I am calling
about the receptionist position. I--
Yes, how much-- How much typing?
And do you need a high school diploma?
Okay. Thank you for your time. Thank you.
The bill is a little steep
because you don't have health insurance.
He has worked in this country
for 20 years as a doctor.
But you don't have health insurance.
You're going to have
to pay the whole bill.
Hello, I am calling about the-- What?
He does not even make this in one year.
He has to be here for another two weeks.
He cannot work. We have nine kids.
Well, some declare bankruptcy.
But bankrupt--
We are Iranian. We don't do bankruptcy.
Hello, I am calling
about the part-time office assistant.
I can see here
that he owns his own office.
Okay. So?
Well, consider selling the office.
She was too proud to fail. She was never
going back to her home country.
So it was success in America or bust.
-Sell the office to pay a hospital bill?
My mom was the queen of stubbornness.
A trait I'd later go on to perfect.
The building is worth 200,000.
I bought it for 40,000
and that is what I'll sell it for.
Fine. How do you expect
to pay your hospital bills?
We talked about this, Ali Reza.
The building is worth
five times what you paid.
It is what it is.
We can take a loan.
We won't take any loans.
We won't borrow from anyone.
There is a word for that.
This isn't Iran. We live in America now.
Do you think God cares where we live?
There are not two right things to do.
And feeding our nine children?
And paying your medical bills?
What does God have to say about that?
God is generous.
My mom became a single-minded woman.
The path was right in front of her.
God help me.
And then everything changed.
I am calling about becoming a Realtor.
Hello, welcome to...
1-800, start being a Realtor
-Okay. Thank you.
So how can I become a Realtor?
I have to make money right away.
I like your enthusiasm.
After you take
our brief eight-week course,
you can start working
at any real estate agency.
-Any other requirements?
-A high school diploma or a GED.
And I can make lots of money?
Your opportunities
as a Realtor are endless.
Always remember that.
Okay. Thank you.
When she found the path,
she took multitasking to another level.
And all this without Adderall.
Welcome to the accelerated GED program.
Over the next eight weeks, we're gonna be
meeting every Monday, Wednesday, Friday,
from 7 to 10 p.m.
You cannot miss a single class.
I solved it. God, I love math.
Can you help me here?
Abbas is better than me, ask him.
You can do anything better
than your brother.
Excuse me.
You have $200,000 left on your mortgage,
but you have paid $100,000.
That is your equity.
Yes, of course.
-You're a natural.
-Oh, thank you.
Any news about your GED?
I have already mailed for it.
It will be here,
I will have it in a few weeks.
Okay. But before the test, all right?
Sorry, this coupon is
for the 24-ounce Frosted Flakes.
You have the 16-ounce.
Seriously? My kids are waiting, it's fine.
-If you want the half-off coupon, then...
-I-- Okay, well...
Do not move your body.
Calm down. Call 911!
The ambulance is coming.
But my mom wasn't one
to let a broken neck get in her way.
She was going
to get that license at any cost,
even if it meant making my life miserable.
Are you not going to cook dinner?
Mom, can we just get pizza?
I wanna play basketball.
We don't have money.
You ask me to cook 'cause I'm a girl.
-No, I ask you because I can count on you.
-I wanna play basketball.
I'm in so much goddamn pain, Leila!
Fine, I'll make the damn dinner.
And then a miracle appeared again.
Judging from your injuries,
we can get you up to $100,000.
-That's right.
Would that money go
to my husband's account,
or can it go directly to my account?
Whatever you want.
And the path became even clearer.
Here is the GED.
Can I take my real estate exam, please?
The GED.
My mother wasn't the only one
with shoulder pads and ambitions.
What was I trying to do
with this writing? Prove myself?
I was doing my best to fail my parents,
and I was doing a good job.
I dreamt about being
an Iranian-American Martin Scorsese,
seeing my stories on the big screen.
But my parents had other ideas.
When is Leila getting married?
Good question.
And this campaign was endless.
-So when is Leila getting married?
-A miracle must happen.
Hey, what are you doing later tonight?
Their disappointment in me
was like artistic rocket fuel.
And I was finally showing my work
at the fancy New York Film Festival.
Every filmmaker's dream.
Mom, what do you think?
You do this to hurt me.
I still had no idea what the scandal was.
Delving into my own psychosis
wasn't helping writer's block.
Best to be more productive
and search ways I was probably dying.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
I've been just, like,
feeling really under the weather lately.
I have your test results back.
I have cancer, I knew it.
Do you wanna have cancer,
or do you wanna know what's going on?
Is that a trick question?
All right, you are pregnant.
Oh, my God. I love drag queens.
-Oh, fuck.
-Very pregnant.
Did you notice
you missed your last two periods?
I thought it was just stress from my film.
At least it's not cancer.
Okay, that's good news, right?
No, I'd prefer cancer.
So how did all this happen?
I assume this was not planned.
No, I didn't know you can get knocked up
from a one-night stand.
Leila, it just takes once.
Now you give me the sex ed talk.
Well, I didn't know I had to
since you're a lesbian.
Holy fuck.
I'm a lesbian. I can't be pregnant.
It's not considered binge-eating
when you're preggers, right?
I think you should leave.
Glad you came.
-Did you like it?
-You're amazing.
You finally called.
So how long has it been?
Twelve weeks.
It's a very specific number.
I just got out of my first trimester.
Yeah, yeah. Can you give us
a couple of minutes in here?
-Superstar, they're waiting for you.
-Yeah, I'll be right out.
-I can go. I just wanted to tell you.
-Please. I want to help.
What do you want to do?
-I think I'm gonna keep it.
There's no pressure.
I'm just letting you know.
Yeah. Okay, good.
You wanna keep it?
Yes. I think so.
-Yeah. I'm as surprised as you.
-Well, then let's give it a go.
No. No pressure or anything.
No, I would like to see you again.
You got me locked in
for another six months.
Does this mean you'll return my calls?
Just to be clear, right?
I'm not gonna stop working
just because I'm having a baby.
Okay. Yeah. Neither am I.
If I wanna go to Japan during a tsunami
while I'm pregnant, I will.
-Or Sri Lanka during a genocide, I will.
If you really want to. I think
that war's been over for a few months.
-Right. So can I take you for dinner?
Oh, my God. It's so late right now.
I am going to get some rest.
Okay. Tomorrow lunch.
-I have lunch plans with my family.
-Perfect. They can meet me.
-That's perfect. Where do they live?
-In Jersey.
Jersey? Jersey.
What the fuck is wrong with Jersey?
Who's this ugly guy?
-What's she saying?
-She said you have really nice teeth.
Oh, my dad's a dentist.
-Oh, no way.
-How do you say a dentist?
-Not now.
So, Mom, how's Dad?
-Hopefully he'll wake up soon.
-Dad was asking about you.
When was the last time you graced us
with your presence, Lulu-lollipop?
Well, we're honored you're here.
-I could never resist a good lo mein.
At least she's not as much
of a fuckup as Vahid is.
Hey, do not talk
about someone who is not here.
Sorry. You gonna tell them?
-I'll send them an e-mail.
-Are you crazy?
-It's a cultural thing.
-No, it's not.
What are you guys whispering about?
I'm having a baby.
-You're having a baby?
What did he say?
He says, "I'm pregnant."
My God, men in this country get pregnant?
No, I'm pregnant.
You're pregnant by a gay guy?
He's not gay, he's European.
Only on special occasions.
No, no. I'm not gay.
Clearly, considering
you knocked up my gay sister.
-He's a thespian, not a lesbian.
I'm still gay.
I just happened to get pregnant.
You weren't gay on Halloween.
What did he say?
He said, "I'm a child of England."
Meaning "I'm pregnant."
Didn't I tell you "from the back door"?
The front?!
Some people like coffee
and some people like tea.
Not that we have any problem
with gay people.
Wait, you and Elena
aren't together anymore?
They broke up six months ago.
-Some people like coffee and tea.
-Some people like thespians.
-Congrats, sis, you'll be a great mom.
I'm gonna get some water.
Leila, how can you be so irresponsible?
I hope you're getting married.
I was married to Elena
and you destroyed that.
If you ever wanna see your granddaughter,
never bring up the word "marriage" again.
It's a girl?
Did she break up my marriage?
We were so in love.
I was living the out-of-the-box lifestyle
I always wanted.
Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet, and you exploded into my heart
I love you.
And I forget...
Until life intervened.
The point of being
in a radical girl relationship
is I wouldn't be forced to be a housewife.
Being responsible isn't being a housewife.
It's keeping your word
and us having a child this year,
not leaving for six months
on a film shoot.
I'm making my film now.
I'm not gonna postpone.
How can you be so disgustingly selfish?
-Well, I need to be selfish.
-Well, then I need to break up with you.
So it's not all my mom's fault.
But it's so much easier
blaming our mothers, isn't it?
I was just terrified to be like her.
I had to do motherhood my way.
Just when I thought
I had my mother figured out,
she would throw a monkey wrench
into my story.
She was a character I couldn't pin down,
who kept reinventing herself.
And this time she invented herself
as an ultra-successful
immigrant businesswoman.
Hello, welcome. Right this way, please.
So, Mr. and Mrs. Park,
it is a very big day.
-Are you excited?
You are going to absolutely love it.
I have prepared everything for you,
like we discussed.
I just need you to sign
right here and here.
Perfect. Congratulations.
You are going to be
inside your new home very soon.
-Thank you.
-Of course.
Okay, let's go, please. Let's go.
So, Shireen, you running
a refugee camp here or what?
-Third closing this week.
-You're doing better than me.
Funny thing about refugees is,
they love to buy homes.
My mom always leaned on me hard
to be her little helper.
Don't work too hard, honey.
I had to stand up to her.
Or she would crush me.
I need your help
setting up the open house tonight.
I'll just wait here.
-Just ten minutes.
-You always say ten minutes.
Let's go.
That looks fun.
It's calculus.
There's no way you'd understand this.
Can you check the spelling
of this contract?
Just one minute, please.
Mom. My God, you're such a bad speller.
You didn't even spell "thousand" right.
I am a bad speller
so you can be a good one.
I have midterms.
There's so many mistakes.
This is gonna take all day.
Just fix it, please.
-Oh, my God.
-Thank you for helping.
But, Mrs. Khan,
why throw away money on rent?
We can barely make that rent as it is.
The house I'll show you, the mortgage
is $200 a month less than your rent.
It has four bedrooms.
Your mother-in-law can visit.
My mother-in-law is like
an Impressionist painting.
You can appreciate her
better at a distance.
We can't afford a down payment.
First-time homeowners,
no down payment needed.
You must be joking.
Oh, I never joke about business,
Mrs. Khan.
Wow, you shaved.
You should've worn more makeup.
Can you tell us what happened, Mr. Patel?
We have been here for ten years.
Turn it up.
--came with these throwers,
and they burned everything we have,
everything we worked for.
I don't know what we did.
We are good people.
And they just came
and ruined everything for us.
This is the seventh such attack
in the Jersey City area.
We're here in Journal Square...
So, Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez-- Patel--
Garcia-- Today is a very big day.
Are you excited?
I've prepared everything
the way we discussed.
All I need is for you to sign
right here and here.
Amazing. And congratulations.
Right this way. Watch your step.
Three thousand square feet
for your grocery store.
-You are renovating this yourself?
-Immigrants, we know how to save money.
We go through a lot.
Like I said, I was so moved by your story
and I am so happy that you are here.
And excited.
And you know what the best part is?
In this neighborhood, no market.
I don't know why.
Then why are you giving us
three months free?
If your business does well,
we can negotiate terms we both find fair.
Your success will be my success,
and I know you will have success.
This seems too good to be true, no?
Do you know what my boss said
when I first started
selling real estate to immigrants?
He said bring one
and the whole village comes.
He meant it as a warning.
But I, I saw that as an opportunity.
I understand something that they don't.
I have been the top seller in my agency
for the past six months.
I haven't done any commercial yet,
but I own these three buildings
free and clear.
I see an opportunity.
I believe in this project,
and I believe in you, Mr. Patel.
Okay. Little presumptuous, maybe, but...
Nice, right?
Very nice.
The opportunity my mom saw,
today, we call it Little India.
Right, Leila, go on the other side.
Sorry, one second. Excuse me.
Okay. Right in the center now.
-You see what I see?
-What do you think?
-Thank you.
-Congratulations, Mr. Patel.
-Sorry I'm late.
-Did they win?
Well, I had to leave
before halftime, but...
Leila was on the way
to another triple double.
Do I hear basketball scholarship?
No, she's going
to get academic scholarship.
So you've been agent of the month
for eight months.
-What's next?
-I'm glad you asked.
Do you know Oak Tree Road?
Okay. All the stores are boarded up,
and I have this plan.
How was the game?
You would know if you were there.
The quarterfinals. You forgot.
Sorry, I'm too busy putting food
on the table.
Anyone see my smoking guns?
-Like muscles.
I love that you support your sister,
but get involved in a real sport.
Not throwing those white girls in the air,
looking under their skirt.
-Leila, sweatpants.
-No, it's too hot.
-Wanna start this with your father again?
-Leila, don't be a bad Muslim.
I'll stop shaving my legs when you
grow out a nice, long Muslim beard.
This country, my daughter plays basketball
and my son is a cheerleader.
Leila, pants, let's go!
-Put your pants on, you slut.
-Shut up.
-Give me some of your facial hair too.
-Get out of here.
Hurry up!
So stupid.
I always thought
I had to stand up to my mom.
I finally realized
I needed to try to understand her.
And maybe uncovering the scandal
would let me do that.
Weren't you supposed
to be taking care of Mamanjoon?
I made you some food.
My favorite.
We don't need you here, Leila.
Go home and take care of Mamanjoon.
I really need some cheering up, Mamanjoon.
We don't need you here, Leila.
Thanks, love.
You still got it.
If film doesn't work out,
I could open a restaurant.
In the West, you live to work.
You are your work.
What about joy?
You don't have a family to support yet.
So why work, work, work?
I work because I have ambitions.
Remember to live,
amongst all those ambitions.
You'll be a mother soon.
So don't forget yourself.
So about that scandal
you mentioned before...
why did my parents come to America?
Your mom was a lot like you
when she was young.
She was brilliant.
The square root of 4356 is 66.
girls didn't have the same chance as boys.
You're so selfish.
So, what if I'm selfish?
I want to finish seventh grade.
I don't want to get married.
When she married your father,
they moved to a remote village
with no water or electricity.
Opposite of where she grew up.
When your brother Shivaz was born,
I went to the village to help your mom.
Why are you washing all those clothes?
Leave it.
I'm fine.
You just had a baby, let me help you.
I said I'm fine.
I'll get Shivaz.
You don't have to suffer like this.
You're a new mom and need some rest.
It was two days' journey home.
Their village was so remote,
it was one day by donkey
to the closest bus stop.
And then, of course,
we had to wait for the bus.
Have some.
Thank you, my dear.
May you have a long life.
What brings you
to our part of the country?
Well, my daughter is married
to a doctor here.
Dr. Jamshidpour?
Yes. How did you know?
He is the only doctor
for the entire region.
A great honor for your daughter.
Is she the first or second wife?
Are you the mother of the young bride
or of the old nurse?
First or second wife?
We didn't give our daughter to your dad
so he could betray us.
What was he trying to do,
start a medieval harem?
You'd think since he's an educated doctor,
it would be different.
Men will be men.
Even modern ones.
A scandal in the making.
What humiliation.
I can't believe it.
There is a time for poetry
and a time for action.
Your grandfather's book
would have to wait.
What's wrong?
Your grandfather and uncle did what
any respectable family would do
when their daughter's husband
has decided to live like an animal.
Ali Reza.
Come here.
What's going on?
Why are you creating a scandal?
I hear you took a second wife.
You damn peasant.
Say goodbye to your life.
Stop it!
I came to America.
I left everything behind.
Everyone I knew, everything familiar.
My food, my family, my language.
So I could narrate my own story.
Control my own destiny.
Take care of my own life.
Not have the gossips rule my life.
Now I will tell my own story.
I wasn't going to be like my Aunt Mahdis.
Aunt Mahdis was divorced at 17.
According to the law,
the custody went to the father.
She nearly went mad with grief.
Her brother, my father,
tried to cheer her up.
He gave her a bicycle
and taught her how to ride.
Once she learned, she never stopped.
Day and night, rain and sun,
winter and summer.
Aunt Mahdis would be pedaling.
I am not going
to ever ride a damn bicycle.
And I am not going to divorce this man.
I understand him better
than even he knows.
Ours was a different story.
It would have a different ending.
I would make sure of that.
When a boy's father dies,
something changes in his soul.
He has no male role model.
He doesn't know
what kind of man he can become.
My husband's father died helping the sick.
After dying of yellow fever,
his son became the man of the house.
His responsibility was
to protect the books.
Books were valuable then
and needed protection.
He protected the books,
and the books protected him.
I'm not afraid.
I'm not afraid.
I'm not afraid.
I'm not afraid.
When we married, I was 13 and he 22.
But inside, he was still a boy.
He had been to medical school,
but I was his intellectual equal.
Googoosh is your age.
I've never been to a concert.
After we married,
we were sent to a most remote village.
When we arrived,
it was like they had never seen a doctor.
But they really knew how to cook.
In the village, I only made one friend.
-What's your name?
let me show you how to do injections.
I don't know how to.
That's why I'm going to teach you.
I've prepared this.
Make sure there's no air in it.
You take her arm like this. Ready?
Give it a try.
First, you pull up her sleeve.
We never learned this stuff
in medical school.
You'll learn.
If I kill someone?
I just graduated.
They think I'm a real doctor.
You are a real doctor.
Not only real, but a great doctor.
Thanks for encouraging me.
Do we have any sugar?
Could I borrow some sugar?
Of course, come in.
I love this song.
Googoosh is amazing.
We heard her in concert.
Lucky you.
Let's have a tea together.
My husband is waiting.
Just a quick tea.
Sweet, like your name.
Lucky you. We don't have a radio at home.
We're friends now.
Come listen to the radio,
even if I'm not home.
Music is good for the baby.
If you have any questions
about pregnancy or birth control...
don't be embarrassed.
It'll stay between us.
-I wish I could continue my studies.
-You still can.
No, it's too late.
I was 30 when I went back to school.
It wasn't late for me.
How old are you?
You're older than my mother.
You see?
It's never too late.
A small jug of milk and three eggs.
You're carrying high.
You'll have a girl.
Do you think so?
You won't believe
how much Shivaz has changed.
It's amazing.
Hasn't Shivaz gotten so big?
Kids grow up fast, right?
I have to go.
I'll be back tonight.
Have you seen Roya lately?
I spit on her.
-You will shine pure.
Even if that bitch tries
to drag you into dirt, she can't.
You're beautiful. You're pure.
Won't you come to bed?
I have to go.
I have a patient.
I promise, one day we will dance together.
I'm sorry. I promise to be stronger.
I'll make myself stronger.
Sweetie, don't be afraid.
I'll be back for you.
I can't stay here anymore.
Please take care of my son.
Be careful, it's a dangerous journey.
We can't turn back.
Hold on a little longer.
Help me, my baby's coming.
The baby is stuck.
Your hips are narrow.
I need you to push hard.
I need your help. Okay?
Push harder.
Push harder.
It's a girl.
Let me see her.
I'm sorry, she didn't survive.
My sweet, beautiful girl.
Arezoo. My love, your name will be Arezoo.
Shireen, darling, enough.
Give her to me.
Mahdis, take her for burial.
Our daughter had beautiful black hair.
I'm so sorry.
Forgive me.
Why should I?
For your son.
For Shivaz.
I'll take you someplace far from here.
Far from gossip.
We'll go to America.
But I need your help.
His name is Vahid.
Roya died in childbirth.
Never mention her name in my presence.
Do you understand?
Vahid needs a mother.
He won't take formula.
Have you no shame, to ask me this?
That's my daughter's milk.
This child is innocent.
He's suffering, have mercy.
I always wanted a daughter to talk to.
One day, many years from this day,
I would give birth to her.
But when she grew up,
something strange happened.
I couldn't talk anymore.
When we were together, I was silent.
I needed to be silent.
Silence was my strength.
It was me keeping control of my story.
A way of dealing with the sadness
and not being touched by it.
I inherited that from my mother.
The strength of silence.
Pain can't touch you
if you don't talk about it.
I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I'm late.
Oh, great. The sperm donor's here.
We can start now.
I'm Max.
I'm not the sperm donor. We're dating.
Well, we're not dating, we're--
It's complicated, so...
-Can we begin? Lay down, please.
-Yeah. Yeah. Yes, of course.
-Can I help you?
-Haven't you caused enough problems?
Yeah. Okay.
The head size is normal.
Ten-digit limbs and feet are normal.
Most importantly is heart.
Heart is looking normal.
Wow, this is totally amazing.
I was thinking, what if we kept dating?
Were we dating?
I thought we just fucked once.
That's the most awkward thing, right?
Now the sexual tension's out of the way,
we can go on a date
and find out if we like each other.
Know what I mean?
It's worth a try, right?
-Do you like dumplings?
-I mean, who doesn't like dumplings?
I like dumplings.
I-- Yeah. I mean...
Oh, my God, that's amazing.
I'm kind of a big deal
on the dumpling scene.
It's kind of embarrassing,
but I'm the dumpling king.
The dumpling king?
Yeah. Yeah, the dumpling king.
or they named you the dumpling king?
No. There's a guy, plays a trumpet for me
every time I come in the shop.
-Yeah. We get everything for free.
-I really believe that.
-It's the truth.
No, you can't have sushi. Sorry.
Leila, it's--
I've read a thing. It's World Health Or--
Japanese people eat sushi when pregnant.
You know, it's not--
I'm not making it up. I kind of--
-I've read something--
-Know what you should do?
You should call the Japanese government
and tell them
about these serious allegations
that you're claiming
against pregnant women.
Okay. Fine, fine, fine. Whatever. Fine.
Do what you're gonna do.
-Way to go. It's okay. Just give it to me.
-You kidding me?
-Okay. Seriously?
-Yeah, yeah. All right. Okay.
If you really want the best piece,
you wanna try this.
How good is that?
His hair, it is darker than in years.
He's getting twice the amount
of oxygen he had than before.
In ancient Persia,
cats whose hair turned dark at night
have magical powers.
Is she saying I became a cat?
He's clear for the wedding tomorrow, huh?
Unfortunately, his magic hasn't
helped his immune system.
Leila isn't coming?
She's running some errands for me.
She'll come by later.
Congratulations on your wedding.
You look good, Vahid.
I'm better, Dad.
Get going to the bachelor party.
Bachelor party.
-And for you. Come, come, come.
-Back soon.
Ladies' night at the spa.
Shireen, darling, thank you.
It was a good thing.
He found someone who would love him.
Will you forgive me?
This is not a time for that.
I love you.
You've become so sentimental,
like the Americans.
I have a lot of work.
Tomorrow is the wedding. See you later.
Just hold on. Stand still. It's easy.
-You just pop it, just like this.
-No, I know.
I do-- I like it. Thanks.
Seriously? I said stop. Put it down.
Put it down. Give me your cuff link.
Too bad Mamanjoon had to go back to Iran.
I'm gonna be busting some serious shapes
in honor of Mamanjoon.
The ugly guy's here.
Who's the ugly guy?
Mr. Ugly is here.
-You guys love the teeth.
-Oh, yeah.
-Oh, yeah.
-It's a corsage for the wedding.
How retro.
-Oh, nice.
-You like it?
-Love it.
You look beautiful.
Thank you.
I was thinking I could come by
after the show? I mean, if that's okay.
Yeah. How many Jamshidpours
can you stand at once?
Yeah, we'll see.
No, it will be a good opportunity
to find out.
Socially awkward actor dives
into the deep end.
Yeah. This one?
I'm gonna go.
Oh, how do you say "goodbye" in Persian?
We mostly all were born in America,
so we all speak English.
Yeah, right. I-- Yeah, I know, but just...
I don't know,
I wanna get into the culture.
-Shut up.
-Shut up?
Shut up.
Shut up.
-Shut up.
-Shut up.
-Shut up.
-Shut up.
-Why did you do that?
-What's wrong with you?
-What's this?
-Don't tell him. Don't tell him.
The corsage, is it fake?
It's probably fake.
-Open it.
-Open it up.
-Right out of Walmart.
-Look at that.
That's cute.
-He tried.
-It looks kind of dead, right?
Vahid, I'm proud of you.
Thanks for everything you did for me, Mom.
See you in a minute.
No one came to my wedding with Elena.
No one even told me
you broke up with Elena. You know?
Did you even have a wedding?
I thought you registered at city hall
to get health insurance.
-You're missing the point.
-Do you even believe in marriage?
I have a lot of issues.
Maybe it's time to deal with some of them.
Yeah, for real.
I'm trying.
Maybe it's also time
to let go of some of that anger.
And if not for your own sake,
then at least for your bambina.
-Just saying.
-Yeah, thanks for the advice.
What is a bambina?
Must have been hard to raise Vahid.
I love my kids all the same.
Yeah, but he was different, wasn't he?
You and him are not that different.
You both just had bad friends.
Yeah, we're so similar.
My friends forced me
to get two master's degrees
while Vahid was living in a crack house.
Hey, Lulu-lollipop, I know you can dance.
Come on. Come on.
Go 50 more times.
I just snuck out of my brother's wedding.
I think I'm in labor.
Have you seen Leila?
I don't know. Paging Lulu-lollipop.
I can't see her, Mom. I'm sorry.
-Have you seen your sister?
Have you seen Leila?
No. No.
Have you seen Leila?
-No one came in with her?
-No, I don't think so.
Is there a next of kin?
There, her mother.
-Okay, let's call her mother.
-Okay. Yes.
No. Hello-- I'm sorry, I can't hear.
Taxi. Taxi!
Tax-- Tax--
Taxi! Taxi! Please, please!
Taxi! Please, please, my dau-- Taxi, I--
Imam Zaman, help.
Cornell Hospital, please.
Imam Zaman truly shows up
in the most unexpected forms.
Oh, my God.
Rostam, Rostam...
Okay, I see the crown.
She's got beautiful black hair. Okay?
All right, come on, let's push.
-Push, honey, come on.
Okay, Leila, listen to me.
You gotta push. Deep breaths, okay?
Oh, shit.
Listen to me,
you gotta channel your anger, okay?
-You gotta push it out.
-I'm not angry. I'm not angry.
Do I look angry?
You look a little angry.
That's okay, that's okay.
Deep breath, push.
I can't.
Mom. Mom.
I am here.
I am here, honey. I'm here.
I am here.
the baby's stuck in the canal, okay?
Your hips are too narrow.
I need you to push, please.
Leila. Listen to me.
I need you to scream as loud as you can
so you can push.
-Please push. I know that--
-Is the baby gonna die?
I need you to concentrate, okay?
Looking for Leila Jamshidpour.
She's in labor. Which room is she in?
-Is any one of you the father?
-I'm the father.
-Oh, Lord.
-Room 345.
-Three forty-five.
-Room 345!
Push, Leila. Push.
You're both in danger.
I need you to concentrate.
Scream as loud as you can so you can push.
You can do it. Come on, honey.
Come on. You can do it.
-Push, honey.
-Come on.
-You can do it.
-Go, Leila!
-Go! Go, Leila, you got this!
-Go, Leila!
Come on, Leila, you got this. Come on.
-You're so amazing.
-Go, Leila. Go, Leila.
Oh, my God, this is amazing.
That's amazing.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
-Oh, you have a beautiful baby girl.
Dad, do you wanna cut the cord?
Here you go. Just like in the movies.
-Just like this?
Baby girl.
Hi, beautiful. I'm your mommy.
Here you go. Here you go.
You're a mom.
You're all uncles.
And I am a grandmother.
All right, the show's over,
gentlemen and her lady.
Thank you.
-Thank you.
-Okay. Okay.
-I'm medically trained. You need me to--?
-All right, thank you. Bye.
-Okay. All right.
-I'll be-- Leila.
-Let me-- I'll be--
-I'll just be-- I'll be just outside.
-Great job, Lulu-lollipop.
Shut up. Shut up.
Good job, Leila.
Let me get her clean.
This is not how it happens in the movies.
It is okay, honey. It's very natural.
Honey, what did you eat?
So we doing the birth certificate today.
I already have Hedwig's information,
so we just need a name.
What shall we call her?
Her name is Arezoo.
Arezoo. Oh, what a beautiful name.
Why did you choose that name?
I don't know.
She's just Arezoo.
Would you like to hold her?
I am sorry.
I love you.
Don't be so American.
I love you.
My love.