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Movie Review

The Stoning of Soraya M.

MPAA Rating: R for a disturbing sequence of cruel and brutal violence, and brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Stephanie Mott
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
1 hr. 56 min.
Year of Release:
2009
USA Release:
June 26, 2009
DVD: March 9, 2010
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Roadside Attractions

Stoning in the Bible

Sin

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Justice

The final judgment of God

Persia (Iran)

Featuring: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mozhan Marnò (Soraya M.), James Caviezel, Navid Negahban, Ali Pourtash, David Diaan, Parviz Sayyad, Vida Ghahremani, Vachik Mangassarian, Maggie Parto, Prasanna Puwanarajah, Bita Sheibani, Yousef Shweihat
Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh
Producer: Fallen Films, Mpower Pictures, Todd Burns, Lisa Maria Falcone, Diane Hendricks, Stephen A. Marinaccio II, Stephen McEveety, Thomas J. Papa, John Shepherd
Distributor: Roadside Attractions

“When a deadly conspiracy became a shameful cover-up, one witness refused to be silent.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Stranded in a remote Iranian village, a French journalist is approached by Zahra, a woman who has a harrowing tale to tell about her niece, Soraya, and the bloody circumstances of her death the day before…

As the journalist turns on his tape recorder, Zahra takes us back to the beginning of her story which involves Soraya’s husband, the local phony mullah, and a town all too easily led down a path of deceit, coercion, and hysteria. The women, stripped of all rights and without recourse, nobly confront the overwhelming desires of corrupt men who use and abuse their authority to condemn Soraya, an innocent but inconvenient wife, to an unjust and torturous death.

A shocking and true drama, it exposes the dark power of mob rule, uncivil law, and the utter lack of human rights for women. The last and only hope for some measure of justice lies in the hands of the journalist who must escape with the story—and his life—so the world will know.”

“The Stoning of Soraya M.” will be the most remembered film of the year. It is a riveting and heart gripping true story that will blow your mind. It brings to light the unthinkable injustice happening all over the world and reminds us of the daily abuse happening in everyday homes.

Because of the graphic nature of the film and rating, it is my advice to refrain from taking children to see this film. However, I do believe it is a must see. It is an inspiring film that will change your life. Check out the trailer and further information at www.thestoning.com.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—“The Stoning of Soraya M.” is at heart a true testament to a woman who remains faithful to what she believes in despite death looming in front of her. Even though her innocence is not enough to save her from the evil men in her village, we the audience know that God is with her in her last hour. She maintains her dignity and sacrifices herself just as Christ maintained his dignity and sacrificed himself for a greater cause.

This film is brutal and violent which prevents children from seeing this film, but the violence in the film is actually much less than the brutality of a real stoning in Iran. Steve McEveety, as stated in an interview, held back in an effort to maintain his audience’s eyes, yet still needed to show brutality to portray a true account of a stoning. When you look past the brutality, you see the true message of the film. You see your role in changing injustice by standing against the oppression of women and standing up for human dignity.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jenny, age 29 (USA)
Positive—The reviewer misses the point. This isn’t just about “cruelty in our world” or injustice, it’s about the ever present and obvious threat of Islam. It’s a film that turns the liberal “Muslims just want to be left alone” bias on its head. The review was cut short and didn’t thoroughly explain beyond the surface. This isn’t just about a stoning. It’s not just about someone being persecuted or murdered. It’s about what we as Christians and Americans are facing in our world, and more importantly, what the world will become should we do nothing. On the surface, it’s a tale of injustice. Below the surface, it’s a glimpse of what we could be seeing in our country sooner than you might think. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”—Edmund Burke.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ethan Samuel Rodgers, age 20 (USA)
Positive—I didn’t know how else to respond to the previous comment other than this way. That is an excellent quote and very true. I agree that something needs to be done about this. However, I am worried when you say that the threat is Islam. Arabic Islam is drastically different from Islam in almost any other part of the world. I spent 2 years living in a city full of Muslims and they would kick out any radical religion, even radical muslims because they really were peaceful people. When Jesus was here, I don’t remember (and I admit, I don’t know the Bible as well as I wish) Him naming a religion and speaking against it or saying that it was wrong, though there were plenty that were wrong. I remember him looking into and speaking into people’s lives. He did speak against wrong ideas of God, and he was not afraid to be blunt with people who were in the wrong. But those men, the radical Muslims, do not represent Islam any more than the men who were a part of the Crusades who claimed they represented Christ. Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and was angered by what the Pharisees were doing. That didn’t mean that all Jews were gone astray. Jesus was a Jew.

I do not think that the religion of Islam is correct; and I do not think that it follows Christ in the way we are supposed to. But, I KNOW that God has a special place in his heart for Muslims and that he so strongly desires for them to know who he really is, and not the false picture that is painted of him in their religion. That being said, I don’t want to argue on that, cause I’m sure there are many holes in what I just said.

I don’t want to get distracted from the purpose (cause I think Satan tries to send us off on little rabbit trails so that we miss the bigger picture). Basically, I think that if we limit what this movie is trying to say to the problem being Islam, we are minimizing what the problem is and we missing the point altogether. I think the point this movie is trying to make is, you think the world is free? You think slavery is over and ended with William Wilberforce? What he did was amazing and made a huge difference, but there is a different kind of slavery that is occurring right now and today. I recently heard that the number of people in involuntary servitude today is greater than the number of people in slavery during the time of William Wilberforce. Everything is not okay in this world, and oppression is something that pains God’s heart so much that he mentions it over and over in the Bible.

So we need to do something about it. I have no idea what my role is in all of this yet, but I CANNOT sit on my butt and only ponder the theologies of Christianity or other religions (though theology is necessary to ponder and very important to have clear understanding on). Jesus had a firm understanding and spent years studying the Bible. But then he acted. I want to “do the stuff,” according to John Wimber and do what I see Jesus did. My main goal is look at what Jesus did, see what God is doing now and where He is moving, give up everything I want for myself, and join in what God is doing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Leah, age 23 (USA)
Negative

none

Movie Critics
…THE STONING OF SORAYA M. is a powerful, passionate dramatization of a true story about a Muslim woman whose husband disposes of her. This movie provides dramatic insight into the evils of radical Islam. Though not a movie for children, it is a movie every adult should see. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…The desperation and despair it delivers are fiercely palpable. So much so that the only response one can muster after seeing it is regret, rage and a resolve to try to make the world a better place for everyone, not just yourself. …
—Meredith Whitmore, PluggedIn