Film Review: The Stoning of Soraya M

The Stoning of Soraya M
Directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh
MPower Pictures

Click Here to see the trailer on PShiftTV

The Stoning of Soraya M. is a shocking and heartbreaking story of female oppression. The film, adapted from the 1994 book by the late Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, is based on a true story. Sahebjam learned the story of Soraya M., and started writing just six months after her death.

The film sets a dismal tone from the very beginning as viewers learn about the violent and humiliating marriage in which Soraya is trapped. Soraya stays with her abusive husband because she lacks the financial resources to raise her daughters without him. When Soraya’s husband fails to force her into a divorce that would free him to marry a fourteen-year-old girl, he begins plotting with other men in the village to falsely accuse her of adultery and then have her stoned.

Viewers will remember the stoning scene for a long time. The stoning begins slowly but accelerates with violent language directed at Soraya. Many viewers may have a hard time watching the stoning in its entirety, due to the knowledge of Soraya’s complete innocence combined with the brutal manner in which she is treated, even by her own father. However, viewers need to be cognitive of their own privilege in being able to cover their faces and turn away from the violence. Soraya, her hands bound behind her back, had no such luxury, nor do the countless other victims of this type of violence.

Theatergoers may beste online casino be disturbed mobile casino to know that the filmmakers drastically modified the stoning scene from the original version in the book to make it viewable by the comThe best thing about this is you can eat basically ANY vegetable and fruit you desire! So you never feel limited or bored. general public. The stoning is in fact portrayed technically “incorrect;” in reality, the custom is to bury a man to his waist for stoning, a woman to her shoulders. The film portrays Soraya as being buried to her waist.

Anger was my strongest playershad emotion after watching the film. I was angry at the male characters in the film and angry because Soraya was a real woman. I was angry on behalf of other women who are also forced to witness and suffer the same brutality.

While the film is heartbreaking, it does not end without a message of hope. Soraya’s aunt Zahra exclaims that “the world will know” what has been done to her niece, and her hope and desire to tell Soraya’s story is touching. The emotional climax has been building so much by this point that what may otherwise seem clichéd can instead prompts the audience to celebrate the victory along with her—for Zahra has successfully told her story to a journalist from outside the community. The book and the film would not otherwise exist.

Although the film is tragic and ends with only a sliver of hope, people who have viewed the film have already begun to take efforts to ensure that Soraya’s death is not in vain. Stay tuned this summer as activists all over the country use this film to speak out against other similar abuses taking place daily all over the world.  To learn more visit

One comment

  1. […] of you have by now seen The Stoning of Soraya M, featured last month at Paradigm Shift. The film continues to expand to more theaters and continues to create much buzz and the Iranian […]

Email Newsletters with Constant Contact