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The Stoning of Soraya M.

Just because a story is true doesn’t mean it’s going to translate into an effective movie, but that fact makes all the difference in the case of The Stoning of Soraya M. The movie flirts with melodrama, perhaps too much for some people’s taste, but knowing that its foundation is a shocking…

real-life story keeps it from tipping overboard. That, and the committed performances by Shohreh Aghdashloo and a mostly Iranian-American cast, help create a riveting drama that addresses the shameful treatment of women that still pervades many cultures and religions. Yet Soraya M. isn’t a tract: it’s a story that French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam stumbled onto some years ago and eventually chronicled in an explosive book. Director Cyrus Nowrasteh and his wife Betsy Giffen Nowraseth have adapted it into a powerful screenplay, which leads up to the inevitable stoning—a sequence that’s almost unbearable to watch yet impossible to turn away from.

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