I will never forget the first time I saw Taraneh Alidoosti in a film. In I am Taraneh, I am Fifteen Years Old, Taraneh played a beautiful teenage girl with thick bushy eyebrows and dark brown eyes, which are often moist with tears because of the many problems she faces from an early age. This is just one of the heroic characters that Alidoosti has played throughout the years, so it is not surprising that she has achieved superstar status in Iran. Many viewers have been inspired by the characters she has played. And I have too. I think of the courage and diligence of Taraneh in I am Taraneh, I am Fifteen Years Old, of the self-sacrifice of Eli in About Eli, and of Raana’s capacity for forgiveness in The Salesperson.
In I am Taraneh, I am Fifteen Years Old, Taraneh plays a girl who lost her mother when she was a child and is separated from her father, who is in jail. Eventually, she marries a rich boy, but once she is pregnant, her husband leaves her. Because hers is a temporary marriage, Taraneh cannot force her newborn’s father to write his name on the birth certificate in order to prove the child is legitimate. Even though she is only fifteen, Taraneh courageously undertakes to raise her child by herself.
Alidoosti plays another admirable character in the film About Eli, which is about several families who decide to take a holiday by the sea in the north of Iran. The major character, Eli, is an attractive young girl with a round face and straight eyebrows that frame her large brown eyes. One day, as Eli watches the children as they play by the beach, one of the children swims out too far into the water. The child calls for help and is about to drown when, at the last minute, she is saved, though we do not know how. At the end of the film, the audience becomes aware that it is Eli who saves the child. We learn, too that Eli has drowned in the process; she has sacrificed her own life for the life of the child in her care.
Another of my favorite films starring Taraneh Adoosti is The Salesperson. Here, she plays character named Raana, a young woman with shiny jet black hair and skin as white as snow. Raana and her husband, Emad, are actors. At one point in the film, the couple moves to a new apartment, which, unbeknownst to them, was previously the home of a prostitute. One night, when Emad is out, an old man who was once a customer of the prostitute arrives at the door. When the bell rings, Raana opens the door, thinking it is Emad. But it turns out to be an old man who violates her. It takes great courage for Raana to seek justice and forgive the man, but she is able to do so.
Without doubt, Taraneh Alidoosti is a positive role model who plays characters who embody many of virtues I would like to possess. I always strive to be as courageous as Taraneh, as selfless and brave as Eli, and as strong and forgiving as Raana. I have learned a great deal from the characters played by Alidoosti about how to respond to difficult, even life-threatening situations. Everyone has someone who shows them how to become a better person — maybe even a truly great one. For me, Taraneh Adoosti is not only a role model, but my hero. Through watching her masterful and moving performances, I have understood more and more about how I myself can live heroically.