The Patience Stone is set on the front line, in a family home. And that is very much where its central character (an unnamed woman) has found herself for the last decade of her marriage. For her absent husband has barely spent a third of their time together actually living with her, and has been an alienating presence even when he has.
Yet his current situation - shot in the neck and alive but unresponsive - has created a new dynamic in their relationship. He's still there but not really, presumably as he ever was, but now our woman (played by Goldshifteh Farahani) in the face of guaranteed silence finds the courage to do the one thing she's never dared: talk. In relieving herself of her burdons she treats her husband as a "patience stone", a mythical object that delivers someone from their suffering after hearing their secrets.
Farahani's voice is a calm, beautiful and beguiling one, and there are worse ways of spending a hundred minutes than listening to her gently unravel. When the more demanding aspects of the part kick in she shows herself to be more than capable and does very well with an unusually demanding role.
Screen presence is key here, and if nothing else she has that in abundance. She may be pushed a tad too frenzied on occasion, and some of the plotting does feel a touch obvious and forced, far removed from the delicate nature of her performance. The Patience Stone is a compelling, depressing gust of air to the face that is both refreshing and bitter, in equal amounts, but ultimately is worth it for her alone.