M S Krishna Prateek’s review published on Letterboxd:
Easily the most beautiful film I've watched in recent times with beauty not arising from cinematography or editing or professional acting or philosophical story or complex plot or any technical stuff, but just from the simplicity through which an 8-year-old tries to perceive the complex world around him where few adults act as children more than children themselves!
The film's opening page is that of a teacher scolding a student Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh (Ahmad Ahmadpour) for not doing homework in the notebook as ordered because by doing so, the teacher believes they will learn to be orderly about everything and disciplined. After returning home, Ahmad (Babek Ahmadpour) realizes that he took his friend's notebook by mistake and has to decide the path on which he needs to go, i.e., sitting at home for doing homework as per the orders of his strict mother or to run for returning the notebook to save his friend's expulsion from the class at the hands of his teacher for not doing the homework in a notebook. In what is one of the best pages of this film with a moral dilemma as its heading, we have Ahmad's eyes constantly blinking and lingering over both the aforementioned paths as he contemplates silently and as you might have guessed from the title already by now, he chose to go in the second path. Unlike the straight first path of sitting at home, doing his homework and receiving accolades the next day from his teacher, the second path is all zig-zag literally (as seen in the poster here) as well as metaphorically and we keep following his run time to time from well-composed frames through alleys and doorways.
Ahmad knows his friend's last name is Nematzadeh but there are a lot of Nematzadehs there, he knows his friend's house is near a dried-up tree but there are a lot of trees there, he knows his friend lives in Poshteh but everything is called Poshteh there as he doesn't know in which neighbourhood his friend stays and likewise he knows many things but there is a lot of unknown. With the going getting tough all through, all doors seem to be closed but if you look carefully, there's always a door open and thus comes a man who made doors for houses all his life to Ahmad's rescue, but did he lead the boy to the door of the house in search of?
A heartwarming masterpiece in the pages of cinema history that helped Kiarostami to make the frontpage internationally in filmmaking and I can't put the praise better than "Good Work"!