Just finished watching Winter Sleep, and am wondering if maybe I missed something. In the Wikipedia article on the film, it states:
It turns out that most people have at least one very good reason to dislike Aydin
However that doesn't quite match up with my impression of the film. I got that Aydin isn't a perfect character (nor is anyone else in the film, really). But as I understood it, he was shown to be at least partially right in most cases. For instance:
The tenant who's behind on his rent is revealed to be a wife-beater who stabbed a guy, only got sentenced to 6 months in jail for stabbing a guy, and then turned into a drunk after getting out of jail. And he hits his kid. If it's unethical for a landlord to evict that sort of tenant when they don't pay their rent, who can a landlord evict?
When Aydin's wife decides to act upon her pent-up altruism by walking into Ismail's house and splashing some cash around like she expects to get a hero's welcome for it, he proves Aydin's criticisms about her being too trusting and out of touch with reality by burning the cash in front of her. And (though I'm unfamiliar with Turkish law) it seems like there's a good chance that he was correct about needing to do proper bookkeeping if you're going to run a charity.
Aydin's sister just seems like she's upset that nobody agrees with her, and unwilling to acknowledge that her ideas about not resisting evil and her plan to go back to a guy who clearly hurt her immensely might actually be as silly as everybody else points out. And she dishes out just as much sarcasm and cutting criticism as she receives. With both Aydin and his wife. So it's not like she's a terribly sympathetic character either.
The parting quote given by the teacher that Aydin expressed distrust for is essentially "might makes right". And it seems like he's revealed to be at least a bit of a womanizer, which supports Aydin's initial reservations about him.
I can see why all of those people would dislike Aydin. But I also don't consider any of their reasons to be "very good". They're mostly selfish, in the form of "my life would be easier if I could just do whatever I feel like and received validation for doing so, so Aydin is a jerk for not giving me that validation".
So my question is, was it really the intent of the director (or the story, in general) to have Aydin come off as the bad guy? What I got from it was much more shades-of-gray. Aydin isn't perfect, but he's not markedly worse than any other character in the film, either.