May 11, 2018

Disobedience is in select theaters on May 11th, 2018.

“Disobedience” is a tense, frustrating masterpiece of subtleties based on the novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman. Sebasti├ín Lelio takes a predictable story and offers viewers a far more complex journey in this orthodox forbidden love story.

Ronit (Rachel Weisz), a daughter of a beloved orthodox rabbi turned city photographer, returns to bury her father and hopefully all of her guilt with him. She is not exactly met with open arms when she steps back in time with modern attire but all the same old baggage. She serves as a walking and (false confidently) talking middle finger to her father’s legacy in the eyes of the British orthodox community. A small breath of comfort dilutes the tension in the presence of Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), a childhood friend that is a favorite to follow the late Rabbi. He offers warmth the best he can to Ronit in the form of shielding the wind from a light of a cigarette despite so much more hanging above them in their reunion. His warmth is extended when he invites Ronit to stay at his house with his wife for her stay. Ronit smirks into black coffee while making mocking remarks toward Dovid’s mystery wig-wearing wife. Her amusement is shattered in the face of Esti (Rachel McAdams), her past lover and Dovid’s wife.

The storytelling was just as strangled as the filming, but as blah as one would describe the script or the set, everything I needed to know was in the eyes. Weisz carried the responsibility of portraying a tragic, joyless “freedom” while McAdams was challenged with the task of longing from one world to the next. Both twisted my guts and had me questioning what personal freedom even was as well as send flutters up my spine in private shows of affection.

The sexuality shown was incredibly raw and unique compared to other works in its class. McAdams absolutely stole the show even though she was made down to very neutral, muted beauty. She allowed Esti to feel free and strong for moments at a time while keeping restrained to the world her character is bound to nevertheless.

My biggest qualm with the entire experience is that the promoted trailer showed far too much to convince other possible moviegoers that they should still watch the movie. I would gladly sit through some slow pacing to see the raw emotion that this movie has again, but for others, the trailer is the biggest turn off because it sums up almost everything into a too neat little package. Plenty will still go to the theater for the sex scenes, but those curious about the story and the acting capabilities of Weisz and McAdams can get more than enough of a taste from the over two minute long trailer.

Finals thoughts. Buckle up and ride out the first 45 minutes of necessary, slow pacing. It’s worth getting to know the characters before you can indulge in the risks this film takes.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Marisa Marisa (Contributor) is a Maryland native who currently works in New York City. She is an avid Auburn Tigers fan and enjoys traveling around the world. Her hobbies include movies, going to just about any type of sporting event, live music, and playing with her husky and pug.
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