“Disobedience” Film: Desire Faces Oppression

Ultimately, this is a gently humane portrait of an enduring problem facing men and women in all manner of fundamentalist communities: the notion that choice has anything to do with who we desire. Sara Stewart, New York Post, reviewing Disobedience

An award-winning book (2006) of the same title written by Naomi Alderman, the new film Disobedience is about Ronit (Rachel Weisz), who returns to her estranged family in London following the death of her father, an Orthodox rabbi. It turns out an old male friend is now married to Esti (Rachel McAdams), with whom Ronit had had an adolescent love affair.

The trailer:

Selected Reviews

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, advises viewers to “try not to think about where you already know it’s going and appreciate how it builds, and how it’s about a lot more than sex. At its most intense and powerful, ‘Disobedience’ is about courage and claiming one’s life…”

Stephanie Zacharek, Time: “Cuts deeper than your standard forbidden-love story, largely because the actors are so attuned to their characters’ anguish.”

Sheila O’Malley, rogerebert.com: “…(T)he scenes between Weisz and McAdams are fascinating, each actress listening closely to the other, paying attention to every nuance. It doesn’t reach the scope of Grand Tragic Romance, but then, it isn’t meant to. These were two women whose normal adolescent crush was banned. In a way, time stopped for the both of them.”

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: “‘May you live a long life,’ are the words exchanged frequently in this insular community. But for Esti and Ronit, it’s ultimately the question of how you live a life that gives the film its soulful resonance. Their scenes together achieve a stabbing pathos that never crosses into sentimentality or sham.”

Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times: “…shows a generosity of spirit toward its three central characters; as with all good movies, it ends with you wondering what happens to the characters afterward.”

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