By Liselotte Vanophem
Is there a stronger, devoted, affectioned and unexplainable connection than loving someone else? I don’t think so. Some of us might think that that someone is literally God. But what if your God doesn’t approve of the ones you really love? Well, director Sebastián Lelio (“A Fantastic Woman”, “Gloria”) has the perfect answer to that question.
In his Disobedience, two leading ladies are exploring the very fine boundaries between love and faith and are showing us that what you believe in is the thing you need to go for in life. No matter what others tell you.
Coming from an Orthodox Jewish background, Ronit Krushka, Rachel Weisz (“Youth“, “The Lobster“) is grieving the death of her beloved father and Rabbi, Krushka, Anton Lesser (“Endeavour (TV)”, “The Crown (TV)”). Despite the fact they were estranged from each other due to Ronit’s departure from London to New York, she decides to return to pay respects to her father.
While attending the mourning session at her friends Dovid Kuperman’s, Alessandro Nivola (“American Hustle”, “Face/Off”), house, it becomes clear she doesn’t belong there anymore as her alcohol and cigarette use is against everything the Orthodox Jewish religion stands for.
Despite being immensely shaken up because of the secret marriage, Ronit is still trying to honour her father in the best way possible. While doing so, she and Esti grow closer together. Admitting that her marriage with Dovid is only based on their belief and not on love, Esti is putting her feelings for Ronit out there. Feelings that are mutual it seems.
Both women are discovering their boundaries but also the ones of faith and love and sadly not everyone is happy with that. It even puts Esti’s job and marriage at risk. Will she fight for what she believes in? Or will she stick to believing in what others want her to believe in? What about Roni? Will her community forgive her for not being there for her father when he needed the most? Or will she abandon her own happiness?
Believing in what you want or believing in what people tell you. That’s exactly what this movie, and also the Naomi Alderman novel, on which this film is based on, is about.
While we’re living in the 21st Century where everything should be possible and were love, passion and joy should transcend religion, it’s not as common as it should be. With this movie, Lelio is standing up for the enjoyment of life and at the same, it’s also a “fuck you” to religion that can destroy everything good in the world.
Nothing against religion or people believing it but if God can bring you happiness, then why can’t he bring it to people from the same gender? Then why forbid people to love, treasure and cherish each other? A message that needs to be heard, especially in this age and no better way than delivering it via a visually stunning movie like this.
A film with such a powerful message is nothing without its leading characters. With Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, Disobedience found the perfect ladies it deserves. Weisz is extremely captivating as the rebellious but honest, sincere, caring and loving Runit. Someone who’s certainly not afraid to say what she thinks and go for what she wants. Even when this could mean being expelled from the people she loves.
As her separated and confused lover, we see Rachel McAdams, who shines as Esti, the young woman who’s trapped in a marriage she wants to fight her way out to find her own, and only her own, happiness. Something some of us should do because we all deserve that moment of bliss.
The unrecognizable Alessandro Nivola portrays the strict, stern and harsh Rabbi who clearly thinks that a woman belongs to a man to fulfil his needs and give him a son, without putting herself first.
With this incredibly emotional and moving film, Letio makes his English language film debut and it couldn’t have been any better. Not a typical love story, but one with a dark and religious side to it. It doesn’t become to cliché during any point of the film and when the fast pace is fading out the film, passion and love are conquering the big screens all over the world. First the big screens and then the world. Even if you’re not into love stories, this is a film you need to make an exception for.
Originally published at www.ocmoviereviews.com on November 30, 2018.