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Disobedience Movie Review

Disobedience Movie Review
The Power of the Rachels Carries 'Disobedience'
There are moments throughout "Disobedience" that you might be tempted to look at your watch or sigh heavily with impatience. Clocking in just under two hours, the movie takes its time, risking the chance of wearing you down with its languid pacing. Don't let it. Stay with it and let the film reward you.

Sebastián Lelio - who directed the Oscar-winning "A Fantastic Woman" and the wonderful "Gloria"  - makes his English-language debut, adapting from the novel by Naomi Alderman. The film takes place in London, centering on an Orthodox Jewish community that has recently lost its revered Rabbi. He was the estranged father of Ronit Krushka (Rachel Weisz), who travels back to her home to say goodbye to her father and reckon with the fact she didn't even know he was sick. Ronit is a photographer in New York City, who has seemingly been long removed from this facet of her life.

Once Ronit lands in London she winds up at Dovid's (Alessandro Nivola) front door, much to his surprise. The two are old friends who appear to have not spoken in some time and there is a bit of awkwardness as they exchange catch-up pleasantries. The biggest shock for Ronit is finding out Dovid married their mutual friend Esti (Rachel McAdams) a few years prior.

If you've paid attention to the film's marketing, or even glanced at the poster featured in this article, you can see that there is much more going on throughout "Disobedience" than what initially meets the eye. Ronit and Esti have a shared history and as Ronit re-enters the picture, feelings and desires that have been long-buried resurface. Discovering the nuances of the relationship is what gives "Disobedience" its pulse.

Weisz is radiant as the film's great disruptor, relishing in her character's great moments of upending the tranquility of the Orthodox community. This was a life she thought she had left behind but the movie explores the idea maybe you never really do. In quite possibly her best work, McAdams navigates the trickier role of Esti with finesse. She is torn between her personal desires and her responsibility to her husband and religion, and the movie puts her at the forefront of that blurred line. It's a rich and dramatically rewarding role for the actress.

Lelio is in no hurry to reveal the intricacies of the plot and, at times, the mind may wander. Even so, it's almost necessary for "Disobedience" to be so deliberately paced because once Ronit arrives back home, each scene is fraught with subtle tension and discomfort. It translates to the experience of witnessing Ronit and Esti's journey, which seems to be on the same path but couldn't be any more different.


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