Thursday, May 24, 2018

[Review] Disobedience

Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams star in Disobedience, a steamy forbidden romance drama from director Sebastián Lelio.

After a death in the family, an artsy photographer named Ronit (Weisz) returns to her hometown -- a strict Orthodox Jewish community that ostracized her many years ago due to her romance with a female friend. That female friend is Esti (McAdams), who still resides in the village and is now married. But once Ronit and Esti reunite, their passion reignites under intense secrecy and scrutiny.

It's a story that's rife with conflict and defiance, especially as the topics of tradition, norms, institutions, gender roles, family constructs, religion, and sexuality arise. Let's just say there are a couple of awkward dinner table clashes. The film also simmers with tension, chemistry, and unrequited love (there's a really well-placed music moment featuring "Lovesong" by The Cure), especially as feelings between Ronit and Esti come to the surface and things get hot and heavy. And unsurprisingly, things get extra risky when the locals begin to catch wind of it. This aspect also adds a major sense of intrigue as thrill, as we become invested in seeing how this will all transpire.

Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdam both match each other with terrific performances. Broodingly serious, yet heartfelt. Moody, yet understated. They express so much just through eye glances and body language.

Toward its dragging end, things slow down quite a bit and the film loses a lot of its steam, as if someone turned the temperature down on a teakettle before the whistle. Still, with all its emotional turmoil, gloomy colors, and hefty complexities, this is a fifty shades of grey that rings with substance.

( 7/10 )

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