Movie Review: Disobedience

Back in New York in May, I was lucky to watch Disobedience. A movie that would probably won’t be shown in the Philippines where I currently live. It’s a story about forbidden love in an Orthodox Jewish community which gives us a glimpse of their lifestyle.

Synopsis:

Disobedience is a movie adapted from the Naomi Alderman’s novel. The movie starts as the Rabbi Rav Krushka (Anton Lesser) gives a sermon about Free will. He tells the story about angels, beasts, Adam and Eve, that humans are free to choose. While giving out his sermon, he felt uneasy, dropped to the floor and died.  The rabbi was an important figure in the London Orthodox Jewish community and Ronit (Rachel Weisz) was his daughter. She left years ago and pursued a career as a photographer in New York.

Ronit returns home upon hearing the news of her father’s passing. She wasn’t welcomed at first as they weren’t expecting her return. She meets her relatives and her childhood friends and looks into the unchanged community with curiosity and concern. A normal reaction of someone who hasn’t been home for a while. She is seen as rebellious with long free hair and smokes cigarettes. She sees her father’s obituary in the newspaper saying that the Rabbi passed away with no children which stung her heart. She also discovers that her childhood friends Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), taken in by her father as a protégé at 13, and Esti, her childhood friend (Rachel McAdams) were married.

Ronit was clearly surprised and bewildered by the news of her two best friends getting married. She was also upset that she began to smoke a cigarette. There was a weird  exchange between Ronit and Esti, they look at each other as if Ronit questions why Esti and David had gotten married. It wasn’t clear at first why Ronit was upset.

Dovid invites Ronit to stay in his house as courtesy to an old friend. But the situation gets awkward as the story progresses revealing Ronit and Esti were once lovers. The two caught up with each other’s lives. Esti was so impressed of Ronit’s life, learning that she was able to breakthrough from their closed community and enjoy life as she pleases. Ronit’s arrival threw everyone into confusion. Like a catalyst to a world that is in order.

This is my first movie experience with the director Sebastian Leilo. Leilo is from Chile and has won many awards including San Sebastián International Film Festival Film in Progress award in 2012 for his movie Gloria and  he also won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film for his movie A Fantastic Woman.

The film was sensual, electrifying and alive. Love is an act of defiance, it is a story about freedom.

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