Disobedience: Film Review

Disobedience is unlikely to have mainstream appeal but it should be seen because it tells a compelling romance story and features some incredible performances from leads Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola.

The film is based in the Orthodox Jewish community in London. After years living in New York, Ronit (Weisz) returns home following the death of her father, a prominent rabbi. She caused quite a scandal when she left, and her return causes old, forbidden feelings between her and Esti (McAdams) to reignite.

The best thing about Disobedience is the performances which were truly stunning. Ronit is a seemingly carefree woman who escaped the religion years ago but Esti doesn’t have such freedom, she’s deep in there, as her husband Dovid (Nivola) is in line to replace Ronit’s dad. Esti is extremely torn between her heart and her head and McAdams’ performance was stellar, even her British accent was impressive. Esti goes on the biggest journey and you are invested in it. But it was Nivola who was the most heartbreaking as the cuckold, and his reaction to his wife’s new affair hit me in the feels. I have heard him do a British accent before and you would honestly never know he was American.

The drama is well paced and the nature of Ronit’s sharp exit from London is slowly revealed in a truly interesting way. The developments were compelling but there were a few too many at the end and it went on a bit longer than necessary. It’s also an indie movie yet the ending seemed a bit OTT and overdramatic like you would expect in a Hollywood romance, and this was at odds with the realism of the rest of the piece. I would have preferred a different ending and for it to have been about 10-15 minutes shorter.

Some people might be put off thinking this is a religious movie, but it isn’t really – it’s an LGBT romance drama with a religious setting. However, I must admit that I learned a lot about the Jewish community watching this and that can only be a plus. I like having my eyes opened to new cultures and ways of living via cinema.

Disobedience is a moving drama that features such good performances. I don’t know if it’s too small to be in the nominations race but it would be a shame if those three weren’t involved because their acting deserves recognition.

In selected cinemas from Friday 30th September 

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