Newest Reviews
Cannibal Club, The
Grasshopper, The
Human Desire
Stiff Upper Lips
American Animals
World on a Wire
Velvet Buzzsaw
Dick Dickman, PI
Hunter Killer
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The
Race for the Yankee Zephyr
Boys in the Band, The
Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, An
Fear No Evil
One Cut of the Dead
Rosa Luxemburg
On the Job
Monsters and Men
Survival Run
Crucible of the Vampire
Newest Articles
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
  Disobedience Sweet FreedomBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Anton Lesser, Allan Corduner, Nicholas Woodeson, Bernice Stegers, Steve Furst, David Fleeshman, Clara Francis, Lia Cohen, Cara Horgan, Liza Sadovy, Alexis Zegerman, Mark Stobbart, Rose Walker
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ronit (Rachel Weisz) would never have known if someone had not told her, but while she was working as a photographer in New York, where she had made her home these past few years, her father (Anton Lesser) died back in London, where she was from. There was a lot of history there, or rather, there was not as much as there should have been since he had cut all ties with his daughter when she rejected the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community he had brought her up in, and it seems to her he did not even want her to know he had passed on, never reaching out to her in all that time. There was a reason for that, as Ronit had broken laws of their religion, not the laws of the land...

What's in a kiss? In Disobedience, based on Naomi Alderman's award-winning novel, there was quite a lot. Director Sebastián Lelio, fresh from his Oscar-winning success with A Fantastic Woman, once again demonstrated his interest in characters who would be the friend of the protagonist in most other movies, if indeed they were featured at all, and the two Jewish lesbians at the centre of this were fairly far out of the mainstream, especially when the details of their religious society were so faithfully replicated to craft as authentic a mood and milieu as possible. But if this was a hard sell to the more populist audiences, for the specialist ones it was welcomed a lot more warmly.

A lot of this was down to how sensitively handled the film was, appreciating that the book had been more scathing in its critique of how a strict upbringing can bring about an equally strict adulthood where freedom is not necessarily a given - though all of that was present in the adaptation here. It was just that Lelio, scripting with Rebecca Lenkiewicz, was sympathetic to all parties, appreciating that you did not just walk away from the world you were raised in lightly, and there were plenty of ties that even someone like Ronit, who has been content to leave it all behind completely, has to admit she cannot ignore, which is why, when she gets the word, she warily returns to London.

There she finds why she has been called, and it's not because her late father asked for her presence: he has not so much as remembered her in his will, to the point of claiming to be childless. Nope, it is her childhood friend Esti (Rachel McAdams) who reached out, sensing that Ronit should really be told, and more than that, although she can barely admit it to herself, she would love to see her again. Although for the first half hour this played its cards close to its chest, we could tell by the stolen glances and half-smiles between the two leads that there was more to their past relationship than simply being good pals, and sure enough, when they are alone Esti makes her move and goes in for a kiss, the first we see of many. This simple act of affection speaks volumes, and quickly becomes the women's purest connection to one another.

A display between themselves that nobody else has any business intruding on, only of course someone sees them smooching in the street and soon Esti's job as a schoolteacher and her marriage to young Rabbi Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) are in jeopardy, which she may not be too upset about if she is honest. Therefore we had a traditional love triangle as seen countless times before, given the twist that it was between two Jewish lesbians and a holy man, not something that had cropped up too many times, if at all. These three performers were excellent, and crafted a tension between their characters, both sexual and guilty, that helped what was a largely quiet, muted experience of repression. Only in one scene were Ronit and Esti allowed to let loose with their passion, yes, kissing again, but going even further to properly address the joy they felt in one another's company that was so difficult to express anywhere else. It was a two-minute sequence, if that, but it resonated throughout, right up to a conclusion striking a note of hope for the couple without downplaying the complications, frustrating but probably realistic. Moody music by Matthew Herbert.

[Curzon's DVD has interviews with director and main cast, a production featurette and the trailer as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 68 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi


Last Updated: