Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Disobedience


★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Although the LGBTQ+ community has become more accepted in recent years, they still face discrimination in various places, namely fundamentalist sects of various religious communities.

Disobedience, although imperfect, is a intimate drama buoyed by excellent acting. Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman, the film follows Ronit Krushka (played by Rachel Weisz), a 30-something photographer in New York. She had left her Orthodox Jewish community in London some years prior.

One night, Ronit receives a phone call that her estranged father, Rabbi Krushka (played by Anton Lesser), has died. After some momentary processing of this information, Ronit flies back to London. When she returns, she is coldly greeted by her childhood friend, Dovid Kuperman (played by Alessandro Nivola). Dovid was groomed by Rabbi Krushka to become his replacement. Ronit is also coldly greeted by everyone else she encounters in Dovid's home. She then talks with Dovid, & he tells her that he was married some time prior to Esti Kuperman (played by Rachel McAdams).

It is then revealed why Ronit left: in her teenage years, she had a lesbian affair with Esti. When her father found out, Ronit left, but Esti stayed, & was put into a relationship & eventual marriage with Dovid.

Ronit stays with Dovid & Esti in their spare room. Eventually, the attraction between Ronit & Esti is burgeoning once again, & can't be ignored. But their love is still forbidden, & their lives will be changed once again.

The cast is fantastic. Weisz gives one of her best performances in years. McAdams also gives one of her best performances. And Nivola easily gives the best performance of his career.

Sebastián Lelio's direction is phenomenal. Lelio uses a beautifully somber atmosphere throughout the film, & keeps our interest even when the flaws start to be a bit noticeable.

And the screenplay by Sebastián Lelio & Rebecca Lenkiewicz is very good. Although the plot is a bit clichéd & the story has a few uninteresting moments, the dialogue is fantastic.

This is a very good romantic drama. Although there are several minor flaws, those flaws are overcome by 3 truly excellent performances & strong direction.

Disobedience was seen by me at The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Hills, MI on Friday, May 11, 2018. It is currently in 4 theaters in the Detroit area: the Birmingham Theatre in Birmingham, MI; The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Hills, MI; the Emagine Novi in Novi, MI; & the Rave Cinemas Ann Arbor 20 in Ann Arbor, MI. Its runtime is 114 minutes, & it is rated R for some strong sexuality.

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