I’m not too familiar with how the ways of life a Jewish community has to follow, but it doesn’t hurt for me to see “Disobedience,” and learn about its characters.
The film was directed by Sebastian Lelio, who recently made the Oscar-winning Spanish drama “A Fantastic Woman.” That film was entertaining and challenging. “Disobedience” isn’t better than that, but Lelio shows us a peaceful and murky complexion on affairs, religion, and choices.
The movie stars Rachel Weisz as Ronit, a British-Jewish woman, who travels from New York to her home country-a Jewish community-when she learns about the death of her rabbi father. She was his only child and the people in her community and family are surprised to see her, while others shun her.
Two reasons: she left her country without a trace, and she was attracted to her childhood friend Esti (Rachel McAdams). I guess Lesbianism is strict in this religion, too. But I’m not Jewish, so what do I know.
Esti is married to Ronit’s other old friend Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), who becomes her father’s successor. He prepares to take the next step, while Esti is a school teacher, who has to wear a wig in public, on account on her short hair.
She admits to Ronit that her marriage is unhappy and wants to be free of the strict Jewish life. And then, the two start an affair, one that becomes dangerous. But hey, what affair isn’t?
It took a while for me to warm up to the story and the characters. Like I said, I’m not too familiar with this kind of lifestyle and religion. But once I got to know Ronit and Esti, and their affair, things really started to pick up. The performances from Weisz and McAdams are radiant, and Nivola has his moments whether he’s calm or emotional.
There were times I gazed away, and times when I needed to understand some things like the characters and their intentions. I’m a guy who would say: “I don’t have telekinesis. I can’t read your mind,” with all respect. But most of the way through the movie, I ate up the affair, the risks, the shunning, and the acting.