Jewish Orthodoxy Collides with Passion in the Steamy Disobedience

Written by | Entertainment, Screen

disobedience scene

Photo by Agatha A. Nitecka / Bleecker Street

Disobedience is A cinematic peek into the rigid and yet fascinating world of orthodox Judaism — a world that may seem hopeless for those who are gay and wish to live openly. Sebastián Lelio (winner of the Foreign Language Oscar for his transgender-themed A Fantastic Woman) directs this tale of an Englishwoman returning to the religious community she left behind to honor her recently deceased father. When Ronit (Rachel Weisz) enters her old house, she finds her two oldest friends: Dovid (the now handsomely hirsute Alessandro Nivola of Junebug) primed to be her late rabbi father’s successor and Esti (Rachel McAdams) now married to Dovid. Ronit’s friends are glad to see her, but everyone is wary of a misfit and outsider returning, even temporarily, to their midst. From the vantage of our individualistic society, it is usually off-putting to see people living such intensely structured and uniform lives, and yet it’s also compelling to imagine what advantages these social structures afford to those who embrace them. Though Ronit’s intent in returning is benign, the community is ultimately justified in their suspicions when her presence stirs up suppressed longing within Esti. The pair reignite a taboo affair that started long ago, which leaves Esti deciding whether to join Ronit back in New York or stay with her kind and loving husband. The Rachel-on-Rachel action gets pretty heated (and even kinky) but still somewhat pales in comparison to the sapphic couplings in Blue is the Warmest Color. THE WORD: Intense meditations on faith and freedom ultimately yield to considerations about real life and real loss. COMING TO: Theaters

Last modified: May 1, 2018