NZIFF: Disobedience

1 hr. 54 min. | Rated R13 | for sex scenes and sexual references.

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Alessandro Nivola, Cara Horgan, Mark Stobbart

“Is the greater sin to defy God, or defy your true nature? It’s not a question that’s asked directly in Disobedience, but lingers at the edges of the turmoil that slowly simmers into passion and penitence, in a story that turns a colorful premise into a thoughtful rumination on choice. Set inside the conservative community of Orthodox Judaism, Sebastián Lelio’s graceful adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel is a probing look at the illusion of freedom in both religious and secular life, and the bracing reality faced by two women when the relationship between them sparks back to life.

When Ronit (Rachel Weisz), a portrait photographer living in New York City, learns that her father Rav, a revered rabbi and community leader, has passed away, she temporarily numbs the pain in booze and sex, before boarding a plane to London… Ronit has been disconnected for so long, she’s surprised to learn her former friends Dovit (Alessandro Nivola) – who became Rav’s spiritual son and protegé – and Esti (Rachel McAdams) are now married. However, Ronit and Esti have a surprise of their own – a long buried connection that will be rekindled, and unravel the orderly world around them…

After the transcendent Gloria and [last] year’s buzzworthy A Fantastic Woman, Lelio once again shows a remarkable sensitivity to the challenges women face, particularly those who are marginalized by their age or identity…. [He] crafts a drama that’s both sensual and spiritual, deeply moving and tender.” — Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

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Poster of NZIFF: Disobedience