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Director Sebastian Lelio (“Fantastic Woman”) gifts viewers a profound glimpse into a world of concrete, inflexible dictates; religious dogma that shuns flexibility, turning away from an alternate lifestyle; cauterizing, condemning individuality; painful to experience but impossible to ignore. “Disobedience” focuses on “Ronit” (dazzling Rachel Weisz) a photographer, living in New York, returning to London, after her father’s death; her agony captured beautifully by Lelio’s camerawork; arriving unannounced in the Hasidic neighborhood of her birth, at the home of her closest friends “Esti” (Rachel McAdams) and “Dovid” (Alessandro Nivola); married,  but conflict imbues their relationship; Esti’s passionate, childhood love for Ronit has percolated throughout their prolonged hiatus.

“Disobedience” evolves as a trilogy, between three major protagonists: Esti has never vacillated in her awareness of who she is, but has followed the statutes, obligations of her religion and marriage, with Ronit’s reappearance, the binding, suffocating shackles cease to have meaning; Rachel McAdams’ performance is overwhelming in its depth, facing her predicament, awareness of the life-shattering decisions she must make; Ronit is more ambiguous, she has had heterosexual relationships, never married, but is responsive to Esti’s advances; Weisz, always the intellectual professional is circumspect, allowing McAdams center stage, eventually succumbing to Esti’s ardor; Dovid has the major transformation, Nivola is phenomenal as a sensitive, loving husband, always aware of Esti’s proclivities;  as a Rabbi, entrenched in the Torah, denying Esti’s homosexuality, until blindness is no longer viable.


Portraits of palatable pain, tempestuous love, scalding, restrictive protocols make “Disobedience” a film of disclosure, an awakening of sorts; freedom of choice, ultimately transcends laws, rules meant to stifle uniqueness, in lieu of the collective, the individual ultimately takes precedence.






  1. I liked the visual arc of the story (father fill-ins) : starts with Ronit photographing an older gentleman resembling her father to the final shot of her photographing his grave.
    Isn’t neglecting ones own nature the one true disobedience?

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