Haiku Review: Disobedience

Written by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Directed by Sebastián Lelio


SYNOPSIS
A funeral causes a woman to return home to the community that shunned her for a homosexual attraction in her youth, pitting faith and sexuality against each other.


HAIKU REVIEW

Carefully Measured;
Tasteful Eroticism;
Masterful Acting.


RATING:
Buy This Film Immediately
**Check Out at Redbox**

Stream on Netflix/Watch on Cable
Don’t Waste Your Time


ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

This is one that had a very brief theatrical run early in the spring, and I unfortunately missed my chance to see it on the big screen. Having finally seen it, I can say that the three leads turned in some of the most powerful acting I have seen this year. When combined with the script, direction, cinematography and score, the result is undeniable. McAdams (Esti) wears the stifling weight of who she wishes she was free to be like one of the unflattering ensembles that is tradition in her Orthodox Jewish home. Her performance is incredible, perfectly reflecting the repression she desperately wishes to rebel against after spending decades treated as though she were sick because of a teenage lesbian relationship. Weisz (Ronit), on the other hand, is just as good from the other end of the spectrum, flaunting her New York fashion sense and cigarettes at the community that shunned her. Quietly, and perhaps unintentionally, she teases her friend with her own freedom until the tension explodes in the climactic (and yes, extremely hot) sex scene. But it’s never exploitative, trading skin for the power of imagination. Not to be outdone, Alessandro Nivola (Dovid) masterfully plays his part of this love triangle as a leader in the community with his own set of expectations. He has been best friends with Ronit and Esti since childhood, and is training to take the place of Ronit’s father as Rabbi. When her father’s funeral brings Ronit back home after a long absence, Dovid offers her a place to stay and reveals that he married Esti some time ago. He claims he wants to protect his wife from her former lover, but really he’s using that as a shield to protect himself from the reality of his marriage. A scene late in the film illustrates his fragile and unraveling state so well I wanted to applaud it, sitting alone in my own living room. There are many layers to what’s going on, and watching it unfold is beautiful. Early shots of Esti have a tendency to be up close and almost claustrophobic, but widen later on, even incorporating some shots of nature and brighter lighting, signifying that her reignited spark with Ronit has opened her up to the world. She can see all the possibilities around her, and freedom has never been closer. The story is about defying what is expected of you no matter the cost, the power of free will and the role human sexuality plays in religion. The tagline on the poster reads “Love is an act of defiance,” and I couldn’t think of a more perfect description for what this film represents. It is a brilliant work that needs to be seen by as wide an audience as possible. Head to Redbox or your favorite streaming service and rent this film!


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