Welcome to A-Z Movie Reviews. Every Sunday, for the next several months, I will be posting a review of a film in my home movie collection. How it works is, I will be reviewing movies in alphabetical order until I get to the letter Z (Yes, I do have a film that ends in Z). Now I realize there are many ways to alphabetize a film collection but this is mine so don’t judge me. This is simply for fun.
This week’s film is one I have had in my collection for awhile but haven’t gotten around to watching until now. Like I said before, i’m enjoying doing these reviews because it’s giving me the opportunity to watch the films I have yet to crack open. For this week’s A-Z Movie Review, we’re discussing the film Disobedience.
What it’s about:
A woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.
Disobedience is a story of love, religion, and freedom. After finding out that her estranged father who was a prominent Rabbi, has died, New York photographer, Ronit (Rachel Weisz) hops on a plane to London for his funeral. The reason she and her father were estranged is because years ago, he caught her and her friend Esti (Rachel McAdams) in a compromising position. Because he was the Rabbi and a firm follower of the Jewish faith, he shunned her and she was left ostracized by her community. Ultimately, she left London because of this and moved to New York leaving Esti behind.
When Ronit returns home, everyone is surprised to see her including her friend and disciple of her father, Dovid (Alessandro Nivola). He welcomes her to stay in his home and she finds out that he and Esti are now married. It’s a shock to say the least. All three of them were friends and Dovid knows about their past together so it’s strange news for Ronit to face. It’s even harder for Esti though. Seeing Ronit brings back old feelings and it’s clear the two never got over one another. After spending some time together and reliving old memories, the two end up sleeping together.
Dovid is focused on all of the preparation of the funeral and he has been chosen as the Rabbis predecessor. While all of this is happening, it’s clear to him that something is happening between Esti and Ronit. He notices a change in Esti that lets him know she has never gotten over Ronit. As sad as it is to say, Dovid was the safe option for Esti. She was afraid of being shunned herself and because Dovid already knew about her past and was accepting of her, it made it easy for the two of them to be together.
Dovid is a very good man and extremely faithful but when Ronit returns and he sees that she and Esti are still in love, he begins to learn something about himself. He thinks back to the Rabbis final sermon on freedom of choice and it occurs to him that freedom can also refer to who we love. He has to make some difficult decisions that drastically change his own future but in the end, he, Esti, and Ronit are all where they should be.
I love Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, their performances in this film were outstanding but Rachel McAdams is especially good. Her character Esti is played with such a quiet sadness and she conveyed so much emotion without saying anything. I loved the change she went through from being the doting wife to being a free spirit when she was with Ronit.
The chemistry between these two women was beautiful to watch and I truly believed they were in love. They made me feel so emotional. One scene that I loved was the two of them running off to spend the day together. The place where Esti lives feels dreary and extremely suffocating so the moment she and Ronit hopped the tube to go into the city, I really felt the sense of freedom they had. Their town is so small so everyone knows everyone’s business. It was a literal breath of fresh air for them to be someplace where nobody even knew who they were. The lighting even felt brighter and happier. Watching that scene, I couldn’t help but to root for them to be together.
The biggest takeaway I got after watching this film is something we have heard many times before; you can’t help who you love and love is love. Disobedience is a beautifully sad film that showcases how love and faith go hand in hand but it also teaches acceptance and I think that’s something that makes this film one to watch.