The "mood" at the table is far from friendly or warm, but it's also not toxic. Then he drops dead. Lelio's approach helps us feel we are thrust into the middle of a very tight-knit community, with a long shared history. There's something refreshing about a story so unconcerned with "subtlety." It's beautiful, in a classical and formal way. Foreground the theme. "Disobedience," based on Naomi Alderman's novel (with adaptation by Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz) is a good old-fashioned melodrama, albeit with a quieter touch. Dovid and his young rabbinical students discuss sensuous love and its importance, and Esti discusses "Othello" with her students. Some of it comes across as curiously low-stakes, considering the circumstances. But now Esti is married to Dovid and Ronit is clearly shocked by how much older they seem, how much more conservative, how greater the gulf is between them, and by that token how much more intense her loneliness and grief then feels. Disobedience isn’t packed with surprises, but that’s not why you go to a movie like this. The shock on Weisz's face is eloquent, although we don't know the backstory yet. Underline as you go. He speaks of angels, beasts, and Adam and Eve. But McAdams is so inherently positive. Even the strict culture of Orthodox Judaism isn't really a villain. These all feel like real people, not caricatures. The Children Act review – Emma Thompson rules over hot-button legal drama. It stings. Ronit's arrival throws everything into confusion. She is a teacher in a girls school and enjoys her work. The drama is expertly controlled by Lelio, lit and shot in muted and subdued colour tones by cinematographer Danny Cohen and it has a very interesting musical score by Matthew Herbert; its musing and almost playful woodwind figures cut against the expected sombreness and obvious melancholy to contribute to this sense of disorientation and subversion. Ronit is disturbed most by two friends from the old days, from whom she senses a nervous disapproval. as Rabbi Dovid Kuperman, Get Lost in the Experience of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Kaley Cuoco Stars in the Highly Entertaining The Flight Attendant on HBO Max, The Mandalorian Chapter 13 Recap: The Child Has a Name, Chaz Ebert Debuts Song I Remember People, Performed Quarantine-Style by The Chicago Soul Spectacular. Dovid and Etsi don't yet have children. When she returns home, she walks into the unchanged world of her childhood, looked at by relatives and former friends with curiosity and concern. Disobedience works much better when the director lets McAdams and Weisz play their feelings out through soft glances and subtle touches. Sheila O'Malley received a BFA in Theatre from the University of Rhode Island and a Master's in Acting from the Actors Studio MFA Program. It takes some time before you figure out who Dovid is to Ronit, although from their behavior you can tell they once were close. In literature, melodrama can come off as overblown, preachy. Because she has learned of the death of her father, a much-respected rabbi: a fierce, potent cameo for Anton Lesser. You go to watch humans with wayward emotions labor to … "Disobedience," Sebastián Lelio’s follow-up to his 2017 Oscar-winning film "A Fantastic Woman," and his first English-language film, starts with a Rabbi giving a sermon about free will. The relationship between Ronit and Esti, past and present, is clearly the focal point of the film, but Lelio takes his time getting there. he question of whose disobedience, and what kind of disobedience it is, are at the heart of this absorbing and moving love story from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio, his English language debut, following very quickly on the heels of his film A Fantastic Woman which has been a festival-circuit hit this year. The eloquence of the performances is key to the material succeeding, since Lelio does not introduce the characters, and their connections, in a straightforward way. This is playing with fire, since it soon becomes clear that Esti and Ronit had an adolescent romance, well-known to the community at the time. This is Lelio's third film in a row about women (the first being 2013's "Gloria"), and he is deeply empathetic to the ways in which repressive societies put women in all kinds of impossible double- and triple-binds. There are no villains. ‘Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola are at the top of their game’ ... Disobedience. In the bedroom, before sex, Esti had listlessly removed not just her clothes but her wig: the badge of female piety. Then he drops dead. The culture is shown as a close one, with many social benefits, benefits which Ronit—in leaving—has missed out on. We see her leading a class in discussing Shakespeare’s Othello. It doesn't reach the scope of Grand Tragic Romance, but then, it isn't meant to. His daughter Ronit (Rachel Weisz), a New York-based photographer, left years ago. Out of the blue, she receives some bad news from back home, and Lelio shows that her first impulse is to try to anesthetise the pain with drink and casual sex. But cinema can make melodrama seem not just real, but urgent and relevant. "Exposition" wouldn't be spoken out loud in this crowd since everyone knows everything about everyone else. Put it all out there. She is rebelliously secular, with long free hair, cigarettes, short leather skirts. Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola are at the top of their game, perhaps especially Nivola in a supporting role; he achieves a sympathy and maturity that I have never seen from him before. Toronto film festival 2017 Disobedience review – Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams impress in powerful love story The English language debut from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio is … It was partly to escape the stifling rigidity of her father’s values that Ronit fled London for a secular life in New York in the first place: defiant, relishing freedom, but nursing a wound of guilt for breaking her father’s heart; she was an only child and he a widower. One is Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), her father’s favourite pupil, a virtual adopted son who is now a much admired young rabbi himself. But, in a way, that's refreshing too. She's wonderful here when showing mischievous delight sneaking a puff off Ronit's cigarette. In a way, time stopped for the both of them. In "A Fantastic Woman," a trans woman fought to be allowed to grieve for her dead lover, and Lelio's focus on the cruelty of the surrounding world pushed the film into a nightmare-scape. The rabbi who dropped dead was Rav Krushka (Anton Lesser), an important figure in the London Orthodox Jewish community. Dovid himself is a wiry, muscular warrior of the faith. Ronit was all he had left. This is a family. The other is Esti, beautifully played by Rachel McAdams, who was Ronit’s only ally in youthful rebelliousness back in the day. He says, fearsomely, that humans are "free to choose." The obituary for her father states that "sadly" he had no children. But he is not a tyrant or a bully and he is himself conflicted in various ways about Ronit’s reappearance. In a 1950s film, she'd play a perky ingenue. But the truth must be faced up to, and a much-feared homecoming is necessary. They could easily be more than friends again and the movie adroitly lets us decide just how open a secret their relationship always was. This is richly satisfying and powerfully acted work. She's been gone so long she had no idea that Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), taken in by her father as a protégé at 13, and Esti, her childhood friend (Rachel McAdams) have gotten married. The choice of play interestingly leads the audience to wonder how Dovid is going to take the news of his wife’s adventure. A lively debate occurs, and when Esti pops in unexpectedly with a cutting observation, Ronit stares at her from across the table, thrilled. Disobedience is a nice example of a film that displays a forbidden but passionate love story from a fascinating point of view, the religious angle. The colors of the film are subdued and chilly, all blacks, greys, smoky-blues, so that at times it looks like a black-and-white photograph.