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Rebecca Mordechai

“Disobedience,” a Film About Ultra-Orthodox Forbidden Love

disobedience-weisz-mcadamsTwo strikingly talented Rachels — Weisz and McAdams — appear in a film about ultra-Orthodox life, forbidden love, and fraught emotions. “Disobedience,” a title that perfectly captures the subversion of lust and infidelity in the religious community, is based on Naomi Alderman’s 2006 novel (of the same name). Weisz plays Ronit, a woman who has strayed Orthodoxy and left England for adventure, and McAdams plays Esti, a rabbi’s wife who has lackluster, dutiful sex with her husband on Shabbat. These women had engaged in a hushed affair while in high school, but escaped it — or suppressed it — as time went by.

When Ronit returns to England to mourn her father’s death, however, opportunity arises to rekindle romance with Esti. It is in this moment that Esti decides whether to leave the safety of her existence for the thrills of Ronit — and what she represents. “Disobedience” is the first English-language film for Chilean director Sebastián Lelio. It has received positive reviews and IndieWire called it “a fascinatingly conflicted tug-of-war” between faith
and desire.