DVD/Blu ray: Disobedience
Based on the novel by Naomi Alderman, Chilean director Sebastián Lelio follow-up to his dazzling and stirring transgender character study ‘A Fantastic Woman’ is a more low-key and sombre, but no less nuanced and empathetic piece.
Rachel Weisz is Ronit, an edgy NYC-based photographer, returning home to London, and the closed Orthodox Jewish community in which she was raised, for the funeral of her father. She receives a chilly reception on her arrival at the family home, even from close childhood friend and her late father’s chosen successor Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), who is now a rabbi. Ronit is shocked that Dovid has married Esti (Rachel McAdams,), the third of her trio of close childhood friends. Later her frustration at being kept in the dark about the state of her father’s health comes out during a Sabbat dinner. The shy and dowdy Esti is initially upset that Dovid has offered to put her estranged childhood friend up at their house, but the chill between the two women begins to thaw in an extraordinary scene where they chance on The Cure’s ‘Lovesong’ on the radio and begin to dance.
Eschewing a reductive outsider versus oppressive religious system narrative, this is an intense, understated study of desire and devotion, which sees director Lelio elegantly teasing out the details of the trio’s relationship through telling glances and subtle gestures, with the trio of leads, particularly Nivola as the fundamentally decent but conflicted Dovid, turning in possibly career-best performances. Disobedience is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 4thFebruary