The English-language debut by Oscar-winning Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) also puts its characters through difficult (to say the least) paces. It focuses on lapsed orthodox Jew and New Yorker-by-choice Ronit (a sublime Rachel Weisz), who returns to London for her father’s funeral. Ronit and her father hadn’t spoken in years, and when she arrives at the home of her old friend (and her father’s disciple), Dovid Kuperman (Alessandro Nivola), and his wife Esti (Rachel McAdams, superb), it’s clear Ronit is at best unexpected. As Ronit, Dovid, and Esti spend more time together, it becomes clear why. The narrative resembles a love triangle, but it’s considerably more complicated. Lelio and co-screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz make the characters zig just when you think they’re going to zag, which saves Disobedience from lapsing into treacle or bathos, and Lelio’s direction makes you feel the weight of the world each of these characters—especially Esti—carries. The result is heart-wrenching, but rewarding.
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Producer: Frida Torresblanco, Ed Guiney, Rachel Weisz, Rose Garnett, Daniel Battsek, Ben Browning, Glen Basner, Andrew Lowe, Eric Laufer and Giovanna Randall
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Anton Lesser, Bernice Stegers, Allan Corduner, Nicholas Woodeson, Liza Sadovy, Clara Francis, Mark Stobbart and Caroline Gruber