By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –
Ronit (Rachel Weisz) has been shunned by her Jewish Orthodox community for having a sexual attraction to her childhood friend Esti (Rachel McAdams). Years later Ronit’s father, a prominent Rabbi in the community passes, away and Ronit goes home to attend the funeral. She reconnects with her other childhood friend Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) and learns that Dovid and Esti are now married. During Ronit’s time home her attraction to Esit comes back and they ignite their attraction with a passionate scene. Ronit, Esti, and Dovid must face deep questions about their life, faith, and beliefs.
The film’s score kept resonating with me after I finished watching the film. It’s subtle and quiet, like a dark undertone representing all of the, what this community considers, “unnatural” feelings Ronit and Esti have toward each other. It stays quiet, almost waiting to explode, but never truly does because there is no explosive moment in this film. The scene when Esti and Ronit act on their feelings is touching and yet animalistic, showing Esti’s feelings bursting out as she has had to repress these feelings all of her life unlike Ronit. Then there are warm tones played at this point, telling us that Esti is becoming her real self, this is who she truly is.
This is an honest film; there are no Heroes or Villains, it’s just honest people dealing with complex emotions. It would be easy for this film to become cheesy or overplayed, like we’ve seen it before. However, the three main leads are extremely good in these roles. McAdams as Esti gives a subtle performance as a woman struggling with who she is and her true self and inner feelings. Her accent slips in and out, but it’s not enough to take you out of the story. Weisz as Ronit delivers another stellar performance, showing why she is one of the best actresses working today. She’s never over-the-top or mean. She just wants to be loved and accepted, but never cries for it, like so many performances would. It’s a brilliant performance. Also, Alessandro Nivola as Dovid gives another stellar performance, how this guy doesn’t get recognized more often astounds me. I believe he is one of if not the best character actor working today, and if you don’t believe me look up his IMDB and look at all of the different roles you’ll recognize but not realize all of those were the same person. I hope one day he blows up because he deserves it, or at least wins an Oscar.
The writing is also stellar, especially in creating these characters. I have not read the book so I don’t know how true of an adaptation it is, but the realness of the characters are what make this film so great. Up until recently, films about LGBTQ people always had to center on tragedy. One of the characters almost always had to die. This gives a feel that LGBTQ characters are usually secondary characters and disposable. It’s wonderful in the recent years to have movies like Disobedience and Call Me by Your Name where LGBTQ stories can be told without tragedies befalling the main characters. Without giving anything away, I love that, instead of where this story could’ve gone with Dovid, it goes to a much more realistic ending, showing us that everyone struggles with their beliefs whether they’re religious or not.
Disobedience is a small film from 2018 that you most likely missed, but I implore you to go seek this one out. I watched it on Amazon Prime, so if you’re a prime member than you can watch this for free. Otherwise it’s available to rent anywhere.
Disobedience (2018) Drinking Game
Do a Shot: every time Ronit forgets a rule in the Jewish Orthodox religion
Do a Shot: every time Ronit is almost lashed at for leaving the religion
Take a Drink: for every scene in a synagogue.
Take a Drink: whenever Ronit and Esti are alone.