Rachels Weisz and McAdams star in this Orthodox Jewish community-based drama that oughtn’t be passed over.
In his first English-language feature, Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) continues to tallit like it is for women repressed by their respective cultures. Weisz reprises her role of Jewish woman with no (ge)filter from Denial, although this is a much more sophisticated and nuanced picture. Despite their different religious attitudes, each character feels like a well-realised mensch and the story offers as few easy answers as the Torah.
The performances by Weisz, McAdams and Alessandro Nivola are sensitive and bold, matched by Lelio’s intimate direction. He uses a washed-out colour palette to reflect the drama’s conservative North London backdrop, from which moments of passion burst like shofar blasts. The tension is quiet yet palpable enough to send shivas down the spine, including the most awkward Friday night dinner since that one where Paul Ritter hid a dead fox in the freezer.
Disobedience confronts a uniquely Jewish tension between freedom and tradition (TRADITION!), posing daring questions about where we come frum and where we’re goyim.