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Acclaimed director Sebastián Lelio’s Disobedience is a compelling drama that unfurls the complex story of love, faith, freedom, and societal norms, released in 2017. This film boasts a powerful trio of performances by Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, and Alessandro Nivola. Through Disobedience, the Chilean-Irish filmmaker successfully weaves a tale of forbidden love within a conservative community, exploring the cost of freedom and the burden of societal traditions.

Disobedience is largely set in the scene of an Orthodox Jewish community in North London. It opens with the death of a revered Rabbi, which impels the return of his estranged daughter, Ronit Krushka, portrayed by Rachel Weisz. This homecoming sets the stage for a complex drama, introducing the audience to her past rooted deeply in the doldrums of tradition and stringent community constructs.

Ronit had escaped the confines of the Orthodox world years ago, settling in New York and finding her voice as a successful photographer, far removed from her old world. However, her sudden return stirs the still waters of the community. The past and present collide, as characters grapple with their memories and the life that Ronit had left behind.

Perhaps the most significant part of her past is her childhood friend and secret lover, Esti, beautifully portrayed by Rachel McAdams. Esti, who is now married to Dovid Kuperman (Alessandro Nivola), was paired by the community elders in a marriage of convenience. Dovid, also a student of the deceased rabbi and next in line for the Rabbi's mantle, seems blissfully unaware of the intimate past shared by his wife and Ronit.

Lelio does an excellent job of presenting a community bound by tradition and faith, while also grappling with suppressed desires and individuality. As Ronit and Esti reconnect, the dormant desires set in the tumultuous teenage years rekindle. The movie focuses on the nature of freedom and the price one has to pay for it, subtly echoing the darker side of obedience. Weisz and McAdams carry this canvas of repressed love, societal obedience, and the struggle for freedom with a natural ability that is hard to ignore and easy to invest in.

However, the film is not purely about forbidden love; it intricately sketches the labyrinth of friendship, betrayal, faith, and obedience. Lelio juxtaposes the poignant love story with scenes that illuminate the norms and practices of Orthodoxy, effectively portraying the community as both a comforting and stifling environment.

Each actor brings an intensity to their roles that transfixes the audience. Weisz’s performance as Ronit is compelling and honest; her ability to portray pain, defiance and longing is palpable. McAdams transcends as Esti, effectively illustrating a woman trapped between personal desires and societal obligations. Nivola, as Dovid, perfectly incarnates a man caught in a dilemma, the faithful defender of tradition who is also empathetic to the tribulations of those he loves.

In Disobedience, silence plays an integral role. The real strength of the narrative lies in the unspoken, with the subtext often communicated through silent glances, gestures, and small facial movements. Lelio uses silence to create anticipation and amplify the emotional depth of the movie. Enclosed spaces and crowded, intimate settings are deployed to visually depict the characters' emotional claustrophobia and the sense of being constricted by their surroundings.

Disobedience delicately navigates through the nervous tension of discovery, the ecstasy of latent passions, the sting of social ostracization, and the strength that stems from embracing one's truth. At its core, the film is a deconstruction of societal constructs and the human thirst for genuine fulfillment that sometimes lies beyond those conventions.

Through Disobedience, Lelio shows us various intricacies that blanket human relationships, the complications of which are neatly folded into the religious and sociological fabric of the narrative. Wrapped in rich cinematography, an appealing cast, and complemented by an unobtrusive score, Disobedience offers a deep, introspective look into the human condition, tradition, love, and the courage to redefine oneself beyond societal expectations.

Disobedience is a Drama, Romance movie released in 2018. It has a runtime of 114 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.6. It also holds a MetaScore of 74.

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Where can I stream Disobedience movie online? Disobedience is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV Channels, Starz, The Roku Channel, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Disobedience for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Sebastian Lelio
Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola
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