Pas­sion play…

Total Film - - Big Screen -

like Carol with mat­zohs in­stead of Mar­ti­nis, this tale of a les­bian af­fair in a north Lon­don Ortho­dox Jewish com­mu­nity is an­other emo­tion­ally brave tale of for­bid­den love from Os­car­win­ner Se­bastián Le­lio (A Fan­tas­tic Woman).

Solemn and more som­bre than his best work, but deeply felt none­the­less, it launches Rachel Weisz’s brit­tle out­cast Ronit back into her rabbi fa­ther’s con­gre­ga­tion from bohemian New York fol­low­ing his death. Prickly with re­sent­ment at her old neigh­bour­hood’s hos­til­ity, Ronit’s de­fi­ance rekin­dles the ar­dour of her one-time lover Esti (Rachel McA­dams), rock­ing the lat­ter’s mar­riage to ju­nior rabbi Dovid (a sub­tle, sym­pa­thetic Alessan­dro Nivola).

In a tri­an­gle of fine per­for­mances, McA­dams’ raw and ten­der Esti is a rev­e­la­tion, her de­sire and re­li­gious de­vo­tion war­ring as fear gives way to snatched kisses. Le­lio’s com­pas­sion for fe­male out­siders is in­tact, but the faithver­sus-free­dom ar­gu­ments feel loaded. Like­wise, the slow pace and grey vi­su­als are un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally chilly – ex­cept for the sud­den burn of a point­edly un­voyeuris­tic love scene. Out­side the bed­room, this study of the cost of re­pres­sion short-changes it­self by keep­ing its hefty emo­tions un­der wraps, but it re­mains an el­e­gant piece. Kate Sta­bles


Weisz and McA­dams siz­zle as the plot fiz­zles in a re­strained tale of un­ortho­dox love in an Ortho­dox Jewish con­gre­ga­tion.

Rachel Weisz’s Ronit and Rachel McA­dams’ Esti steal a for­bid­den kiss.

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