29 April 2018 | bastille-852-731547
Riveting, Thoughtful, Complex Drama
This new film from Sebastian Lelio tells the moving story of a woman who goes home to her Orthodox Jewish community in London for her father's (a rabbi) funeral. While there, she falls in love with a woman she knew from the past. Lelio builds a stirring portrait of an Orthodox Jewish family that feels both close-knit and intricate at the same time. The culture of such a community is depicted in thoughtful detail without ever overshadowing the story's primary motifs and motivations. The film's script is uniquely written and mixes intense family drama with moments of dry humor or dramatic elements of a somewhat lighter tone. For those concerned that such shifts in the writing could make the film fear uneven, fear not: the narrative always feels satisfying from beginning to end. The film is able to use writing to generate genuine emotional power, although it takes time to build up to such a crescendo in the movie's quietly moving finale.
As far as the acting is concerned, fans of Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams will not be disappointed here. Both actresses are outstanding in their respective roles, although I will say Weisz is slightly better. She is able to show a genuine range of acting technique in her role, and remains captivating for viewers to watch from beginning to end. My only real criticism of this film is that the pacing can be rather spotty at times, and can sometimes be slower than it needs to be given audiences' abilities to absorb plot details. While the film never feels boring or annoying at all (unless, of course, one only wants to watch explosions and CGI when you go to the movies,) audiences sometimes feel a bit ready to move on with the narrative before a specific moment in the film may progress. Otherwise, this is a great and thoughtful drama that addresses thought-provoking issues in the world today (religion, sexuality, and family) while boldly challenging audiences to consider their own responses to such issues themselves. Gladly recommended. 8/10