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“Disobedience” is one of the best films of 2018 so far

When you’re an independent film, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. That can especially be the case when opening up early on in the year and/or against a massive blockbuster movie. This week, we have a truly wonderful indie opening up against a true behemoth. The latter is obviously Avengers: Infinity War, though the former is Disobedience. A well liked title last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, it’s also currently playing at the Tribeca Film Festival. It’s tremendously good and honestly one of my favorites of 2018 so far. If you’re not looking for comic book fare, you have a top notch other option to consider. Read on to find out why…

The film is a romantic drama. Distributor Bleeker Street describes it as such: “From a screenplay by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, the film follows a woman as she returns to the community that shunned her decades earlier for an attraction to a childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality. Based on Naomi Alderman’s book, the film stars Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola.” The simple IMDb synopsis is as follows: “A woman returns to the community that shunned her for her attraction to a childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.” Watching Ronit Krushka (Weisz) and Esti Kuperman (McAdams) connect is truly electric, and that’s not even including their relationships with Rabbi Dovid Kuperman (Nivola). The less said, the better, but it’s powerful stuff. Lelio co-writes with Lenkiewicz and directs, while supporting players include Allan Corduner, Cara Horgan, Anton Lesser, Bernice Stegers, Nicholas Woodeson, and more. Matthew Herbert provides the score, while some top notch cinematography comes to us from Danny Cohen.

I loved this movie. It has sparks flying from start to finish, both romantic and non romantic. The trio of McAdams, Nivola, and Weisz honestly make the screen couple of the year, as an unconventional triad. You’ll see what I mean when you see the film, but it tells this story in a truly unique way. There’s a sex scene that could generate some controversy, but the bond between three people is truly what’s at its core. It’s really a discovery. Lelio was an awards favorite last year for A Fantastic Woman, and it’s possible that he could find himself in play again this year with this one.

Oscar could potentially come to this one, if Disobedience is remembered during the precursor season. Bleeker Street would do well to give this one an across the board campaign, seeking nominations in Best Picture, Best Director (for Lelio), Best Actress (for Weisz), Best Supporting Actor (for Nivola), Best Supporting Actress (for McAdams), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Lelio and Lenkiewicz), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score. Frankly, the best chance for a nomination here would be for either McAdams or Weisz, depending on how category placement shakes out. It’ll all come down to whether it’s forgotten about come the fall. We shall see. If nothing else, it deserves consideration.

Starting tomorrow, indie audiences can give a look to Disobedience, one of the top works of the year so far. There’s a ton to like here, and while it’s far smaller than the historic Avengers: Infinity War, it’s hard not to see it as the superior film. If you love cinematic romance, this is a movie to make an effort to take in. Give it a shot and you’ll see what I mean. It’s easily one of the top five titles of 2018. In fact, it may very well end up hanging around all year and make my year end top ten. Time will tell, but there’s no way around it…this is something special. Make time for it and thank me later…

Be sure to check out Disobedience, beginning its theatrical run this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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