Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang on the double-Rachel feature (Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz) "Disobedience" and how TIFF 2017 has been a showcase of acting talent for the actress leads.
Sebastián Lelio’s somber and passionate new drama, “Disobedience,” begins with the death of a celebrated Orthodox rabbi in North London — a loss that brings his only child, Ronit (Rachel Weisz), back home from New York to settle her father’s estate.
Received with frosty politeness by the community she fled years ago for a life of secular freedom, Ronit gradually rekindles her friendship with Esti (Rachel McAdams), whom she is surprised to learn is now the wife of Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), a spiritual disciple of Ronit’s father.
As will soon come to light, in a series of erotic encounters that are at once tasteful and unusually candid for a prestige drama, Ronit and Esti carry a torch for one another that years apart has failed to extinguish. That more or less explains why Ronit left, but the film, adapted from Naomi Alderman’s 2006 novel, is equally curious about why Esti stayed.