The collar’s always around the neck, the sleeves always come off the shoulders, the waist always goes around the middle! When will they invent something original?
The beginning and ending I could stomach, but in between, a vomit inducing self-congradulating piece of lifestyle propaganda that culminates in a wash of fluid exchange. Where Sebastián Lelio was extended an opportunity to offer a lesson in A Fantastic Women; here, in Disobedience, he makes a self-flagellating Hollywood piece of amateur moviemaking that could only be described as an attempt to make money for something more substantive. I have to place the blame entirely with Lelio since I know the competence of Rebecca Lenkiewicz with Ida.
Disobedience tells a mundane story of a rebel without a cause (Rachel Weisz) who left her open air Jewish prison for the open air liberation of New York, only to be summoned back by the wiles of a distraught inmate that wants a life of lesbian adventure—until she doesn’t. Weisz’s character scoffs throughout the movie at the traditional lifestyle of Orthodox Jews, seemingly incorrigible and indifferent to the choices of others who dare a path that doesn’t involve second wave feminist ideals, premeditated home-wrecking, and taking pictures of old men. Her poignancy is perhaps felt most when she confesses a seeming loneliness (“no other women”) and if the filmmakers dug a little deeper, something profound may still be found. The other character (Rachel McAdam) is equally shallow, an emotional wreck of uncertainty, behaving like a teenager until finally sobering up and easing nicely into her Stockholm Syndrome. While I offer no defense of the traditional role women were forced to play as domesticated warm bodies, neither side in Disobedience comes off with anything to brag about.
It’s really hard to describe the absurd dialogue and impetuous inanity of the film. Very little depth is reached beyond what the trailer provides. Its inability to grasp its own failure is a byproduct of what today’s Hollywood critics have created. For example, Peter Travers must have snuck out during the film and forgot his way back to honesty think that the film “never preaches or judges.” Here’s him again leading the path of clamorous for the Emperor’s New Clothes: “[n]o one who sees the groundbreaking trail that the movie blazes is going to shut up about it.” Reading other reviews from “top critics” is example enough for why we began this blog. Utterly predictable and still strange that two people can see the same insipid product and one of them finds it tasteful.
Thankfully, some sanity from a handful of voices. Beginning with a generous, but I’ll concede, objectively accurate review, from Inkoo Kang (The Wrap):
A clumsily assembled film can remind us that every narrative feature is like a Jenga tower, with each block building on the foundational ones under it and faulty, minor-seeming pieces poised to upset a chunk of the whole. If it were an edifice, “Disobedience” — about repressed Sapphic desire in the Orthodox Jewish community — would stand tall but wobbly, its hollows more conspicuous than its frame.
Manohla Dargis (New York Times):
In “Disobedience,” the emotions are reserved, the palette muted, the rooms claustrophobic, the storytelling restrained. It’s almost a surprise that Ronit (Rachel Weisz), a successful art photographer living in New York, can breathe, given how drained of oxygen this frustrating movie is.
Brian Tallerico (Roger Ebert):
It doesn’t feel like Weisz or Lelio got a handle [her] character in a way that would make her feel like more than a cliché.
Colin Covert (Star Tribune):
Like spinach, it’s nutritious but hardly irresistible
Here, I’ve worked through a number of Top 10 LGBT films of 2017 and offer further illustration how movie critics have no ability to gauge the quality of films when they’re desperate to endorse the message (see our ABOUT ME). And while I understand the drive for normalization and stand ready to support the LGBT-community in many of their ventures for acceptance, as far as moviemaking goes, the LGBT-genre, like the Faith & Spirituality Genre, needs to make a conscious decision if they want to continue selling propaganda or whether they want to take the medium seriously and make something truly worth watching.
Call Me By Your Name (OUR REVIEW: B+ 🍅| RT SCORE: 95%, AVG. 8.7 🍅)
BPM (Beats Per Minute) (OUR REVIEW: B 🍅| RT SCORE: 98%, AVG. 7.9 🍅)
A Fantastic Woman (OUR REVIEW: B- 🍅| RT SCORE: 94%, AVG. 8.2 🍅)
Thelma (OUR REVIEW: C+👎| RT SCORE: 93%, AVG. 7.3 🍅)
Prof. Marston & the Wonder Woman (OUR REVIEW: C+👎| RT SCORE: 87%, AVG. 7.2 🍅)
Beach Rats (OUR REVIEW: C 👎| RT SCORE: 85%, Avg. 7.2 🍅)
Princess Cyd (OUR REVIEW: C 👎| RT SCORE: 92%, Avg. 7.7 🍅)
Battle of the Sexes (OUR REVIEW: C- 👎| RT SCORE: 85%, Avg. 7.2 🍅)
God’s Own Country (OUR REVIEW: C- 👎| RT SCORE: 99%, Avg. 8.2 🍅)
Women Who Kill (OUR REVIEW: D+ 👎| RT SCORE: 100%, Avg. 7.3 🍅)