Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s (A Fantastic Woman) English language debut is an emotionally complex drama set amongst the Orthodox Jewish community of North London. Ronit and Esti (Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams) are old friends and erstwhile secret lovers who are reunited when Ronit is forced to come home from New York when her father, a rabbi beloved of the community, dies suddenly. Esti has married Ronit’s cousin, the devout traditionalist Dovid (an excellent Alessandro Nivola), in her absence, a fact which complicates but doesn’t prevent them from resuming their high-stakes clandestine affair. With an unobtrusive, observational style and a muted colour palette reflective of the restrictive environment, Lelio contrasts the sense of duty and obedience Esti feels towards the increasingly suspicious Dovid with the exuberant moments of unbridled passion she finds with Ronit.
(Notes by David O’Mahony.)
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