A historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hope of pursuing freedom while falling in love with his mistress, the famous philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria.
Alexandria, 391 AD: Hypatia teaches astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy. Her student Orestes is in love with her, as is Davus, her personal slave. As the city's Christians, led by Ammonius and Cyril, gain political power, the institutions of learning may crumble along with the governance of slavery. Jump ahead 20 years: Orestes, the city's prefect, has an uneasy peace with Christians, led by Cyril. A group from the newly empowered Christians has now taken to enforce their cultural hegemony zealously; first they see the Jews as their obstacle, then nonbelievers. Hypatia has no interest in faith; she's concerned about the movement of celestial bodies and "the brotherhood of all". Although her former slave doesn't see it that way. Written by
Filmed in Fort Ricasoli, Malta, which was also used for Caesar (2002), Helen of Troy (2003) and Troy (2004). The set was built in the same spot where the Coliseum was built for Gladiator (2000). See more »
Synesius died in 413, two years before Hypatia. In the movie, he survives her. See more »
[Looks up at night sky]
If I could just unravel this just a little bit more, and just get a little closer to the answer, then... Then I would go to my grave a happy woman.
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The acting is fantastic but the script does not have any respect for the material.
Unfocused look at the beginning of the dark ages has a dedicated cast of actors working with basically nothing in terms of a coherent plot. Rachel Weisz does extraordinary work with what she has but she's doing more than she should have in terms of the script she is working with and it shows because while the movie struggles with its incoherent plot, Weisz gamely gives it the strong characterization it needs. Fortunately for Weisz and the audience, she is surrounded by equally dedicated actors who bring more to their characters and the script as well with Max Minghella, Ashraf Barhom and Oscar Isaac each giving more to the material they are working with. Which is a shame because if the film had a tighter script that focus more on the age and time the film was set in, the film would have been much better off than it is right now. As it is, its more a lesson on how good acting can be blindsided by weak material than a lesson on what the age was about.
5/10 (For the acting only)
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