Judea, 33 AD. Mary is a faithful young girl from the village of Magdala (close to Galilea Lake) unsure to follow the traditions and destiny reserved to the women, living only as wife and mother, in her wish to be free. After to reject a marriage proposal of Ephraim, a family friend, her brother Daniel and her father Elisha make her an exorcism in the belief that she is possessed by a demon. Trying to find a solution Elisha asks help Jesus, a healer who is earning fame between the Jews of the zone with his speeches about a kingdom of peace and love free of hate, tyranny, oppression and prosecution, to heal Mary and that finally she obeys and submits to their will. Astonished by the charisma, personality and words of Jesus, Mary decides to follow him despite the strong opposition of her family. She meets a few men who too walk with Jesus as Peter, Andrew, James, John and Judas, who have their personal interests and ideas about Jesus' words and his revolution. At the same time that Mary ...Written by
Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix have worked together in Her (2013), Mary Magdalene (2018) and Don't worry, He won't get far on foot (2018). They started dating during the production of Mary Magdalene in 2016. See more »
And she asked him, "What will it be like? The kingdom?" And he said, "It is like a seed, a single grain of mustard seed, which a woman took and sowed in her garden. And it grew and it grew. And the birds of the air made nests in its branches."
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"Lirot Hashamayim" and "B'Zteit"
Written by Sophia Brous
Performed by members of the cast See more »
Despite the lukewarm/average reviews, part of me was very intrigued in watching 'Mary Magdalene'. The cast, with the talents of Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix and Chiwetel Ejiofor and director were enough to want to see the film, and also wanted to see how the different perspective the film shows would fare.
'Mary Magdalene' turned out to be a disappointment and didn't really connect with me. For me, it is a difficult film to rate and review with obvious strengths and even more obvious problems. Can totally see the divisive reactions, why the rating here is not great, why it's garnered a lot of hate or mixed feelings here (as well the odd positivity) and why the critical reception was average, things that also made me apprehensive seeing the film.
Starting with the strengths, 'Mary Magdalene' on the most part looks wonderful. It's beautifully shot and has production design and costumes that are like looking at a painting. The music added a good deal to the atmosphere, with haunting moments and providing an emotional resonance that was not there elsewhere.
Rooney Mara is an expressive and affecting Mary, and while Joaquin Phoenix was a strange choice for Jesus his portrayal is both touching and intense. Chiwetel Ejiofor and particularly Tahar Rahim provide strong supporting turns. There are a few interesting ideas, like the betrayal by Judas.
However, there is not much new or illuminating here, even approaching the subject from a different viewpoint, and found myself never connecting with it emotionally. On that front 'Mary Magdalene' was a pretty cold and passionless experience.
A feeling that was further accentuated by rambling writing, curiously lethargic direction and a very elephantine pace where a lot of the film drags and feels self-indulgent. The ending was rushed, just as problematic when that is the point of the film where the emotion and passion should be strongest. The editing tended to be choppy, almost like there was more to the film that was cut down.
In summary, beautiful to look at and more than competently acted, but lacking emotional or dramatic impact and illuminating ideas and very dull. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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