Film Review: Mary Magdalene (2018)

This isn’t on my initial must-watch list this month mainly because it’s obviously all religious and stuff. See, I tend to veer away from the crazy topic that is religion. The thing is, its trailer got to me. I loved that they picked Rooney Mara to play the titular role and it’s been ages since I’ve seen Rooney on the big screen.

Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene is one that is almost free of misconception. One that contradicted previous portrayals of Mary of Magdala in pop culture. Mary here is a strong-willed woman with unwavering faith to her God. ‘Shaming’ her family by defying an arranged marriage, Mary decides to leave them and follow Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix).

The film easily cultivated Mara’s greatest strength as she is thoroughly affecting and her eyes speaks to you – no long dialogues necessary.

I loved that we see Phoenix’s Jesus here as more human – grittier in a way. I loved that aspect of humanizing (normalizing) such a divine being.

Tahar Rahim played Judas like an uber-eager puppy invoking sympathy like no other Judas in the past films. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter was surprisingly too strong here almost to the point of being unlikable. I find it interesting that the usual personality depicted in films’ past got switched here.

As a controversial and mostly misunderstood figure in the bible, the Mary Magdalene that we got here is a symbol of power. It could be an eye-opener for so many devout but perhaps not in the spiritual level. It wasn’t as visually strong nor very thought provoking but it trudge our thoughts about believing and faith in more ways than one.

Director: Garth Davis
Cast: Roonet Mara, Joaquin Pheonix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tahar Rahim, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Hadas Yaron, Lubna Azabal, Lior Raz, Ryan Corr, Shira Haas, Uri Gavriel, Charles Babalola, Tawfeek Barhom, Tzachi Halevy, Zohar Shtrauss, Michael Moshonov, Ariane Labed, Giovanni Cirfiera

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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