Based on Naomi Alderman’s award-winning novel about forbidden lesbian love in the Orthodox Jewish community in London, Disobedience stars Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola. Directed by Chilean Sebastián Lelio, who wrote and directed the Oscar nominated A Fantastic Woman about a transgender singer, the screenplay is by Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
Weisz plays Ronit Krushka, McAdams is Esti Kuperman and Nivola is Rabbi Dovid Kuperman, Esti’s husband. The story follows Ronit, a bisexual 32-year-old non-practicing Orthodox Jew from London who is working in New York and having an affair with her married male boss. After the death of her estranged father, a rabbi, Ronit returns to London, where she was ostracised from the Orthodox Jewish community as a teenager because of her attraction to Esti. On returning home, Ronit finds her cousin Dovid, also a Rabbi, married to Esti and poised to take over from her father. Esti and Ronit’s passion reignites, forcing Esti to confront her feelings and her religious repression and fight for her personal freedom.
Author Naomi Alderman grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community in Hendon, London, and then moved to New York, where she told The Guardian she met orthodox gay and lesbian people “who had these terrible stories: rabbis who said if you didn’t marry and have children you were completing Hitler’s work."
Disobedience was published in 2006 when Alderman was in her early 30s and the novel received sharp criticism from the Orthodox Jewish community. Alderman told The Guardian that writing the novel caused her to question her faith and reject her religion. “I went into the novel religious and by the end I wasn’t. I wrote myself out of it."
Disobedience is scheduled for release in the USA in April, Australia in June and the UK in August.