MARY MAGDALENE is an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history. The biblical biopic tells the story of Mary (Rooney Mara), a young woman in search of a new way of living. Constricted by the hierarchies of the day, Mary defies her traditional family to join a new social movement led by the charismatic Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix). She soon finds a place for herself within the movement and at the heart of a journey that will lead to Jerusalem. Written by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett, MARY MAGDALENE also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim.
Joaquin Pheonix as Jesus – yeah I can see that. This is a really thought-provoking film that seeks to reverse the tarnished reputation that befell Mary Magdalene, one of the key identities in the life of Christ, who was branded a prostitute by Pope Gregory the (not so) Great in 591.
It was not until 2016 that the Church accepted that she played a significant role in spreading the word of the Lord.
Reluctant to marry she runs away to follow the prophet against her family’s wishes. In Jesus aka Rabbi, she finds a spiritual man who looks set to lead an uprising.
At least thats what some of his disciples believe but Mary interprets his teachings more accurately, understanding the innate truth about the kingdom we carry within ourselves
Part of the film feels truly boring, other parts hauntingly spiritual.
It is a slow road to Jerusalem to the temple where Jesus causes an upset before being persecuted by the Romans.
Most of the well known story beats are ticked off here – some miracles, crucifixion, the resurrection.
The film kicks off with incredible footage of a sinking person (a little like the haunting image of the falling man from 9/11) before filling in the broad strokes about Mary’s past, prior to meeting the great man.
Judas is played with troubled perfection by Tahar Rahim and Peter appears petulant when Mary gets between him and the Lord.
It is a trippy film, a strange beast that tells an unusual tale. Man things really were different 2000 years ago.
I struggled to believe the events at the start and it is no Lion, but it genuinely has some truly revolutionary moments.
In the genre of religious drama, Scorsese’s Silence offered far more drama and narrative to go with similarly contemplative themes.
3 Stars “Thought-Provoking”