Comes Easter usually come a slew of Christianity films. MARY MAGDALENE is one of them that does not have the Christian faith directly as a theme. Mary Magdalene is one of the women who encountered Jesus of Nazareth in the Bible.
Besides being set in Biblical times and a film that has Jesus as a subject, there are other reasons that might attract moviegoers to MARY MAGDALENE. The film features two stars Rooney Mara and Joachim Phoenix who normally play shit disturbers – Mara in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and Phoenix in INHERENT VICE and YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, now playing a super good Mary and the Son of God, Jesus.
Though Mary is believed by may to be a reformed prostitute, no such mention of this fact is evident i any part of the film. When the film begins, Mary is seen delivering a bay saving the mothers life before being offered as a bride to a man she does not love. She declines to continue the typical mother and wife role set in her village of those times. Mary and her village are under the rule of King Herod, which the audience is informed is a puppet ruler of the Roans who has beheaded John the Baptist for preaching the Kingdom of God. The Mary Magdalene character is present in the 4 Gospels of the new Testament that account for the life of Jesus on Earth. The life of Jesus is in the background in the film with Mary as the protagonist.
The film’s setting is Galilee. The cinematography is impressive and most of the scenes are spectacular to look at – with the lake in the background (according to the press notes) or sea (according to the Bible).
MARY MAGDALENE fails for a number of reasons for two main reason – the miscasting and the fact that thesis one boring film. Whenever Mara appears, despite her angelic face, one can always recall her bad ass roles. The same can be said for Phoenix only worse. It is totally laughable when Phoenix as Jesus starts preaching doing good deeds. Director Davis also sues the film to promote the feminine cause – the role of women in society. The film drags on with event after event that does not really connect the audience with the narrative. No one really cares if Mary fall in love or marries her soul mate either.
The film has an eclectic cast that includes Tahar Rah as Judas Iscariot, Tcheky Karyi as Elisha and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples (I did not know Peter was black and that Judas was Arab). One can understand current films striving to be politically correct to further the causes of feminism and racism.
For MARY MAGDALENE – see it for what it is worth, which is not much. Better to spend your money on Easter eggs!