Mary Magdalene Reviewed By Jarred Tito

The Premise
The story of Mary Magdalene - from the Academy Award producers of The King's Speech. Set in the Holy Land in the first century C.E., a young woman leaves her small fishing village and traditional family behind to join a radical new social movement. At its head is a charismatic leader, Jesus of Nazareth, who promises that the world is changing.

The Review
A heartwarming, alternative view of Mary Magdalene which shows not only a possible backstory of the biblical figure but also reveals a perspective of Jesus Christ that will, no doubt, draw both admires and critics alike, as we see a very human and social side to Jesus that is seldom seen at the movies.

Of all the New Testament narratives that have been adapted to popular film, Garth Davis’s film,’ Mary Magdalene’, is possibly one of the boldest in its portrayal of some of the acts of Jesus Christ. Unlike previous ‘Jesus’ movies, there is no evidence to suggest any attempts of proselytization or the converting of people’s thoughts or beliefs. For all purposes, as the title suggests, this story is about the life of Mary Magdalene. However, as is often the case when dealing with such a huge historical figure [and beyond] such as Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene’s story is given its true value only when measured against that of Jesus’. And by this I simply mean, would we know about Mary Magdalene if we didn’t know about Jesus Christ? Therefore, the film’s focus is not necessarily on Mary Magdalene but on how she reacts to Jesus, his teachings and miracles. It is also set around her relationships with his Disciples and in particular, Peter and Judas. It is within the forum of these relationships that Mary’s life and story is told and also defined.

Rooney Mara, ironically, plays an almost Christ-like figure herself as she depicts the alternative story of Mary Magdalene. Her character, from an early age, is portrayed as being one of enormous compassion, resolute in her beliefs and devotion to those in need, strong in leadership and opinion, and willing to face any perdition and trial, including death. She is not the prostitute rescued by Christ [from the marauding market mob and religious leaders of the day attempted to have her stoned to death or alternatively, the woman that had several demons cast out of her]. But instead, she is a woman of passion and strength. Whether her character portrayal, in this film, puts her historical figure in a better light or not is ultimately subject to the viewer and theologians. [there is no real biblical evidence to support either of them]

For me, the pathway of forgiveness that the “popular’ New Testament Mary Magdalene experienced, is still significant but not necessarily an accurate view but that’s just an opinion. However, if the intent of the film is to portray a woman in a more significant role of influence then it will achieve that. However, it seems that either version of her life, be it as a prostitute or an influential disciple, has likely to have had, and will continue to have, a major effect over the teachings of Christianity.

Irrespective of what individuals believe about who she really was, it was certainly a good experience seeing her as a major character. Equally, Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Jesus Christ was one of the better performances that I have seen. Sure, he’s a little older than thirty and he would probably make a great John the Baptist roaming the desert, but he truly put his heart and ‘soul’ into the role and as a result lifted the quality of the film to a ‘higher’ level.            

The Verdict
A striking film that holds both an ethereal and grounded experience of what it might have been like to have journeyed with Jesus Christ. Certainly, a film that will require an open mind at times, but definitely not one that you will have to ask forgiveness for enjoying ­čśë.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 22nd March 2018
Rating: M – Contains adult themes
Duration: 120 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Director: Garth Davis (Lion, Top Of the Lake)

The Extras
Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix started dating during the production of this film.

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara previously played a married couple in Her (2013).

Last film score by composer J├│hann J├│hannsson.

Rooney Mara, director Garth Davis and producer Harvey Weinstein all three previously collaborated on Lion (2016).

With the released date has pulled due to Weinstein's scandal other studios including Fox Searchlight, Focus Features, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and Netflix was negotiations to distribute.