Directed by Garth Davis ('Lion' and 'Top of the Lake') and set in the Holy Land in the first century C.E., a young woman (Rooney Mara) 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 (Joaquin Phoenix), who promises that the world is changing. Mary is searching for a new way of living, and an authenticity that is denied her by the rigid hierarchies of the day. As the notoriety of the group spreads and more are drawn to follow Jesus' inspirational message, Mary's spiritual journey places her at the heart of a story that will lead to the capital city of Jerusalem, where she must confront the reality of Jesus' destiny and her own place within it.
Unlike the majority of broadsheet negative reviews, I thought this film was excellent.
- Mary Magdalene review by PT
Rooney Mara plays the part of Mary Magdalene, a woman who gave up everything for her devotion and love for Jesus. This devotion and love is captured brilliantly by Mara in her wonderful expressions when she is with the messiah. Now officially recognised by the Vatican as an apostle of the apostles, ie, an equal to the male apostles, this film depicts that accurately. In a world that is totally male dominated, Mara plays Mary as a voice that will be heard, keeping her humility and femininity simultaneously.
Phoenix plays the best Jesus that I have seen, combining the supernatural parabolic Jesus perfectly with the anxious vulnerability of the human psyche. The miracle scenes are in my opinion the best brought to screen, with the raising of Lazurus being exceptional, frighteningly beautiful.