MARY MAGDALENE

Cert 12A 119mins Stars 3

This revisionist account of the last days of Jesus is a thoughtful, sombre and respectful discussion of scripture in a modern context.

It’s told from the view of Mary Magdalene who was maligned for millennia as a prostitute, until 2016 when she was officially recognised as true apostle by the Vatican.

I wish it had been braver in pursuing this intriguing and potentially controversial premise.

Rooney Mara is compelling as Mary, who rejects an arranged marriage and undergoes a political and religious awakening in the company of Jesus and his disciples.

She shares a deep spiritual connection with Christ, who is played as a shamanic saviour by Joaquin Phoenix. Interestingly a physical toll is exerted as Jesus performs his miracles such as raising Lazarus from the dead.

We see the blood-soaked crucifixion in an impressively sized Jerusalem. But the crowds are thin, the mighty Roman Empire is suggested rather than seen and there’s little in the way of epic spectacle. 

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