Check out the trailer below.
In the First Century A.D., the free-spirited Mary (Mara) flees the marriage her family has arranged for her, finding a sense of purpose in a radical new movement led by the charismatic, defiant preacher Jesus of Nazareth (Phoenix). The sole woman among his band of disciples, Mary defies the prejudices of her patriarchal society. She undergoes a profound spiritual awakening, drawing her into conflict with Jesus’s apostles Peter (Ejiofor) and Judas (Tahar Rahim), and finds herself at the center of an earth-shaking historical moment.”
Read more about it. I’m putting this on my “must-see” list for Easter.
Meantime, some less-than-rapturous reviews from its European release last year:
From The Guardian:
This movie, from screenwriters Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett and director Garth Davis, sets itself a bold task: to rescue Mary Magdalene from an age-old tradition of patriarchal condescension and misinterpretation. And yet it winds up embracing a solemn, softly-spoken and slow-moving Christian piety of its own…The drama plausibly suggests that Mary was a fiercely intelligent, resourceful woman who rejected the male norms of marriage and children laid down for her, and insisted on following Jesus. This was what caused her to be (at least initially) condemned as mad or possessed: it is entirely convincing. When she takes up her new position among the apostles, the film suggests that she does indeed become a favourite pupil, permitted à deux confidences on hillsides. But all this means for Mary is doing an awful lot of enlightened gazing at Jesus, who in turn does a good deal of infinitely knowing smiles back at her, while their dialogue is muted and restrained.
Mary Magdalene sets out to retrace Christ’s ministry from its title character’s perspective, recognising her as his unsung 13th apostle in the process, while rebuffing the persistent myth, first put about by Pope Gregory in 591, that she was a repentant prostitute. An unexpectedly austere, solemn follow-up to Lion, Mary Magdalene neither breaks your heart nor grabs your throat. Instead, it goes straight for the forehead: it is a brow-furrower and a temple-rubber, best mulled over at a remove.
Hushed, deliberate and realized with considerable care and beauty, the resulting film has its heart entirely in the right place; its pulse, unfortunately, is far harder to locate. Three decades on from Scorsese’s exquisite, fire-starting “The Last Temptation of Christ,” then, “Mary Magdalene” can’t help but look cautiously conservative by comparison, despite its ostensible freshness of perspective. There’s some gentle rearrangement of Biblical history, and a reframing of Judas Iscariot’s narrative that works well in large part because Tahar Rahim, watchful and mournful in equal measure as Jesus’s traitor, gives the film’s most riveting performance by some distance.