Yes. We’ve all heard about Sex & the City 2 and The Prince of Persia,but how about a little known gem like Agora? This independent film, featuring an excellent performance by Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, is indeed a thinking person’s movie. The film succeeds at portraying Hypatia’s passion for teaching and learning, but fails to explain exactly why the nascent Christianity is genuinely appealing. The early Christians in the film are depicted as menacing, stone-throwing thugs who will attack anyone who does not swear allegiance to Christ. The pagans and Jews who oppose them are not painted in a much better light, it must be said, but a more convincing argument about why Christianity was appealing to so many in the late 4th and early 5th Century A.D. in Alexandria would have been appreciated. Oscar Isaacs and Max Minghella are standouts as Orestes and Davus, whose love for Hypatia is palpable, but whose respective political and religious needs are equally potent.
It would be easy to dismiss this film as anti-Christian if it weren’t for the fact that intolerance and arrogance is shown by all quarters.More important are the questions raised about how far one is willing to go to pursue knowledge or freedom, the equality of the sexes (indeed it shows simply how difficult it was for a woman to stand up for herself without a man to protect her), the true nature of tolerance and spirituality. Another point related to gender quality brought out by this film .
He and his real life former wife, Sandrine Kiberlain, shine as two shy people who find love. I look forward to seeing this one since I haven’t seen Mr. Lindon’s work since L’etudiante . One commentator from the NY Times said “This remarkable movie is everything Sex and the City is not. Intelligent, delicate, understated and yes, deeply sensual.”