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Agora back to product details

Well-made film not afraid to take a stand
written by JKurlandski July 22, 2011 - 4:48 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
To see the film as merely "about" the clash between science and religion is to ignore the other elements of its storyline. The movie does not fall neatly into any category. Is it a romance? Not quite, since the love remains unrequited--or at least platonic and unconsummated. Is it a historical drama? Yes, but too much of the narrative is devoted to Hypatia's intellectual pursuits. For many people this last characteristic will be disconcerting, but it is essential to the development of her character.

The movie has strong, sympathetic characters of all religious stripes--pagan, Christian and Jew. It shows religious extremism for what it is--indifferently, even savagely, hostile both to individual freedom and to nuance. This is not pedantic; this is descriptive.

The screenplay is carefully written and the sets are beautiful to behold. The camera work does a fine job of supporting the plot and themes without being obtrusive. In other words, you don't really appreciate the camera work until the second viewing. Anyone with an interest in ancient times, the scientific process, or just good film making should give this movie a try.

Filmmaking At Its Most Pedantic
written by Hallucination March 17, 2011 - 1:45 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
The story of real historical figure Hypatia, a female philosopher/scientist from ancient Alexandria, is undoubtedly a compelling one. But this script instead turns her struggle into a belabored exercise in beating the audience to death with its unremarkable point about science versus religious fanaticism. It's a topic that's been well-explored, and in far more subtle, nuanced fashion than this movie, which often comes across like a bad college paper. I'm an atheist, and even I was bothered by the rabid cartoonishness of the film's Christians, whose portrayal wholly lacked depth or complexity. Rachel Weisz labors like Hercules to bring her character to life, but the script is so focused on making her into a symbol that she's reduced to playing a Roman statue in a crowd of other marble busts. Don't waste your time on this one.


(Average 5.33)
9 Votes
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