“Mary Magdalene” (Focus)

By Catholic News Service

Respectful but off-key profile of the biblical saint (Rooney Mara) portrays her decision to join the Apostles in following Jesus (Joaquin Phoenix) as a feminist gesture of rebellion against her family and their effort to force her into an arranged marriage.

St. Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) comes off as an egotistical villain in director Garth Davis’ drama while Judas (Tahar Rahim) is depicted as well-intentioned but misguided. Phoenix’s Savior, moreover, has the cadences of a beat poet and the demeanor of a Dennis Hopper character from the 1960s trying to explain the meaning of life to squares.

Mature religious themes requiring discernment, some gruesome and gory images. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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