Mary Magdalene trailer: Rooney Mara stars in this portrait of an oft-misunderstood character

Suryasarathi Bhattacharya

Dec,01 2017 19:40 14 IST

The Weinstein Company's much-awaited film and a possible major Oscar contender Mary Magdalene dropped its trailer this week. The film revolves around the life of the Biblical character Mary Magdalene (portrayed by Rooney Mara) and her relationship with Jesus (played by Joaquin Phoenix) and the other 12 apostles.

The trailer begins with Magdalene being banished from her family; her meeting with Jesus of Nazareth; and emergence as one of the most important names among Jesus's apostles and other followers after the crucifixion of Christ.

Still from Mary Magdalene. Screen grab via YouTube

Still from Mary Magdalene. Screen grab via YouTube

The film's official synopsis reads: "Mary Magdalene is an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history. The Biblical biopic tells the story of Mary (Rooney Mara), a young woman in search of a new way of living. Constricted by the hierarchies of the day, Mary defies her traditional family to join a new social movement led by the charismatic Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix). She soon finds a place for herself within the movement and at the heart of a journey that will lead to Jerusalem."

The trailer presents the story from Magdalene's perspective, an approach that most filmmakers have not adopted in the past, mainly owing to the reputation associated with this figure. She is named 12 times in the four Christian Gospels — more than most of the apostles. In many versions, Magdalene has often been described as a prostitute who was redeemed by Christ. In other versions, most popularly Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code, she has been portrayed as Christ's lover and bearer of his bloodline, which led to a controversy for obvious reasons.

Mary Magdalene seems to make an attempt to break norms and change perspectives by bringing a woman to the forefront of a story that is based on the most popular and most read-about man in living history. While scores of films have been made on Christ — The Passion of the Christ, The Last Temptation of Christ — Mary Magdalene does it differently. The trailer doesn't overtly hint at a possible romantic relationship between Magdalene and Christ, but presents it as undertones in the narrative, which is left for the viewer to interpret.

Director Garth Davis (whose previous venture was Lion with The Weinstein Company) and actress Rooney Mara bring forth a film that could be one of their careers' most important projects.

Jesus, is not the fair, almost clean shaven, blue-eyed, handsome, tall man of the picture conditioned in our subconsciousness but wears worn out clothes, has unkempt hair, greasy skin — attributes we can ascribe to a person who is constantly on the move. The shoot locales are also breath-taking; the director of photography, Greig Fraser, has done a brilliant job.

Mary Magdalene also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter and Tahar Rahim as Judas. It releases in American theaters on 30 March 2018, during Easter. Owing to the public disgrace and shaming that The Weinstein Company and its mogul Harvey Weinstein received after the accusations of sexual harassment against him emerged, the release of this film was delayed by a year.

Watch the trailer here:

Published Date: Dec 01, 2017 19:40 PM | Updated Date: Dec 01, 2017 19:40 PM