with …: Rachel Weisz Has a Big Surprise

Ms. Weisz’s character, a photographer named Ronit now living in New York, comes back for her father’s funeral and gets ensorcelled by her old love, Esti, who is now married to the rabbi’s protégé, Dovid, played by Alessandro Nivola. The movie focuses both on this taboo triangle and the fraught father-daughter relationship in a closed society where women are not in charge of their choices, wearing wigs and often segregated from men — a world Ronit denounces as “medieval.”

“My character time-travels in a way,” Ms. Weisz says. “She’s going back to her childhood but it’s also time travel because she’s going to live amongst a community where the mores haven’t changed for hundreds of years. They’re not part of modern life. They don’t have the internet or TV and all that stuff. And I grew up down the road from this place. It’s four stops north of Golders Green, which was my stop, so I would see these people sometimes on the way to school. It’s like the ’50s, but it’s happening right now.”

Ms. Weisz’s late mother, a teacher turned therapist, was Catholic and convent-schooled but a refugee from Vienna because her father was Jewish. Ms. Weisz’s father, an engineer and inventor, came from a Jewish Orthodox family in Budapest, and he also fled the Nazis, moving with his parents to London as a child.

“They met in their late 30s, early 40s, got married and they were like, ‘Oh, we’re both from Central Europe’ and she converted to marry him,” Ms. Weisz says.

Ms. McAdams said of her co-star, “I remember her telling me her mom put her in dresses as a kid but her hair would be a total mess and her knees scraped up and she’d be off playing in the dirt. I feel like that little kid is still in her. She’s this gorgeous, timeless, poised, wickedly smart beauty, but she likes to keep things messy and unexpected.”

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