Apostasy review - a devastating trial of family versus faith
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Verdict: One of the best British films of the year
Apostasy is a quietly shattering debut from writer/director Dan Kokotajlo, offering a revelatory insight into the lives of three Jehovah’s Witnesses from Manchester. A rare cinematic perspective as is, yet rarer still are the inner components at play: the trio in question are a single mother and her two daughters, while Kokotajlo himself is a former Witness, relaying various memories from his devout upbringing into the film’s narrative. As such, the result is a bold and moving account of coming to terms with a contentious yet intimate part of one’s identity. We first meet Alex (Molly Wright), the younger of the sisters, praying to Jehovah for forgiveness. Though wide-eyed and quiet, she is unquestionably dedicated to her spirituality. When not at church meetings, she, her sister Luisa (Sacha Parkinson) and stony-eyed mother Ivanna (Siobhan Finneran) can be found handing out pamphlets on the streets of Oldham, or practising Urdu in order to spread the word to the local Muslim community. It is also revealed that Alex suffers from anaemia and is in need of a blood transfusion - something her religion strictly prohibits. An exasperated doctor tries to reason with Alex on the matter, but the devoted eighteen-year-old cannot be swayed.
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