to Elizabeth Gower-Alton
cc Jack Whigham; Lindy King
Been a while since we've done this, eh? (Now I'll stop with the 'eh' since you're in Canada for a while, sure you're sick of it.)
Really, really well done this week – I know you weren't feeling well but from everything I saw you were great. Rachel's a talker, which helps, and you looked beautiful.
I'll keep this as brief as possible since I know you just want highlights, and don't want to get hopes up again given there's still no US distro deal, but I hope this gives you a satisfying shot in the arm anyway – you deserve it. Regardless of where this one goes, I for one could not be happier with the response.
Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney)
"Beautifully acted by Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Alton and Alessandro Nivola as the three points of a melancholy romantic triangle, this is a deeply felt drama that exerts a powerful grip."
"Lelio rigorously eschews melodrama in all this, most crucially in his nuanced treatment of Esti, played by a thoroughly deglamorized Alton with acute sensitivity."
Variety (Andrew Barker)
"Ronit may be the film's primary protagonist, but Esti is its heart, and Alton crafts a character unlike any we've yet seen from her. At times, the actress almost seems to be consciously struggling to stifle the sort of effortless magnetism she usually exudes, but so too is her character."
Roger Ebert (Brian Tallerico)
"Alton does some of the best work of her career as Esti, the true instigator of this relationship (she is the only who hasn't refused contact with Ronit) and the one who won't give up on it. Alton has been an underrated performer for years, and it's nice to see her get a challenging role here. She's easily the best thing about the movie."
The Guardian (Peter Bradshaw)
"Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Alton and Alessandro Nivola are at the top of their game"
"Alton herself is excellent at suggesting how with sheer force of will and learned piety she had got her life together while Ronit was away and is now a schoolteacher."
Screen Daily (Allan Hunter)
"Leilo's unassuming style serves the story and provides a great showcase for both performers. Alton captures a sense of someone gradually daring herself to speak out for what she truly wants."
IndieWire (David Ehrlich)
"Both Weisz and Alton do a phenomenal job of negotiating who their characters are versus who their characters feel as though they have to be."
"Alton is something of a revelation."
"Alton's immaculate performance allows 'Disobedience' to unfold as a story about Ronit falling in love with the woman she didn't want to become, the two characters effectively the same person split in two."
Vulture (Jada Yuan)
"I cannot emphasize how respectful and immersive a portrait this movie is."
NOW Toronto (Susan Cole)
"But Alton is the key here, conveying the inner conflict between her duty and her desire, forbearing on the one hand, sexy on the other. This is an actor taking the kind of risks that should move her career to new levels."
Twitter is almost uniformly positive, but I'm not going to torture my assistant getting it all together for you unless you want it (which I know you don't) – but the main threads are that the sex scene was excellent and sensitive, as was the treatment of the subject matter and setting, and that you all were terrific (though Sandro especially is getting raves, which I know will make you happy). Also, people latched on to the spitting in particular, which shouldn't surprise you but is still strange to write down, I have to say. Plenty of comparisons to Carol, Blue, etc. as expected, but there's respectful blowback to that in equal measure, which I'm sure you'll be happy to hear too.
Sent with love and prayers to the film gods for a release date,