Written by Mateo Gill and Alejandro Amenabar
Directed by Alejandro Amenabar
Starring Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella and Oscar Isaac
In 391 A.D., people still believed that the Earth was not only flat but that it was also the center of the universe and that the sun, along with the other wanderers, known to the Pagan Greeks of the time as the other planets, revolved around the Earth. How could one not have an ego with beliefs like that? It has been over 1600 years since then and it’s strange to see that AGORA director, Alejandro Amenabar, still has a bit of that same ego driving his filmmaking.
Generally considered to be the first female authority of mathematics and astronomy, Greek philosopher, Hypatia (played by a bold but overly confident Rachel Weisz), has always tried to teach her pupils that all humans are brothers; that between three people, if two of them are are of the same mind, then so is the third as this is what bonds them as brothers. Increasing shifts in religious beliefs shatter her faith as she must be subjected to watch the quickly growing Christianity crush her Paganism and move on past that to Judaism in Egypt, one of the last thriving places in the Roman Empire. The story is both huge in scope and vision but it is dragged down by focusing on the the petty problems of the people and the often poor acting performances afforded to these plotlines.
One automatically sees the correlation between religion being a serious driving force in keeping man divided, often violently, both then and now. Amenabar tells his story with such grandiose gusto though that it seems his ego is just too big to see that his point is monumental only to him and not only obvious to the rest of us but wearing thin as well.