Agora | Chicago Reader


Rated NR 127 minutes 2009

Rachel Weisz stars as Hypatia, a fourth-century philosopher whose school in the famous Library of Alexandria is the only ecumenical institution in a city riven by sectarian violence among pagans, Jews, and Christians. Hypatia believes only in science—especially astronomy—so she has no time for would-be suitors in her religiously diverse, all-male student body. But even as she makes giant, heretical strides in celestial mechanics, the rising violence of Christian fanaticism threatens to destroy the library if not the entire city. Writer-director Alejandro Amenábar (The Sea Inside) deserves credit for having some intellectual ambition, but this Spanish-produced period drama is pretty dreadful: the drama is torpid, the astronomy lessons pedantic, and the spear-and-sandal production values flat-out cheesy. The whole thing is also historically ludicrous, but that's a separate matter and no points were deducted.

Film Credits

Director: Alejandro Amenábar

Producer: Álvaro Augustín, Fernando Bovaira, Simón de Santiago and Jaime de Artiñano

Cast: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ashraf Barhom, Michael Lonsdale, Rupert Evans, Richard Durden, Sami Samir, Manuel Cauchi, Homayoun Ershadi, Oshri Cohen, Yousef Sweid, Harry Borg and Charles Thake

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