Mary Magdalene (2018)


Mary Magdalene (2018)

Judea, 33 AD. Mary is a faithful young girl from the village of Magdala (close to Galilea Lake) unsure to follow the traditions and destiny reserved to the women, living only as wife and mother, in her wish to be free. After to reject a marriage proposal of Ephraim, a family friend, her brother Daniel and her father Elisha make her an exorcism in the belief that she is possessed by a demon. Trying to find a solution Elisha asks help Jesus, a healer who is earning fame between the Jews of the zone with his speeches about a kingdom of peace and love free of hate, tyranny, oppression and prosecution, to heal Mary and that finally she obeys and submits to their will. Astonished by the charisma, personality and words of Jesus, Mary decides to follow him despite the strong opposition of her family. She meets a few men who too walk with Jesus as Peter, Andrew, James, John and Judas, who have their personal interests and ideas about Jesus' words and his revolution. At the same time that Mary feels more passionate about Jesus and his vision of the world and people, Peter starts to feel a progressive resentment to her, in the belief that Mary's presence in the group weakens Jesus and his message, who each time pays more attention to her. Arriving at Jerusalem, Jesus and his apostles try to transmit the message against Roman Empire and Jews' authorities, but the events soon will turn dramatically against Jesus, as well as the confrontation between Mary and Peter about Jesus' not only will change they both, too will change the whole world.
IMDb   5.9 /10
Metacritic   48 %
TheMovieDb    6.2 /10
FilmAffinity   5.7 /10
Director Garth Davis
Writer Helen Edmundson
Writer Philippa Goslett
Release Date2018-03-15
Runtime2h 0min
GenreBiography, Drama
Content RatingR (R)
AwardsAwards2 wins & 5 nominations
CompanySee-Saw Films, Porchlight Films, Universal Pictures International Production (UPIP)
CountryUK, Australia, USA
LanguageEnglish, Hebrew
Mary Magdaleneas Mary Magdalene
Jesusas Jesus
Judasas Judas
Rachelas Rachel
Danielas Daniel
Susannahas Susannah
Elishaas Elisha
Andrewas Andrew
Jamesas James
Josephas Joseph
Philipas Philip
Leahas Leah
Ephraimas Ephraim
Matthewas Matthew
Thomasas Thomas
Mother Maryas Mother Mary
Aaronas Aaron

Mary Magdalene (2018 film)

Mary Magdalene is a 2018 biblical drama film about the woman of the same name, written by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett and directed by Garth Davis. It stars Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Tahar Rahim.

The film had its world premiere at the National Gallery on February 26, 2018. It was released in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2018, by Universal Pictures, in Australia on March 22, 2018, by Transmission Films, and in the United States on April 12, 2019, by IFC Films. It is the last film score completed by composer Jóhann Jóhannsson before his death.


In the year AD 30 when Judea was under the control of the Roman Empire, a woman named Mary from the small town of Magdala begins to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Her family and father try to interfere with her departing from her home, but she sends them away. She accepts baptism from Jesus and accepts his charge for her and the other apostles to baptize in the name of the Father. She appears to be fully as one with the other apostles in asserting the authority of the spirit of Jesus working through her on behalf of the followers of Jesus.

This causes conflict with the other male disciples, including Saint Peter. Mary follows Jesus all the way to the Crucifixion and Resurrection. In the end she is accepted by Peter as a faithful follower of Jesus. Peter accepts her report of the resurrection of Jesus and encourages the other apostles to also accept her message of the Resurrection and to proclaim it as part of the kerygma and good news proclaimed by Jesus as consistent with his ministry when he was alive. In the closing captions, Mary is first identified as having been called a common prostitute by the early church in the first millennium. In the third millennium, she has come to be accepted as one of the followers of Jesus who was among the twelve apostles and together with them.


  • Rooney Mara as Mary Magdalene
  • Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus Christ
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter
  • Tahar Rahim as Judas
  • Sarah-Sofie Boussnina as Martha, Mary's friend
  • Hadas Yaron as Sarah
  • Lubna Azabal as Susannah
  • Lior Raz as Magdala Community Leader
  • Ryan Corr as Joseph
  • Tchéky Karyo as Elisha, Mary's father
  • Jacopo Olmo Antinori as Magdala Man
  • Shira Haas as Leah
  • Uri Gavriel as Philip
  • David Schofield as Thomas
  • Charles Babalola as Andrew
  • Tawfeek Barhom as James
  • Tzachi Halevy as Ephraim, a potential suitor for Mary
  • Zohar Strauss as John
  • Michael Moshonov as Matthew
  • Ariane Labed as Rachel
  • Theo Theodoridis as Lazarus
  • Denis Ménochet as Daniel, Mary's brother
  • Irit Sheleg as Mary, Jesus's mother


In February 2016, Rooney Mara joined the cast of the film portraying the role of Mary Magdalene, with Garth Davis directing the film, Universal Pictures, Film4 Productions and See-Saw Films will co-produce the film, with Iain Canning and Emile Sherman serving as producers. In April 2016, Mara's partner Joaquin Phoenix was in talks to portray the role of Jesus Christ. In July 2016, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim joined the cast of the film. In September 2016, Hadas Yaron joined the cast of the film. Hildur Guðnadóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson composed the film's score, the latter's final score before his death in February 2018.

Principal photography began on October 3, 2016 and concluded on December 2, 2016. The film was shot in Rome and in multiple locations in Southern Italy including Matera in Basilicata, Gravina in Puglia in Apulia, Trapani in Sicily and Naples in Campania.


In February 2016, it was reported that The Weinstein Company would distribute the film. It was originally scheduled to be released in the United States and Canada on November 24, 2017. In August 2017, the release was pushed back to March 30, 2018. In January 2018, it was pulled from the schedule. In March 2018, it was announced The Weinstein Company would no longer distribute the film, and the producers were attempting to find another distributor to release the film. IFC Films distributed the film in the United States on April 12, 2019.

The film had its world premiere at the National Gallery on February 26, 2018. It screened at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival on February 28, 2018. It was released in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2018, and in Australia on March 22, 2018.


According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 44%, based on 111 reviews, with an average rating of 5.55/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Mary Magdalene has obvious reverence for its subject; unfortunately, it lacks enough momentum or depth of character to make her story interesting." At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

Nick Allen of gave Mary Magdalene 4 stars, calling it "an extraordinary film" and writing that it "moved me in a way that no previous film about Christianity ever has."


AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)ResultRef(s)
AACTA Awards3 December 2018Best ActressRooney MaraNominated
Best Original Music ScoreHildur Guðnadóttir, Jóhann JóhannssonNominated
Best Costume DesignJacqueline DurranNominated
Asia Pacific Screen Awards29 November 2018Best ActressRooney MaraNominated
Best Original ScoreHildur Guðnadóttir, Jóhann JóhannssonWon