2017 United Kingdom. 1hr 35 mins Cert: PG
Director: Daniel Kokotajlo
Daniel Kokotajlo’s debut screenplay and film about life among a religious community of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Oldham is authentic, sensitive and subtle but has a sledgehammer narrative punch.
The director grew up in a Jehovah’s Witness family before leaving the faith whilst at college and his writing - detached but calmly observant and sympathetic - is evidently based on a real knowledge of this culture, invisible to outsiders.
Siobhan Finneran plays Ivanna, a middle-aged woman firmly in the JW faith in which failure to believe can get you ‘shunned’ or ‘disfellowshipped’. She has two teenage daughters living at home, the elder of whom is at college. She becomes pregnant by her unbelieving boyfriend, whilst the younger develops a relationship with a young man, an up and coming elder in the faith. Family tensions become unbearable. The performances of the three female leads are tremendous, and all the more moving for their restraint. ‘Apostasy’ depicts this emotional turmoil in an extremely intelligent and gripping drama.