Agora (2009) Film Review


Set in Alexandria in late 4th century Egypt, Agora is based around the life of philosopher and mathematician Hypatia (Rachel Weisz). She is obsessed with her learning and teaching, finding more meaning in this than the religious battles that go on in the city. Several of her students become key players in the fights; first Christians against Pagans, then Christians against Jews. The fighting is bloody and aggressive, with each group demanding power. Meanwhile, Hypatia influences those in power as she searches to find the paths of the heavens and the place that Earth occupies in the universe.

A bit of research (yes, Wikipedia, and yes, I know it can be flawed, but I’m not interested enough to follow the references and links for more definitive sources of information) shows that the events depicted in the film are, for the most part, based on one of the accounts that exists of Alexandria and Hypatia. However, given that it is many hundreds of years ago, it is difficult to know the accuracy. Certainly, there is a lot of dramatic license taken in the representation of Davus (Max Minhella) and his love/lust for Hypatia.

It’s a beautiful film, with set and costume that may well be accurate of the time. My key issue with it was that there seemed so much going on, and that took away from my interest. Plus, I didn’t connected with any of the characters, not even Hypatia, and so I didn’t care about what was happening with them.