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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.

Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene (2018 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGarth Davis
Produced by
Written by
Music by
CinematographyGreig Fraser
Edited by
Distributed by
Release date
  • February 26, 2018 (2018-02-26) (National Gallery)
  • March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16) (United Kingdom)
  • March 22, 2018 (2018-03-22) (Australia)
  • April 12, 2019 (2019-04-12) (United States)
Running time
120 minutes[2][3]
  • United States[4]
  • United Kingdom[4]
  • Australia[4]
Box office$11.7 million[5]

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 30 AD, 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, the founder of Christianity. This causes conflict with the other male disciples, including Saint Peter. Mary follows Jesus all the way to the Resurrection.



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.[6] In April 2016, Joaquin Phoenix was in talks to portray the role of Jesus Christ.[7] In July 2016, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim joined the cast of the film.[8][9] In September 2016, Hadas Yaron joined the cast of the film.[10] Hildur Guðnadóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson composed the film's score, the latter's final score before his death in February 2018.[11][12]


Principal photography began on October 3, 2016[13][14] and concluded on December 2, 2016.[15] 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[16] in Campania.[17]


In February 2016, it was reported that The Weinstein Company would distribute the film.[18] It was originally scheduled to be released in the United States and Canada on November 24, 2017.[19] In August 2017, the release was pushed back to March 30, 2018.[20] In January 2018, it was pulled from the schedule.[21] 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.[22] IFC Films distributed the film in the United States on April 12, 2019.[23]

The film had its world premiere at the National Gallery on February 26, 2018.[24] It screened at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival on February 28, 2018.[25] It was released in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2018,[26] and in Australia on March 22, 2018.[27]


According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 45%, based on 105 reviews, with an average rating of 5.61/10. 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."[28] At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[29]

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."[30]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
AACTA Awards 3 December 2018 Best Actress Rooney Mara Nominated [31]
Best Original Music Score Hildur Guðnadóttir, Jóhann Jóhannsson Nominated
Best Costume Design Jacqueline Durran Nominated
Asia Pacific Screen Awards 29 November 2018 Best Original Score Hildur Guðnadóttir, Jóhann Jóhannsson Won [32]


  1. ^ a b c d Dalton, Stephen (February 27, 2018). "'Mary Magdalene': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  2. ^ "Mary Magdalene". Audi Dublin International Film Festival. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  3. ^ "MARY MAGDALENE". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  4. ^ a b c "Mary Magdalene (2018)". British Film Institute. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  5. ^ "Mary Magdalene (2018)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  6. ^ Jaafar, Ali (February 2, 2016). "Rooney Mara In Discussions To Play Mary Magdalene In Biopic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  7. ^ Jafaar, Ali (April 22, 2016). "Joaquin Phoenix Eyed To Play Jesus Christ In Mary Magdalene Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Jaafar, Ali (July 13, 2016). "Chiwetel Ejiofor In Talks For 'Mary Magdalene'; Will Play Peter The Apostle". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  9. ^ Jaafar, Ali (July 22, 2016). "Tahar Rahim In Talks To Play Judas In 'Mary Magdalene'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  10. ^ Galuppo, Mia (September 13, 2016). "Israeli Actress Hadas Yaron Joins Weinstein Co.'s 'Mary Magdalene' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "Jóhann Jóhannsson & Hildur Guðnadóttir to Score Garth Davis' Mary Magdalene". FilmMusicReporter. September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  12. ^ Noone, Greg (September 18, 2017). "Inside the Dreamy Nightmare of Mother!'s Music-Free Soundscape". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  13. ^ "Mary Magdalene". My Entertainment World. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  14. ^ Nattrass, JJ (November 21, 2016). "Joaquin Phoenix is bloody and bruised in his role as Jesus Christ while he and Rooney Mara film violent crucifixion scene for biblical biopic Mary Magdalene". The Daily Mail. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  15. ^ Le Crayon Rouge (December 2, 2016). "Day 74 #theend #marymagdalene #wrapparty 🎬👋🏻 #naples". Instagram. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  16. ^ "The film Mary Magdalene and the beauty of Southern Italy". November 9, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  17. ^ Salomons, Jason (February 27, 2018). "'Mary Magdalene' Film Review: Rooney Mara Plays Christ's Galpal in Snoozy Epic". TheWrap. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  18. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (February 9, 2016). "Weinstein Co. in Talks to Acquire Mary Magdalene Biopic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  19. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 17, 2017). "'Mary Magdalene', 'Current War' & 'Wind River' Get 2017 Release Dates From Columbia". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  20. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 21, 2017). "'Mary Magdalene' Sets Easter Weekend Debut; 'The Current War' Moves To Late November". Deadline Hollywood.
  21. ^ Pederson, Erik (January 19, 2018). "Weinstein Company Pulls 'War With Grandpa', 'The Upside' & 'Mary Magdalene' Off Release Schedule". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  22. ^ Jolin, Dan (March 5, 2018). "Garth Davis on how the 'Mary Magdalene' team dealt with the Weinstein fall-out". Screen International. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  23. ^ Vlessing, Etan (March 20, 2019). "IFC Films Takes U.S. Rights to Rooney Mara's 'Mary Magdalene' Biopic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  24. ^ "Mary Magdalene (Special Screening)". What's on the Red Carpet. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  25. ^ Kelly, Aoife (February 7, 2018). "Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix and Garth Davis coming to Ireland for Audi Dublin International Film Festival". Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  26. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (February 1, 2018). "Brilliant Rooney brings St Mary to life: Actress gives a passionate performance as Jesus Christ's follower in fascinating movie about her life". The Daily Mail. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  27. ^ "Mary Magdalene". Transmission Films. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  28. ^ "Mary Magdalene (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  29. ^ "Mary Magdalene Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  30. ^ Allen, Nick. "Mary Magdalene Movie Review & Film Summary (2019) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  31. ^ "Winners & Nominees - AACTA". Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  32. ^ "APSA 2018 Winners".

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