Out of the Celluloid Closet

That Disobedience spit scene definitely holds up

In 2017, sapphics got the film of their Orthodox dreams in Disobedience, the Sebastiàn Lello melodrama that cast Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams as lesbian lovers fighting against the repression of their strict traditional upbringing. It also gave us one of the most memorable spit sex scenes in cinematic history, and it was a long time coming.

Before the desperate sapphic yearning of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, before Ammonite‘s face-sitting scene, Rachel Weisz dazzled audiences as Ronit, a woman from an Orthodox Jewish background who must return as an adult to the community she left at 17 after her father, a respected Rav, dies. Ronit doesn’t get a very warm reception: even if it’s never said out loud, everyone in the community seems to understand that at least part of Ronit’s motivation for running away to New York sprung from her inability to enter the married, frum existence of orthodox wives and mothers. Her queerness prevented her from being able to take on those duties. But Ronit’s childhood best friend and lover Esti has stayed in the tight-knit Hasidic community, giving Ronit a harrowing sense of what might have happened to her had she not run away.

Esti is everything Ronit isn’t: she’s tied to tradition, tied to her community, and married to Ronit and Esti’s childhood pal Dovid. She’s tried to live a quiet life pretending she’s straight, but Ronit’s arrival completely upends that. Not long after the two are reunited, they find they can’t keep their hands off each other. And that’s where the spitting comes in.

After trying to deny her attraction to Ronit, Esti eventually gives in, and the women find themselves falling right back into the torrid, sensual love affair they didn’t have a chance to fully enjoy as teens. As adults, Ronit and Esti explore each others’ bodies, break religious boundaries together, and swap spit—literally.

And it is…hot. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to claim that Ronit and Esti’s spit-swapping sex scene is one of the great horny moments of 21st-century cinema. It’s right up there with Jacob Elordi’s bathwater and the many fistings—real and implied—of Love Lies Bleeding. And like all great sex scenes, it’s not just about the sex: it’s about the unburdening of these two women who come together to shed the guilt and shame they’ve been made to feel by their stringent religious upbringing. When Esti and Ronit finally have the sex they’ve both clearly been craving for years, it’s a revelation for both women. They can’t go back to being who they used to be. Esti can’t go back to suffering through straight sex with her husband, and Ronit can’t continue denying her past. They have to find a way to go forward, whether or not they can sustain themselves as a couple.

The fate of Esti and Ronit is left somewhat up in the air, after the two share a final kiss before Ronit’s departure for the airport. Esti has just discovered she’s pregnant, and after the sexual awakening sparked by Ronit’s visit, it’s clear she has a lot of thinking to do about what she wants her life to look like outside of the community she’s always known. It’s not the most hopeful of endings, but it leaves us feeling like both women might find their way back to each other, after a period of solitary self-searching.

Whether or not the lovers come together after the film ends, we can’t stop thinking about their intimacy. Taking someone else’s spit can be more than just a horny sex move. For these two, it was the beginning of an entirely new, liberated life.

Don't forget to share:

Read More in Entertainment
The Latest on INTO