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Historical Movie Review: Agora
“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.” Hypatia of Alexandria

Directed by Alejandro Amenábar, Agora was Spain’s highest grossing film in 2009, earning more than 10.3 million dollars within a week of its release date (“Agora”). The film received a 4 out of 5 star rating, and is a historical drama film depicting the final years of Hypatia, who was a remarkable philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer. Hypatia strived to answer the questions about the solar system, specifically about heliocentrism. Yet, surrounded by unrested tension between the pagans and Christians, Hypatia was stripped of her freedom to teach, and struggled to save the knowledge of classical antiquity from destruction. Although Agora tells a stellar and captivating story about a brilliant woman living in religious turmoil, and causing her to make a choice to either embrace her love for science and philosophy, or to hide her passion to keep her life. The film is not historically competent in the means of its own historical interpretation of significant events, important individuals, and choice of clothing.

To summarize the plot of Agora, the movie takes place in the late 3rd century in Alexandria, Egypt. It starts in a Platonic school, where it introduces the main characters: Hypatia of Alexandria, Davus (Hypatia’s slave), and two of Hypatia’s students and future leaders, Orestes and Synesius. Although Alexandria seems at peace, a religious-based issue arises. There is a dispute between the Pagans and Christians over which of their god(s) is real. As this dispute escalates, the two parties persecute each other resulting in a riot. In turn, the Christians outnumber the Pagans and the Pagans start to lose the fight leading them to take refuge in the Library of the Serapeum while the Christians wait outside causing a siege. Yet, the siege ends when a representative of the Roman Emperor announces that the...
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