Rachael Weisz as a hottie, end-of-Empire Philosopher/Astroner chick? What’s not to like?

Set in Alexandria at a time of great historic tumolt, AmenĂ¡bar’s film juggles lots of chaos. The rise of Christianity versus the “pagan”, previously dominant Roman religion, the divide between faith and science, heck even the stone throwing Jews show up for an added bit of narrative complication. Through it all it plays fine, if a bit dry, tying hard to live up to the standards set by HBO’s Rome and often falling as flat as the sandles everyone’s wearing (*Zing!*).

The performances are fine, the story more than a bit apocryphal (basically positing that this woman beat Kepler by some one and a half centuries to his own Eureka moment), and generally it’s a fairly competent, if overly earnest, flick.