"If you choose to do nothing, though, you will continue to do the same thing over and over again."
Hypatia (Rachel Weisz), Agora

To some, the name Alejandro Amenábar sparks instant interest. But if it does not, let me refresh your memory. In 1997, he wrote (with Mateo Gil) and directed the Spanish film Open Your Eyes -- which North American audiences know better by its ultra-strange U.S. remake Vanilla Sky. 2001 marked his English film premiere, the eerie Nicole Kidman thriller The Others (the only feature Gil hasn't co-written). And then in 2004, he went back to Spanish filmmaking with the Javier Bardem-starring Oscar winner The Sea Inside. Now he's grabbed the likes of Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, and Oscar Isaac for a film that doesn't journey through facial reconstruction, ghosts, or euthanasia. It's a gorgeous, thought-provoking Roman epic called Agora.

The film focuses on one of the most impressive female figures in history – Hypatia, a leading thinker in the Rome-governed Alexandria, considered to be the first notable woman of mathematics. She studied philosophy and astronomy, and both pagan and Christian students from far and wide came together to study under her. "For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more."