I watched the first 60 mins of a film starring Rachel Weiz and Rachel McAdams portraying a romance which went against the expectations of the Jewish culture.
It is interesting that if you notice that the film highlights a number of issues including:
Women’s Mental Health – The main character Esty is perceived by her community to have mental health problems so she is encouraged to marry one of the best male students in the Jewish community. The marriage is viewed as the solution to Esty’s problems, although Esty admits in the film only to be romantically attracted to women.
Consent in relationships – The elders in the Jewish community assume that Esty’s lesbian relationship is something Weiz’s character has forced or bullied her into. During the film there is a conversation about the expectation within Esty’s marriage that she has sex once a week with him (and doesn’t have a huge say in this matter) . She says, ‘I’m not hurt if I say no, but its expected whether I want to or not’.
The male in the film tries to understand his wife, and to obey the pressure of the elders in the community to keep his house in order (including his wife). He is being offered a key position within the leadership of the Jewish community in the vicinity and there is much expected of him.
If you don’t want to know how the film ends spolier alert*****
The next generation of children or women – Esty is a teacher and says she loves the opportunity teaching gives the to inspire girls in her class. Weiz’s character criticises Esty for being the example of what she’s expected to be and not being true to herself. Weiz concludes that Esty can’t be making a great impression on the young students seeing as Esty is dependent on the Jewish community to meet her needs and doesn’t have freedom of choice.
There is a power struggle including the conclusion financial assets which could represent freedom for the women.
Should we say that mostly that Judaism is represented sourly? The men studying the Korah texts do so very intently, although sometimes there seems to be a lack of thought given emotional development alongside the tasks of memorising.
There are some songs sung during the film which are very beautiful. I have to admire the faces of the men with their well kept beards and even the stunning all back attire that features, especially on the slimmer actors. Its quite Alexander Wang.
Weiz’s character adds up all the expectations of the family, tradition and culture and concludes it would make her very low and desperate, so she’s not being bullied into them.
8 children anyone?
I think Esty’s best narrative in the film is when she says to her husband that she doesn’t feel she can be honest with him, and will he let her speak honestly to him? Having a faith myself I think there can be a lot of blurring between what is faith and what is culture. We all owe ourselves and those we care about the truth in a kind way.
Out now on Netflix and Amazon Prime or to buy on a pay as you go basis on YouTube.