Unorthodox: I’m Late To The Party But It’s Really Good
Netflix has been real good to me during this lock-down. Netflix gave me Unorthodox, and I’ll be eternally grateful for this mini-series.
If you haven’t binged on Unorthodox, please, by all means, do it! You’ll thank me later. And just what Unorthodox is? Well, as I mentioned earlier it’s a mini-series based on the Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots book. Written by Deborah Feldman, it’s a bestselling book depicting her life, marriage in the ultra-Orthodox community in Williamsburg. Oh and her eventual escape from the Hasidic lifestyle to Berlin. Deborah Feldman’s role in the Unorthodox mini-series is renamed into Esther „Esty“ Shapiro.
Early on, she’s married (in an arranged marriage) to Yanky Shapiro (Amit Rahav), but the cracks in the marriage begin to appear early on in the marriage. Esty feels uncomfortable in the stuffy, conservative lifestyle, and especially suffocating is the pressure of the Hasidic society to have children. She flees Brooklyn while pregnant, but the road to pregnancy is a long and hard one for her.
However, her escape and eventual move to Berlin is frowned upon in her community and her husband (along with his cousin) is sent to Berlin to find her and bring her back to the USA.
And what I love about Unorthodox?
Well, first of all, it doesn’t drag on. It doesn’t waste your time, attention nor the plot in unnecessary episodes. No. Unorthodox says that it has to say in just 4 episodes. More than that, it makes a point and tells the story in full in just 4 episodes. And that’s it. Unlike, let’s say Tiger King who (with 8 unnecessary episodes in total) overstayed his welcome on Netflix.
Furthermore, I can’t pretend to understand the religion nor the lifestyle of the Hasidic Jews, and discuss the accuracy of the depicted life stories. It’s not my life. I’m an atheist myself, but guess it’s pretty accurate. I don’t know for sure. You be the judge on that. But judging from what I red from other Hasidic people, it’s pretty spot on. It’s pretty legit, so that’s a plus.
Next, the acting. Although done mostly in Yiddish, the acting is top-notch. And I predict bright future to some of the cast, most notably to Shira Haas. She shined in the role of Esty, but I also loved Jeff Wilbusch’s portrayal of the shady Moishe Lefkovitch.
The dual depiction of the polar opposite worlds was also effective in the narrative of the story. Esty’s life, marriage, and eventual marital difficulties are mostly told via flashback scenes, while the present-day scenes are shot primarily in Berlin.
And I adore that. I was in Berlin at the end of last year (on a business trip) and I honestly fell in love with the city. So, I was initially hooked on Unorthodox because of Berlin. Saw Berlin in the synopsis and I thought to myself. That’s it! I’m watching it. I’m sold. I love that city.
But I ended up staying for so much more. I fell in love with her story and became familiar with an entire community that I knew nothing about (before) and much like Esty I was a young bride just a few months ago.
I didn’t get married in a religious ceremony, but the excitement, the anticipation and the confusion about some stuff were present not doubt about it. I saw myself in some areas of the Esty character for sure.
So, yeah. You can expect a bunch of awards in the near future for Unorthodox. Most importantly an Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination for Shira Haas. But I would love to recommend this mini-series to everyone that loves a good TV entertainment. It’s soo good. Trust me. Just binge on Unorthodox. You won’t be sorry.