‘Unorthodox’ Review: Netflix’s Yiddish Miniseries Turns Hasidic Rebellion Into a Riveting Thriller
Published on Mar 27, 2020
Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” charts a familiar path of resistance. Raised in the Hasidic Satmar sect of Williamsburg, Feldman escaped an arranged marriage at the age of 19, while pregnant with her first child, and resettled in Germany. While the particular circumstances surrounding Feldman’s flight hold unique power, Feldman’s story belongs to an emerging tradition of tales surrounding the oppressive nature of ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, and the people who struggle with the impulse to move on. However, the four-part miniseries adapted from Feldman’s book, also called “Unorthodox,” gives this dilemma a fresh spin.
On one level, “Unorthodox” works within the same expanded universe of religious rebellion explored in recent cinema, from the lesbian drama “Disobedience” to the bittersweet Williamsburg-set father-son drama “Menashe” — which, like “Unorthodox,” largely unfolds in Yiddish. However, director Maria Schrader and creator Anna Winger (“Deutchland 83”) has transformed
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Author: Eric Kohn