For a long time most films dealing with Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews sided with individuals whose choice of lifestyle, partners, or vocations conflicted with the expectations of their families and community. While that is still true of many movies, in recent years films with sympathetic portrayals of traditional Jewish subcultures have emerged. Here’s a sampling of both kinds of cinematic depictions.
93 Queen: Documentary about Orthodox women in Borough Park who formed the first female ambulance corps. Amazon, Google Play, YouTube
Arranged: A Muslim woman and Orthodox Jewish woman become friends while their marriages are being arranged. Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch: Young Orthodox man escapes his parent’s attempts to find him a suitable bride and falls in love with a Gentile woman. Netflix.
The Chosen: Adaptation of Chaim Potok’s novel about the friendship between the son of a Hassidic Zaddik and the son of an ardent Zionist find their father’s opposing each other when the postwar revelations about the Holocaust hasten the creation of Israel.
Disobedience: A Chassidic woman who had been shunned by her community for having a lesbian affair when she was younger returns home to attend the funeral of her father where her passion for her former lover is rekindled. Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube.
Eyes Wide Open: Married Orthodox man falls in love with his male apprentice. Amazon, iTunes.
Fading Gigolo: Hassidic woman is attracted to a Gentile man. Amazon, Google Play, Tubi, YouTube.
Felix and Meira: A married Hassidic woman faces ostracism from her community when she is attracted to a single Gentile man. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Fill the Void: When a haredi woman’s sister dies, she is expected to marry her husband. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Holy Rollers: Orthodox Jewish man becomes a drug trafficker. Amazon, HBO Go, Hulu, iTunes.
Kadosh: Prolonged infertility prompts a rabbi to divorce his wife. Amazon, Kanopy, Vudu.
A Life Apart: Hasidism in America. Documentary about Hasidim in the United States. Kanopy.
Loving Leah: The secular brother of an Orthodox man is pressured to marry his brother’s widow.
Menashe: A poor Orthodox Jews fights for custody for his son after his wife dies. Amazon, Google Paly, Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube.
My Father, My Lord: A rabbi’s rigidity inadvertently dooms his son. Vudu.
One of Us: Documentary about three Hasidic Jews and the ostracism they faced when they left the Hassidic community. Netflix.
A Price Above Rubies: The unhappy wife of a Hassidic man leaves him for a Gentile lover. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
The Quarrel: Adaptation of Chaim Grade story about the debate between two Holocaust survivors, one an Orthodox rabbi, the other a secularist writer, about whether Jews can still believe in God after the Holocaust. Amazon.
Sacred Sperm: Documentary exploring the concept of “sacred sperm” and the taboo against masturbation.
The Secrets: A cohort of students attends a women’s yeshiva. Amazon, Netflix, Vudu.
Shtisel: The lives of an Orthodox family in the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem. Netflix.
Srugim: The lives of Orthodox singles in Israel. Amazon, Google Play, Tubi, YouTube.
A Stranger Among Us: A female police detective goes undercover in the Hassidic community to solve a murder. Amazon, Google Play,Vudu, YouTube.
Time of Favor: Students of a rabbi who heads a shul in the Territories join an Orthodox unit of the IDF and hatch a plot to blow up the Al Aqsa mosque.
Trembling Before God: Orthodox gay and lesbian Jews try to reconcile their gender orientation with their faith. Amazon, iTunes.
Unorthodox: Hassidic wife flees her marriage to Williamsburg and moves to Berlin. Netflix.
Unorthodox: Documentary about a woman who broke away from the Hassidic community.
Ushpizin. Orthodox couple copes with infertility during Sukkot. Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube.
The Wedding Plan: An unmarried Orthodox woman in her thirties is matched with a man who confesses he doesn’t love her. She continues with the wedding plans hoping that God will send her a man she can marry then. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
The Women’s Balcony: When the women’s balcony in a synagogue collapses, a new rabbi arrives and tightens the congregation’s observance of laws of separation of the sexes much to the dismay of the women. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Republished from San Diego Jewish World