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Unorthodox on Netflix

My first blog post. *slowly claps himself* For a little intro on why I'm doing this, check out the previous post, but as an initiation, I'd like to share some thoughts on the recent Netflix series, Unorthodox.

It's the story of a young, ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman, who flees her arranged marriage and religious community to start a new life in Berlin - based on the memoir of Deborah Feldman. It's serious. It's sad. And it's gripping!

What stuck out to me was the central performance of Shira Haas. She's one of those young actresses you can see transitioning from small budget indies to big budget Hollywood films, and this series could well be her launch pad. Like Daisy Edgar-Jones in the BBC's Normal People, Shira Haas manages to act with such subtle nuance, allowing us to see everything she's feeling, from pain to elation, in just her facial expressions. To echo the words of Mark Kermode, "show, don't tell."

I've also never seen a program that uses as much Yiddish dialogue as it does English. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a program with any Yiddish. It's great to be exposed to this language from a group of people that would never normally make the spotlight in cinema.

The culture of the Orthodox Jew, is another part of society I have very little exposure to, and Unorthodox shows their ways so authentically and genuinely; it's eye-opening to see how they choose to live their lives. Such strict and conservative views, dominated by men, as with many other extremist religions; the series really doesn't show their culture in the best light. However, this is a program made by California-based Netflix for a Western audience, so one would expect to see such an imprisoned character in a draconian society wanting to escape to liberal Berlin.

I'll never write any spoilers in any of my posts about content I've consumed, but I will finish by giving Unorthodox a big thumbs up and imploring you to check it out. It's a powerful and insightful show, and with only 4 hour long episodes, it's one that expands the mind, while also keeping you well and truly hooked. Check out the trailer below...

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