Watch | 26. Mar 2020

Unorthodox - How a Young Woman´s Desire To Leave Her Life Behind Might Make You Rethink Your Own

There are plenty of TV shows to binge-watch. But sometimes there is a show you might want to enjoy more slowly, like a carefully prepared meal compared to a basket of potato chips. There should be labels even, like, "WIBA" (Watch In Binge Agony) and "AEAD" (An Episode A Day) to go with the description, like a leaf-let.

"Unorthodox" is one good example - I watched the first episode yesterday and decided not to watch another one until later tonight.

The mini-series, written by Alexa Karolinski and Anna Winger, inspired by the bestselling novel of Deborah Feldmann, hit me even more like the book, due to the enchanting acting of Shira Haas as "Esty", a very young member of Williamsburg /Brooklyns Hasidic denomination of orthodox Jews, who went back to a strict following of their ancestors´regulate beliefs, after the largest part of their international community was murdered in the holocaust.

Esty leaves her marriage, her family, all her life behind to follow her own inner voice - and the series makes clear: this is NOT about feminism, it is NOT about neglecting what she believed in all her life - she still cares very much about all she was raised for. And we, the audience, learn to respect those rules, too. As far away as they might be.

I was reminded of the movie "The Witness", located within the Amish community of Pennsylvania, where we follow a cop from a very different background; that movie never questioned the old fashioned lifestyle of those people, but made you start to rethink your own. And as "The Witness" came out 1985, within the so called Reagan Era , you normally tried to make a career, earn as much money as possible, and apathetically forget about what might really count in life.

Watching Esty coming to Berlin, the city of young, hedonistic people from all over the world, serves the same purpose - not a minute did I take sides, I was not even sure, if I should wish for her not to get caught by her husband and his cousin, sent to Germany by their Rabbi.

As this show, already raved about by international critics from New York Times to Washington Post, hits us not only in the middle of the so called Trump Era, but also during our world wide "Covid 19" lockdown, the deeply romantic but never sentimental writing of Karolinski and Winger, the sensitive directing of Maria Schrader, the wonderfully feisty Jiddish/English language and the detail obsessed setting and costumes, you might change your own beliefs.

There is no black or white, no good or evil, no adverse circumstances to overcome.

Just life decisions you might want to consider. Four nights in a row.