Antonio’s The Rare Review: Freedom and Tradition Clash in Netflix’s Unorthodox

Being a hero does not always mean wearing a cape or fighting off foes with superhuman strength. For some individuals they become the heroes of their own stories simply by demonstrating uncharacteristic bravery in the face of insurmountable odds. They face something horrifyingly daunting but pressing forwards nonetheless. That is the case for a determined young woman in Netflix’s original mini-series, Unorthodox.

The four part program packs quite a bit of drama and emotion into such a short viewing time. The story centers on Esty, a young woman residing in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in New York City’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Perhaps Ultra-Orthodox doesn’t do justice to the fundamentalist nature of her situation. Though the community exists in Brooklyn and the United States of America, she and other women have limited freedom and limited options due to the patriarchal nature of their lives. Her prison has no physical bars, but she is trapped by tradition and a sense of obligation that has been instilled in her for her whole life. The rabbi is the ultimate authority, and Esty enters into an arranged marriage as women are essentially relegated to being child bearers. Their sole functions are to increase the numbers of the community and keep their husbands happy. 

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