Netflix’s Unorthodox and The English Game share a similar theme – The Age

Posted By on April 24, 2020

You might think Unorthodox and The English Game have nothing in common, apart from the fact both are on Netflix. And at one level youd be right: the former is about a young woman in a Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in more or less the present day; the latter is about a Scottish soccer player in the north of England in the early 1880s. But both are about escaping dire, life-limiting circumstances. What could be more of the moment than that?

Unorthodox is based on the memoir of Deborah Feldman, who broke free of her Satmar community a decade ago (they practise a branch of Orthodox Judaism whose roots lie in the 18th century observances of a single Hungarian village).

Israeli actress Shira Haas is superb as Esther Shapiro in Unorthodox.Credit:Netflix

In real life Feldman edged away, by attending college, by changing the way she dressed, by slowly engaging with the outside world and coming to realise that is where she belonged. In the series, Esther Shapiro (Shira Haas) flees, in a dramatic and daring escape, to Berlin. She goes there because thats where her mother - also an escapee - lives, but theres a fierce irony in the choice: the relentless focus on procreation in her faith stems from the belief that Jews have a moral obligation to repopulate because of the Holocaust.

Israeli actress Haas is superb. She is 24 (Esty is 19), and tiny; she appears both childlike and fierce as she tries to find a way to protect her core self in the religious world, and grapples with what is true and untrue, safe and unsafe, in the world outside.

Originally posted here:

Netflix's Unorthodox and The English Game share a similar theme - The Age

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