Movie Mom

This quiet little independent film is the story of the friendship between two New York City schoolteachers, an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim, who transcend the assumptions of those around them. They quickly realize that they have more in common with each other than they do with the very secular teachers at the school, who see them as relics from a past best forgotten.

The two young women recognize the historic and modern-day conflicts between their groups. One of the sweetest moments in the film is when they use their students’ assumption that they must hate each other for a learning opportunity about tolerance. The two women are respectful of each other’s traditions and supportive of each other’s devotion to faith and family. But they share their fears and frustrations with one element of tradition that makes both of them uncomfortable — the highly parent-directed courtship system that most contemporary young women would consider hopelessly anachronistic.arranged.jpeg

What makes this movie especially endearing is its own respect for the choices made by the women to honor but find their own way within the traditions and observances of their religious faiths. Lovely performances by Zoe Lister Jones and Francis Benhamou and the quiet intimacy of low-budget film-making bring us inside the story so deeply that the beautiful final image fills our hearts with a resonance that lasts for days.

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