Review: Arranged

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Note: This review is based on the DVD version.

This film actually was recommended by my dearest friend Sushi, and based on her review and the premise of the movie I couldn’t help myself but to watch it. The film focuses on two young female teachers – one an Orthodox Jew (named Rochel) and the other an observant Muslim (named Nasira) – who are assigned to work together in a multi-ethnic school in Brooklyn. Initially, I thought it is one of those films with a sentimental “let’s all get along” message, but it turned out to be a lot more complicated and interesting than that. The characters find friendship with each other, because they are both confronting similar issues with their parents and the secular world. They are also both undergoing the difficulty of trying to find a mate through their community’s traditional systems of arranged marriage. While some of the characters come off as walking stereotypes, the film for the most part, does a sensitive job of portraying both aspects of religion and tradition in a very positive light. The film respects the women’s genuine commitment to their faiths even as they struggle with difficult aspects of their faiths. The acting and the script are sometimes uneven and there are moments that feel like an after school special. The conclusion is a bit too simplistic. But the message about both necessity and possibility of multi-religious co-existence is a good one presented with humor, warmth, and intelligence. Another minor flaw I found is that it doesn’t balance the lives of both characters; I felt Rochel was the leading character and Nasira was the support (sort of a side story) character, but the effort was genuine and heartwarming.

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Arranged is an engaging story that feels very real, and very important in our times when so many walls keep people from connecting with each other. It is so refreshing to have the bigger theme of cultural and religious differences treated with respect and interest, and with an absence of violence. Even though it’s not a masterpiece, I invite you to watch this film along with your friends and family and absorb the fact that you don’t need shared religion in order to share friendship and respect.

The Bottom Line

B

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4 responses to this post.

  1. hmm seems interesting, but not to my taste these days.. I require something that needs very little thinking! lol

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sushi on April 4, 2008 at 6:29 am

    You watched it! =’) And I’m happy you liked it!

    Reply

  3. I enjoyed it. What I liked most about it was the fact that it portrayed the reality of both religions. There was no “mit7ajba” wearing her 7jab at home. It was real, the accents were real, it was just realistic. I agree, the ending was just sort of blah but in general I would recommend it.

    Reply

  4. @Marzouq

    LOL that’s OK, but try to spread the film among the haters who hates to co-exist with someone whose different.

    @Sushi

    And I’m happy you introduced that film to me Sushi. Thank you 🙂

    @Adorra

    So you saw it (and apparently before I did). Yes, the accent of the father was really authentic, probably because he’s an Arab himself. However, the guy who proposed to Nasira was definitely South Asian, not Syrian.

    Reply

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