This one was particularly interesting, as well as very respectfully and well done. It is the story of two young women living in New York who are teachers in the same school. Rachel is a 22 year old Orthodox Jew. She works as the special needs teacher of a blind student mainstreamed into the fourth grade classroom of Nasira, a Syrian Muslim. Religious harassment from their principal and innocent yet probing questions from their students result in the forging of an unlikely friendship between the young women.
Despite their religious differences, both young women learn that each is in the process of having a marriage arranged for the other. For Rachel, her family, with considerable input from a matchmaker, dictate which eligible young men would make the best match, whereas Nasira is completely at the mercy of her father to find her a suitable husband.
The reality of arranged marriages taking place in America was very intriguing to me. This film does a wonderful job exploring the process, pitfalls, and advantages of arranged marriages in these two particular sub-cultures. Both girls come from loving families that truly only want the best for their daughters, giving this film the advantage of showing off the idea of arranged marriage in its very best light. Watching, one is left with the thought that there may be something to this idea of arranging one's children's marriages.
Within the last year, I've learned so much more about the Orthodox Jewish community through the wonderful blog on my sidebar "Domestic Felicity" written by a young Orthodox wife and new mother living in Jerusalem. I highly recommend going to her blog before seeing this movie to learn a little bit more about Orthodox Jewish beliefs regarding femininity, modesty, and familial roles.
I thoroughly enjoyed Arranged and highly recommend it, even to men (I may make Wingnut watch it with me again). Due to some subject content and at least one occurrence of profanity, I would suggest this movie would be best viewed by older teenagers and adults.