REVIEW: Unorthodox

Wow. If you are looking for a show that you literally cannot turn off, then this is one you should watch. It is only 4 episodes, each an hour, and I watched all 4 of them in the same sitting (which I did not plan to do)! I even convinced my mom, who was watching with me, to stay up much later than she usually would and watch as well because we were both so fascinated with and invested in this show.

First off, the subject matter is interesting, as it is a society most do not get a glimpse at. The story follows a young ultra-orthodox woman who flees to Berlin after her unhappiness with her life in Williamsburg, New York in her secluded community. Although the story begins with her leaving, we get plenty of flashbacks to her old life, and get to watch some of the customs, choices, and frustrations of a group of people who tend to keep to themselves. The story focuses on her journey in Berlin, once she realizes that staying with her mother (who had also fled the community many years before) is not an option anymore.

One of the reasons I think I liked the show a lot was because the main character was so easy to empathize with, and so eager to learn about the world. She wanted to perform music, and she found such joy in both listening to it, watching it, and learning how herself. I am also a musically inclined person, and I really connected to that part of her. I also think she was appealing because of her fascination with everything she sees in the world, because she had lived in her small community her whole life and had never gone anywhere else, so everything was new to her. I loved her child-like fascination and joy at so much of what she saw in Berlin.

It was also very satisfying to watch her shed her old life and start new while literally and emotionally letting go of what had burdened her in her old life. You can see her becoming more happy and more her own person as the show goes on, with not only the way she dresses, but the way she interacts with those around her and her mannerisms. I loved watching her learn how to be unconstrained, and really have fun in the way that she wanted.

But what really kept me watching the show was the drama and thriller of the members of her community who went after her. This was not only her husband, who did a very good job of making me hate him, but a mysterious other member of the Orthodox community who seemed to have a shady past as well. As they followed her, we got to see sort of parallel stories where her and her husband learned some of the more ugly parts of life outside of their neighborhood. And the emotional scene when they finally found her was definitely one of my favorite parts of the mini-series, although there were a lot of really good, dramatic moments.

Overall, I would urge you to watch Unorthodox, and watch the “making of the show” after episode, which was an awesome compliment to the show. It caught my attention from the first episode until the end, and was full of drama, intrigue, and a unique perspective that is not often brought to light or discussed by the general public. Make sure you give yourself a 4 hour block though, because you will want to watch it all in one sitting as soon as you start!

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