It’s Friday night. Tim’s working. Laura and I stopped at Woodfire Grill on the way home from work and got a super healthy, delicious supper of fried pickle chips and chips and salsa. I got a Blue Moon, which was the best Blue Moon I’ve had in ages. We were served by the nicest guy with the craziest eyes I’ve ever seen. I got home around 7PM and contemplated how to spend my evening. I wanted to have a drink, but “someone” – I’m not saying who – drank all the orange juice, so I had no mixer.
But, it’s probably for the best. I didn’t end up drinking anything. Instead, I fired up the X-box and trawled our queue. I settled on The Boy Who Could Fly. I remember watching the movie as a youngster and really liking it. I was in the mood for nostalgia. Unfortunately, Netflix was not in the mood to accomodate me. I got maybe 7 minutes into the movie, just long enough to recognize that the mom in the movie is McClane’s wife from the first Die Hard, when Netflix kicked me out, back to the launch screen. I shut down the X-box and tried it again with the same result. I guess everyone is watching The Boy Who Could Fly tonight. So, like I always do, I scrolled through all the different Netflix Lists – Movies You’ll Love, Romance, Comedy, TV Shows, Revenge Drama, Fantasy, etc. I almost resorted to watching Three to Tango, which I am positive is horrible, when I stumbled upon Arranged. Its multicultural theme reminded me of Outsourced, another Netflix gem I discovered while Tim was working. Anyway, the movie got 4 stars and the description said that it was about a Muslim girl and Orthodox Jewish girl who teach at the same school. They should hate each other, but they become best friends, bonded by the experience of entering into the arranged married process. Sounded interesting.
I really enjoyed the movie. These two young women (in their early 20s) are very intelligent, gifted, beautiful women who respect their family and their heritage, even while they rail against the restrictions those treasures put upon them. The movie showed how they could keep their faith while still keeping true to themselves. I especially enjoyed the scene where Rochel (the Jewish girl), frustrated with the pressure put upon her by her mother to pick a husband from a very dismal pool, visits a cousin who has “left the family.” Her cousin admits that she misses her family, but she loves her life the way it is. To show Rochel what life is like on the other side, she takes her to a party. Rochel is very uncomfortable there – with the dancing, the drinking, the drug use, the sex. She goes back home, confused about where she fits in and where she can be happy. Of course, there are many gradients of experience – Rochel’s choices are not restricted to orthodox Judaism or drunken orgies, but I really identified with this experience. Growing up as a Witness I often felt as if I didn’t fit in 100% with that world, but whenever I left that world and the friends in that world, I didn’t usually feel comfortable in the “worldly” world either – I disliked the drinking and the swearing and the meaningless of the constant quest for pleasure. I’ve found where I belong now – with Tim, a person who feels comfortable in the same sphere as me. It’s truly a struggle, trying to find one’s place.
Of course, in the movie, the two main characters both find their places. Nasira, the Muslim girl, is presented by her parents with a handsome, young engineer who she immediately sparks with and eventually marries. It’s an arranged marriage, but she is happy because she loves him, and he’s not a thinning-haired, snaggle-toothed slob. Likewise, with some interference from Nasira, Rochel ends up being introduced (via the proper Jewish channels) to a handsome, smart, wonderful Jewish young man, who she ends up marrying. It’s also an arranged marriage, but she is also happy because she loves him, and he’s not a dominating, self-absorbed 40-year-old.
I’m a huge fan of happy endings, so I did enjoy this aspect of the movie. However, I wonder how many of these arrangements end up the way the movie presents them. I hope that the majority of them do, but I doubt that they do. Of course, I have no basis for my supposition, as I know no one who has had an arranged marriage. It just seems so unlikely that it would end well in 2 out of every 2 cases. I think the movie might have been more interesting if one of the girls was forced to make a choice between her family and faith and true love.
I really enjoyed the movie though. I am so glad that I watched it instead of ” Three to Tango.” In fact, I’m embarrassed that I even considered” Three to Tango.” I feel as if I’ve been coddling my brain too much lately – watching too many Gilmore Girls episodes and too many re-runs of my favorite movies and TV shows. I’m wearing a comfort rut into my brain, and it’s unpleasant when I try to climb out of it and watch something new and different. I’ve been making a concerted effort lately to bust the rut by watching movies that I normally would shy away from and by reading books that I normally would not pick up – Beneath the Wheel, and Not Quite What I was Planning to name a couple. I’m also starting a book my Mom passed on to me – The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. It’s a women-journey book – totally not my thing, but I’m reading it to shake up things upstairs a little bit. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a better person – more perceptive and wiser. Or something.