My bad for not getting the review of "Menashe" out sooner. This highly acclaimed film was playing in Red Bank & Asbury Park independent film houses for nearly 6 weeks which is unheard of. Once I saw, I knew why.
I'm not sure if being non-jewish causes one to miss certain attributes/understands of the sort of off the grid Hasidic Jewish faith/community. I'm sure I missed comprehending some things yet felt I really didn't miss anything.
We really like the lead "Menashe" played by (Menashe Lustig) and the story is loosely based on his life. He widows in his late 30's while having a 10 year old son. His faith decrees that he must remarry within a short mouth of time (like a year) so there is a wife home to take take of the home/children while the fathers work and maintain their important religious obligations.
Filmed in Borough Park, Brooklyn right in the center of the US's largest (if not largest) Orthodox communities, we really get a sense of home "Menashe" is a slight rebel.
From not dressing in all the traditional-ware (sans hat and coat), to light drinking/socializing with Latino friends (vs. his own culture), to not rushing to remarry etc.
10 year old Rieven now lives with his deceased Mom's brother who is not a fan of non traditionalist Menashe. The Rabbi will make the final decision here and he struggles with the rules of the faith and the bible and reality and tries to find common ground.
We really like Menashe, we really like the Rabbi and quietly we understand and respect the Uncle. Menashe struggles with the rules while desperately wanting his son/his friend. He lives in a 1 room run down apartment and is a grocery store cashier. He clearly is caring and honest and his own person.
Find and go root for Menashe to make the right decision and watch his journey to find his right path.