Parents' Guide to

One of Us

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Shocking docu on abuse in Orthodox faith; cursing, violence.

Movie NR 2017 95 minutes
One of Us Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

Deserves a sequel

Parental guidance definitely suggested. We watched as a family (we are blended) and both of us are currently undergoing divorces and custody issues with our children's other parents. We are Jewish/half-Jewish. Non orthodox. It is utterly shocking to see what is going on in these ultra-Orthodox communities and how the judicial system is capable of failing even the most innocent of people. Even though the film represents what is happening in NYC, this is nonetheless quite universal and it is easy to imagine these stories taking place in your own backyard. The film is haunting, heartbreaking, and evokes strong emotions most of which are challenging to digest. Which is why I suggest parental guidance because no doubt the children watching (ours are aged 9 through 14) will have questions that need answering in a sensitive way. Nonetheless, the three main characters are truly inspirational in the face of great adversity and serve as positive role models, if only in showing that they are able of accepting the consequences of their choices, no matter how much pain it causes them. I would be interested in a follow-up, to see how these three characters are coping. It kind of made me want to reach out and offer support, lol.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This is a fascinating documentary that explores the clash between the rigid dogma that has sustained a community and an oppression that silences those who have been abused in the community. Made by the directors of Jesus Camp, One of Us explores the challenges in leaving the only community you've ever known. Only two percent of Hasidic Jews leave their community, and this documentary tells the story of the ostracism and even outright hostility faced by three individuals who left. There's a disconnect between a rigid orthodoxy put in place to provide a true community for "survivors built on [the] trauma" of the Holocaust that nearly eradicated the Hasidic Jews, and a community seemingly incapable of responding to allegations of sexual, spousal, and child abuse with anything but silent complicity or hostility to those who try to speak out.

The bravery on display in front of and behind the camera is extraordinary. To face the terrible aftermath and recovery from abuse, and to talk about it, is difficult enough, but to be this open in the face of a closed and insular society that shuns people for doing so is a daily struggle. And the emotion these three reveal in their own struggles provides a glimpse of what future generations will contend with. The documentary leaves just enough hope for us to believe that "the right thing to do" will overcome blind dogma without losing the traditions and way of life that define the community.

Movie Details

  • On DVD or streaming: October 20, 2017
  • Directors: Heidi Ewing , Rachel Grady
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors
  • Studio: Netflix
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Character Strengths: Courage
  • Run time: 95 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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