I’ve seen a number of films about religion over the years, but I haven’t seen one quite like this. It’s a bit more analytical in its approach – it looks at the characters in a positive light for the most part, but isn’t particularly preachy. It simply lets the viewer reflect on differences among sects of the Jewish community during a time in history that was particularly important for the Jews, making it nostalgic for some older viewers and educational for most millennials and non-Jews. That being said, it does try very hard to put the father of the Hasidic family in a positive light, particularly with the unsurprisingly moving musical score by Elmer Bernstein (although it’s not his best work), which I just don’t buy. I just don’t think the way this character handled raising his son was acceptable, and his defense is inadequate. Add to that the fact that his choice to excommunicate Reuven (along with his son’s choice to obey his father’s orders to keep away from Reuven) seems entirely unjustified, and it’s essentially impossible for me to respond to the film in the way the filmmakers want me to. Overall, it is a reasonably well-made film, but I just can’t fully get behind it because its characters’ values seem so vastly distant from mine.