‘One of Us’ Review: Hasidic Jews Survive After Leaving Religious Life in Fascinating Documentary

‘One of Us’ Review: Hasidic Jews Survive After Leaving Religious Life in Fascinating Documentary
There are no talking heads in “One of Us,” Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s expertly crafted portrait of three ex-Hasidic Jews adjusting to secular life. Refreshingly, the interviews in this tense documentary take place on the move; there is a restless energy to the way Luzer drives around Los Angeles in search of auditions, or Etty’s furtive glances through shuttered blinds. The three subjects of “One of Us” are always looking over their shoulders, whether in precaution of real threats or just to make sense of the brave new world in which they find themselves.

Centering on only three subjects, Ewing and Grady keep the film’s focus narrow and intimately human. Luzer is the most charismatic of the bunch; an aspiring actor who got his start playing Hasidic characters, he learned about the secular world as a teenager by secretly watching movies in his car. “The plan
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