- 1 hr 30 min
Arranged is a heartwarming drama film that explores the unique bond between two women, Rochel and Nasira, who are teachers at a Brooklyn public school. Despite coming from different religious and cultural backgrounds, they share a deep friendship that is tested when they both face pressure from their families to enter arranged marriages.
Rochel is an Orthodox Jewish woman in her early twenties who is devoted to her faith and its traditions. Nasira is a Syrian Muslim woman who is also in her early twenties and finds strength in her religion and her family. Both of them are committed to their teaching profession, and they quickly bond over their shared values, principles, and experiences as women of faith.
As the film progresses, we see their lives unfold in parallel as they navigate their way through the complexities of arranged marriages. Rochel is set to marry a man from her community who she has never met, while Nasira is expected to marry a cousin she has never met either. As they face pressure from their parents and loved ones to go through with the arranged marriages, they struggle to reconcile their love for their families and their religious beliefs with their desire for autonomy and personal choices.
Despite the similarities in their struggles, Rochel and Nasira face unique challenges based on their different cultural and religious backgrounds. Rochel faces ostracism from her community for being seen as too liberal, while Nasira's family disapproves of her desire to explore different career paths and establish her independence as a woman.
The film delicately and respectfully portrays the different cultural, religious, and societal norms that shape the lives of Rochel and Nasira. It challenges our preconceptions about arranged marriages, showing us that while they can be challenging and complicated, they can also be based on love, respect, and mutual understanding.
What makes Arranged stand out is the depth and authenticity of the friendship between Rochel and Nasira. Despite their differences, they share a bond that is born out of mutual respect, support, and compassion. They are there for each other as they face their individual struggles, providing a much-needed source of strength and comfort.
Zoe Lister-Jones and Francis Benhamou give exceptional performances, capturing the nuances of their characters' personalities, cultures, and beliefs. They imbue their characters with a quiet strength and resilience that is both admirable and relatable.
The film also features Mimi Lieber, who plays Rochel's supportive and understanding mother, and John Rothman, who plays Nasira's father, a traditional and stern patriarch who eventually comes to realize the importance of his daughter's happiness and autonomy.
Directed by Diane Crespo and Stefan Schaefer, Arranged is a poignant and nuanced portrayal of the complexities of arranged marriages and the bonds of friendship that transcend cultural and religious divides. It is a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy, understanding, and respect in building bridges between different communities and traditions.
Arranged is a 2007 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.