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Arranged (2008)

Zoe Lister-Jones , Francis Benhamou , Diane Crespo , Stefan C. Schaefer  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Zoe Lister-Jones, Francis Benhamou, Marcia Jean Kurtz, John Rothman, Mimi Lieber
  • Directors: Diane Crespo, Stefan C. Schaefer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: March 4, 2008
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00116VG3M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,877 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Arranged" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Rochel is an Orthodox Jew, and Nasira a Muslim of Syrian origin. They are both young teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. They also have something else in common--they are going though the process of arranged marriages through their respective religions and traditional customs. With both family pressure on the one hand, and the rejection of traditional values by the outside world on the other, Rochel and Nasira will have to rely on each other and their friendship to pull through this difficult time of their lives, striving to be strong women in charge of their own happiness, while keeping their deep religious and cultural convictions.


A lovely little gem of a film, beautifully shot and perfectly cast... I cant remember the last time I screened a similarly low-budget film that pulled all the pieces together so well. ---Mary Glucksman, Film Critic

Writer-director Stefan Schaefer's modest, surprisingly winning indie drama [has] a sense of intimacy that serves it well. ---New York Magazine

Arranged offers a touching and often hilarious look at two women Rochel (Lister-Jones) and Nasiria (Benhamou), who should be recognized as two of the best female characters and performances in recent years... Arranged is a must-see in this globalized world. ---Alex Navissi, The Daily Texan

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Mr. Perfect, You Think?" ~ Culture vs. Chemistry January 12, 2008
Synopsis: The '07 independent film `Arranged' is a thoroughly entertaining albeit simplistic story concerning two new elementary school teachers working in one of the poorer quarters of New York City. Both are from highly structured, orthodox religious traditions. Rochel Meshenberg (Zoe Lister-Jones) is Jewish while Nisira Khaldi (Francis Benhamou) is Muslim. When a student brings up the topic of religious hatred between these two spiritual traditions the question is posited, "Is it possible for the two to become friends?"

As you probably guessed, that's exactly what happens despite the rather obvious disapproval displayed by their families. When Rochel and Nisira learn that both sets of parents are actively seeking arranged marriages for their daughters they discover they have more in common than they ever thought they would. Relying on each other for strength and support through the trials and tribulations of submitting to the customs of their religious traditions they find a friendship that transcends cultural differences.

Critique: `Arranged' held my complete interest from beginning to end. The relationship between Rochel and Nisira is beautifully and thoughtfully presented and totally believable. Some of the Jewish stereotypes are straight out of `Fiddler on the Roof' but other than that it's hard to find any fault here. I enjoyed every minute!
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie - And Accurate Too April 7, 2008
I thought that this was a very well done film. It was nice and simplistic, and didn't resort to steriotypical portrayals of Jews and Muslims. As an Orthodox Jew, I was happy to see an accurate portrayal of the Othodox community. Anyone who is an "insider" will really appreciate the humor of this movie, and I would highly reccomend it to people of all faiths.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming tale of an unlikely friendship February 20, 2008
"Arranged" is a delightful tale of a friendship that develops between a traditional Muslim, Nasira [Francis Benhamou] and an Orthodox Jew,Rochel [Zoe Lister Jones] who both teach at a Brooklyn school. A class session raises the question from one of the students :How can a Jew be friends with a Muslim? and this sets the stage for the two women to come together and eventually form a close friendship.

Both Nasira and Rochel are from very traditional backgrounds and though their faiths set them apart from each other, it is also the strictures required by those faiths that bring them together and help them commisserate with each other - they are both in the process of being matchmade by their respective families to 'suitable' young men from their own religious backgrounds. Nasira balks at one of the suitors her father brings forth and Rochel finds herself being put in awkward 'blind dates' by her well-meaning but clueless aunt.

Yes, there are some sappy bits in this movie, but the portrayal of tradition is very credibly done, and the strong acting by the two female leads elevates this movie from just another social commentary. Having come from a very traditional family myself, I can relate to the emotional conflicts these girls go through, and though I rejected the pressures placed upon me, I can also understand and respect why these two young women chose to keep to their traditions and appease their parents. It doesn't mean that they are weak, its ultimately their choice.

This is a subtle and well-directed movie that often elicited smiles and tears as I sat through it. Highly recommended!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice alternative to the mainstream movies December 19, 2008
I can see why this movie would never become a blockbuster hit considering the taste of mainstream america. I search for movies with substance and this movie definately hits the mark. I do not belong to either culture but can easily relate to the pressure both women, Rochel and Nasira were going through with the American society and their families. I also applauded the fact that the two women CHOSE to embrace their cultures and follow tradition with the arranged marriage. They did not settle but held out for men who they felt true compatibility with. This was an excellent film!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arranged marriages, arranged freindships May 25, 2008
This story, about two kids who happen to be of "opposite", yet very similar religions, is very common in a place as diverse as Brooklyn. Especially in the work place, and even more so, if the workplace happens to be a school. It's beautiful to see it portrayed so realistically.

Rochel and Nasira are very beautiful young girls, and very serious. Both have ancient traditions and loving families. Both are free to make their own choices, being citizens of a free country, and both choose to follow their own religions.

This movie does not harp on the Muslim/Jewish struggle (it just mentions it once when the children ask about it) there is no political connotation, no propaganda attached to it at all, which is refreshing. it simply tells a charming story that may have occurred at one time or another in Brooklyn.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tradition Gets Personal March 13, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It is another fine example of the possibility of quality film being made without a big Hollywood budget, and without super-star celebrity participation. The principals are believable and engaging in their roles. At one point I took note of the fact that I was lost in the story the film was telling, despite the lack of a manipulative, big-budget musical score.

The two main characters, Rochel, an Orthodox Jew, and Nasira, a devout Muslim, find that they share more in common with each other, despite their religious differences, than they do with the culture around them. While this film is certainly about the possibility of cross-cultural friendship between those at the extremes of different faiths, I found that it spoke to me more as an exploration of the possibility of faithful adherence to traditional values of any stripe in the face of modern pressures to acquiesce to the prevailing secular culture. The central struggle concerns the tradition of arranged marriage, a tradition that puts those who practice it squarely at odds with a modern society convinced there is only one way to find a mate. I felt these strong, young women's honest struggle as they tried to reckon with the pressures of the traditional faiths of their families, society, and their own personal autonomy.

What I especially appreciated about the film is that the two young women were smart, beautiful, and fully cognizant of their ability to chose a life for themselves. They realized that their adherence to the traditions of their faith was a conscious choice and a legitimate, though not always easy, one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I would recommend this movie
well acted. I would recommend this movie.
Published 2 days ago by cheryl smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie with a wonderful message
Great movie with a wonderful message!
Published 5 days ago by Chip B.
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute but simple
I'm probably not going to say anything new (there are some great reviews here already) so I'll be brief: I liked this movie, but I had to turn off my critical thinking skills to... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Seeker :)
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a must to see!
Published 15 days ago by Mother of 5
5.0 out of 5 stars How Orthodox Jews and Muslims can co-exist, and then some... a...
"Arranged" (2007 release; 89 min.) brings the story of two women, both of them new teachers at a local public school in Brooklyn. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul Allaer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this movie. I invite friends over to see it. It is sophisticated but sweet, respectful and fun. I learned a lot from it and I have enjoyed watching it.
Published 1 month ago by naturelover1
3.0 out of 5 stars Enemies/Enablers
This plot unfolds unexpectedly, mainly because it isn't American born. So, we could not predict the outcome. Read more
Published 1 month ago by dianewright
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
one of the best
Published 1 month ago by Barri Cae Mallin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It was a nice movie, entertaining, but not very thought provoking.
Published 1 month ago by Yael Sussman
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite movies. Beautifully written and acted
One of my favorite movies. Beautifully written and acted!
Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth R. Bartley
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