My wife brought a DVD home from the library this week. It was an extraordinary gem, an indie production from Cicala Filmworks titled Arranged.
It's the story of two young women just beginning their careers in the New York City public school system. They find themselves working together in the classroom - one as the fourth grade teacher, the other assigned to a special needs student in that class - and this collaboration sets the stage for their friendship.
Arranged really takes off when it explores how each is also looking toward the next big step in their lives - finding the right man, getting married, and starting a family. But before you dismiss it as just another chick flick, and it does contain elements that could make some grossly insecure guys wince, you should also know that one of the women, Rochel, is an Orthodox Jew, the other, Nasira, a Muslim.
Each comes from a religiously observant family living in a close-knit ethnic community, and in both cases 'finding the right man' is under the control of others.
Arranged is also not an attempt to turn back the clock on women's hard-fought gains. Both Rochel and Nasira are strong and insightful characters.
Arranged was released late last year. It has already picked up several film festival awards and is in limited distribution - not a surprise in the world of low-budget, high-quality, independently produced films.
But it's well worth seeing, even if it does require a small, extra effort. You can buy a copy direct from the filmmakers. It's just $15.50, which includes shipping and handling. That's less than the cost of two tickets for the standard Hollywood dreck at your local multiplex.
And remember - every time someone buys a copy of this movie, another wingnut's head explodes. When you donate your copy to your local public library after you've watched it yourself, you make it possible to blow up even more wingnut heads.
Now, I'd pay to see that movie.