clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

One of Us

A moving exploration of what it means to leave a closed religious community (Netflix)

A scene from One of Us Netflix
Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Netflix’s One of Us, about three young people trying to make their way in life after leaving Hasidic Judaism behind, is laden with a familiar sadness and longing. Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady also made the 2006 documentary Jesus Camp, which looked inside a charismatic Christian summer camp for young people, but One of Us takes a different tack in its examination of an insular religious community (and one that’s particularly impenetrable to outsiders).

Instead of talking to the true believers, Ewing and Grady follow the questioners. The revelations in One of Us are two-pronged: They uncover much about the Hasidic community, while also more broadly exposing how insular groups keep people in and everyone else out. It’s hard to leave, even when staying feels just as impossible. (Here’s our review.)

”’One of Us’ is so strong as-is that its more harrowing sections — particularly Ari’s account of his childhood suffering and the details of Etty’s fight for freedom — are so already hard to watch that you might want to turn away.” Matt Zoller Seitz,

Release date: October 20, 2017

Streaming on: Netflix

Metacritic score: 78 out of 100