A Price Above Rubies
|A Price Above Rubies|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Boaz Yakin|
|Produced by||Lawrence Bender|
|Written by||Boaz Yakin|
|Music by||Lesley Barber|
|Edited by||Arthur Coburn|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Sundance Film Festival
January 22, 1998
March 25, 1998
A Price Above Rubies is a 1998 film directed by Boaz Yakin, starring Renée Zellweger as a young woman who finds it difficult to conform to the restrictions imposed on her by her community. Reviews of the movie were mixed, though generally positive to Zellweger's performance. The title is a biblical quote. Proverbs 31:10, in the King James translation, says "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies."
The film tells the story of Sonia (Zellweger), a young Brooklyn woman who has just given birth to her first child. She is married, through an arranged marriage, to Mendel (Glenn Fitzgerald), a devout Hasidic Jew who is too immersed in his studies to give his wife the attention she craves. As a result, Sonia develops a relationship with Mendel's brother, the jeweler Sender (Eccleston), who brings her into the business. Sender is the only release for Sonia's repressed sexuality, and he takes full advantage of that fact as often as he can, but she is repelled by his utter lack of morals as she finds balance between what she feels and what she has been taught is "sinful". The jewellery business brings her into close contact with the young Puerto Rican artist and jewellery designer Ramon (Payne), but when Sender finds out about their connection he reveals it to the family, and Sonia is divorced and ostracized. The film ends on a more tolerance-friendly note, with Sonia balancing desire and every day life, and Mendel accepting her differences with a blessing and the promise to restore custody of their son.
Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the movie three stars. While impressed by Zellweger's "ferociously strong performance", he found the film did not teach us "much about her society", and that the Hasidic community could have been treated in greater depth. Charles Taylor of Salon likewise appreciated Zellweger's performance, while also finding the cultural aspect treated too superficially. He described Sonia's choices as "clichés left over from the Liberated Woman movies of 20 years ago", and the movie generally as "that old middle-of-the-road groaner about the good and bad in every race". Maria Garcia of Film Journal International was more positively inclined to the movie, and called it a "beautifully wrought, skillfully rendered and brilliantly acted film".
- Renée Zellweger as Sonia Horowitz
- Christopher Eccleston as Sender Horowitz
- Julianna Margulies as Rachel
- Allen Payne as Ramon Garcia
- Glenn Fitzgerald as Mendel Horowitz
- Kim Hunter as Rebbitzin
- John Randolph as Rebbe Moshe
- Kathleen Chalfant as Beggar Woman
- Peter Jacobson as Schmuel
- Edie Falco as Feiga
- Allen Swift as Mr.Fishbein
- Roger Ebert (1998-04-03). "A Price Above Rubies". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- Charles Taylor (1998-03-27). "She shtups to conquer". Salon.com. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- Price Above Rubies, Film Journal International, Maria Garcia, 2008-01-14