A Price Above Rubies
Boaz Yakin (a Sundance winner for Fresh) wrote and directed this drama, set in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community, about a young woman who harbors doubts about continuing to follow the path of her religion. Sonia (Renee Zellweger) gives birth to her first child. She wants to name the boy after her dead brother, but after an argument over the name, she resentfully defers to her husband, scholarly zaddik (holy man) Mendel (Glenn Fitzgerald). Both are apprehensive over the child's circumcision. Hasidic traditions dictate their life, including aspects of making love which leave Sonia sexually frustrated. This leads her into an affair with Mendel's older brother, the materialistic Sender (Christopher Eccleston), who offers her an opportunity to manage his neighborhood jewelry store. Against the wishes of Mendel, she accepts, displaying her flair for the jewelry business and establishing herself as a very good businesswoman. However, after she befriends sensitive Hispanic artist Ramon (Allen Payne), a sculptor and jewelry designer, she upsets everyone, especially Sender, who bars her from the store. Forbidden to see her child, Sonia begins a confused, downward spiral. Shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.