The Arty Semite

Out and About: Bob Dylan's Book Deal; Orthodox Dance in Israel

By Ezra Glinter

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How 'Holy Rollers' Gets Hasidim Wrong

By Ezra Glinter

“Holy Rollers,” a new film based on the true story of a Hasidic ecstasy-smuggling ring in the late 1990s, is not only a bad movie, but also an offensive one. Not because it shows Hasidim doing illegal things (they did them, after all), but because it uses Hasidim as little more than an attention grabbing gimmick.

First Indepedent Pictures

Indeed, “Holy Rollers,” directed by Kevin Asch and starring the baby-faced Jesse Eisenberg, may get the finer details of drug-muling right, but gets just about everything else wrong. The Hasidim in the movie aren’t like any real-life Hasidim you might meet if you were doing, say, research for a movie about Hasidim. From the way the characters dress (wrong hats) to the fact that they shave (even the ‘good’ ones), to the writer’s and actors’ obvious ignorance of even the most basic aspects of Judaism (Hasidic or otherwise), it’s clear that precious little time or money was spent on getting the details of Hasidic life right.

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