Two films, which has as the subject Jewish women, are making their debut this weekend: one is fictional (Esther) and one is non-fiction - the inimitable Joan Rivers. Both movies capture the Jewish female spirit in its complexity: brilliant, insecure and unstoppable. Both are works of Art, both are triumphs of personality, both exemplify ‘coming of age angst’ and both are conflicted about being a Jewish woman.
I knew Joan Rivers when her husband Edgar Rosenberg was alive and although being funny and relevant always trumped being Jewish, Joan Rivers shared a comic point of view, much like the early Mike Nichols and Elaine May, that was topical as well as a tribute to the Borscht Belt comedians of the l940’s, 50’s and 60’s. She was, and still is, one of a kind.
The movie “Esther Blueberger” an Australian film (that has a wonderful appearance by Toni Collette) is a slice of interior life of a Jewish girl who feels like an outsider in a non-Jewish world - a familiar topic in our assimilated American life. Both movies are very much worth seeing.