Trembling Before G-d

Critics Consensus

Trembling Before G-d looks at the effects of religious morality on believers whose sexuality falls outside the accepted norm with intelligence and compassion.



Total Count: 61


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,503
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Movie Info

Shot in six countries, this documentary shatters assumptions about faith, sexuality, and religious fundamentalism. Built around intimately-told personal stories of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian, the film portrays a group of people who face a profound dilemma - how to reconcile their passionate love of Judaism and the Divine with the drastic Biblical prohibitions that forbid homosexuality. As the film unfolds, we meet a range of complex individuals - some hidden, some out - from the world's first openly gay Orthodox rabbi to closeted, married Hasidic gays and lesbians to those abandoned by religious families to Orthodox lesbian high-school sweethearts. Many have been tragically rejected and their pain is raw, yet with irony, humor and resilience, they love, care, struggle, and debate with a thousands-year old tradition. Ultimately, they are forced to question how they can pursue truth and faith in their lives--and survive--while upholding the universal struggle to belong.

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Critic Reviews for Trembling Before G-d

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (22)

  • A profoundly touching look at the plight of gay Orthodox Jews who are trying to integrate their sexuality with their religious beliefs. While the style is not innovative, the subject matter is groundbreaking.

    Jun 28, 2014 | Full Review…
  • This insightful documentary simmers with a fury that's passionate enough not to need spelling out.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Jamie Russell
    Top Critic
  • Moving and, ultimately, hopeful -- a hope that extends further than most documentaries allow.

    Dec 12, 2002 | Full Review…
  • A unique documentary about the crisis confronting gay and lesbian Jews who wish to remain part of the Orthodox and Hasidic branches of Judaism.

    Dec 12, 2002 | Rating: B
  • So how do gay men and lesbians who want to practice Orthodox Judaism reconcile these two seemingly contradictory forces in their lives? Director Sandi Simcha DuBowski's Trembling Before G-D examines this dilemma with compassion and sensitivity.

    Jul 20, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
    Chicago Tribune
    Top Critic
  • To the film's considerable credit, it focuses on the power of faith more than on the power of desire.

    Jul 19, 2002 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Trembling Before G-d

  • Nov 30, 2012
    The idea for this documentary is great. Hearing about the reaction to gay and lesbianism in cultures is fascinating. The problem is the execution. It simply doesn't grip us. This is a lost opportunity.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2008
    very interesting- well made and fairly balanced.
    chase _ Super Reviewer
  • Jan 13, 2008
    [font=Century Gothic]"Trembling before G-d" is a documentary about the difficulties faced by gay men and lesbians living in the Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish communities where biblical passages have been interpreted to condemn homosexuality. Another obstacle is how tight knit these communities are, making it extremely hard for a person to come out of the closet, especially when they are expected to marry and have children.(Thus explaining why certain participants have their faces blurred for the camera.) It is very sad seeing people forced to live lies.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]The movie talks to gays and lesbians in Los Angeles, Miami, Brooklyn and Israel, along with rabbis and psychologists in the community. Whereas some professionals are clearly empathetic, others simply ask their charges to change and conform.(By the way, I think the woman with 12 children is not depressed because of her husband's struggle.) In the end, it is much easier to tell someone what to believe than it is to tell them how to feel. And if god exists, then I would be sure that she loves gays and lesbians as much as everybody else. [/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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