5 Differences Between Netflix’s ‘Unorthodox’ And The Real-Life Story

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WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Netflix’s Unorthodox.

With quality television at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, Unorthodox on Netflix has come at exactly the right time.

Netflix’s four-part mini series follows the journey of 19-year-old Esther Shapiro as she escapes her strict, religious community in Brooklyn and flees to a secular, independent life in Berlin. An emotional roller coaster, the series certainly keeps you on your toes.

While some true stories strictly adhere to remaining factual, sometimes artistic license is important to creating suspense and intrigue while keeping the narrative true to the real-life story.

Much like recent blockbusters Bombshell and HustlersUnorthodox is directly inspired by a true story. Author Deborah Feldman documented her escape from the Satmar community in Williamsburg, New York—a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews—in her best-selling novel Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, which provided the narrative framework for the show.

In the 20-minute feature Making Unorthodox, the author admits to working closely in its creation, specifically ensuring that the real story differs from the story we see on screen.

In an interview with The New York Times, Feldman discusses what it was like to see her life adapted into a Netflix television show.

“It’s scary to give someone your story for the screen because you can’t control it. On the other hand, I knew I didn’t want a part in controlling it,” she admitted. “We had a lot of discussions about when can you sacrifice accuracy and when not. We agreed you can sacrifice accuracy as long as it doesn’t impact the narrative.”

Here are five differences between the mini-series and the real-life moments that inspired it.

The names of the characters differ to their real-life counterparts.


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