So last week I saw this movie playing in the Village- an Israeli film entitled "Eyes Wide Open". Shout out to you, who I saw it with. The premise of the movie is a secret gay relationship taking place between two Hassidic Jews in Meah Shearim, Jerusalem. One is married, one a single young struggle Yeshiva Bochur being moved from Yeshiva to Yeshiva b/c he is a sinner.
The dotted section is a spoiler, so if you plan on seeing the movie, do not read the dotted line section.
From a religious perspective it was frightening. The community gets wind that the owner of a butcher shop is harboring a student who was kicked out of his Yeshiva for "a sin". There are "rumors", they say, though the community never mentions the word or sin itself. They also put signs up announcing their is a sinner in their midst. They are 'fearful' for their community and their children, letting such a sin inside. The butcher shop owner, with a wife and children, falls into a relationship with the Bochur, and after they threaten to take away his family and livelihood, he is forced to have Ezri leave.
From a homosexual perspective, the relationship is real, loving, and wrought with the pain and guilt that each party feels, knowing their love is a sin. My favorite part of the movie was when the married man, confronted, by his Rav, claims that before his relationship with Exri, he "had never felt alive, now he finally feels alive". It made it all very real, that there was more to them than simply sexuality or a physical "ta'avah", it was true love.
The ending was the married man entering a purification spring, where he once went with Ezri, dunking three times, then a fourth, and never coming up for a period of about fifteen to thirty seconds and then credits rolled. In my opinion it felt as if it didn't matter whether he came up alive, whether he was killing himself or not, b/c without Ezri, back in this loveless and life void of happiness, it didn't matter, his life might as well have been over.
As opposed to the ultra-Orthodox that the movie portrays, my recent experiences have taught me to thank Hashem that I am Modern Orthodox. I fear, that for me to have grown up more ultra-orthodox, rather than modern, I would not be able to stay frum. It is simply too hard, in a black and white world, to have feelings that are gray and let them in. You either go one way or the other. Being Modern has allowed me to accept the gray areas, explore the gray, and embrace everything- even if it doesn't fit into the strict black and white categories religion often imposes upon us.