Trembling Before G-d


Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. Deeply moving and exceptionally gracious piece of documentary filmmaking.
  2. 83
    The film seems to resonate even for people who aren't Jewish or gay, as there are so many people touched by homosexuality and religion.
  3. 80
    Remarkable exploration of sexuality and the Jewish faith.
  4. 80
    This is a brave, groundbreaking film.
  5. DuBowski has cast admirably far and wide for his interviews, giving the work global scope. In some instances, DuBowski is pretty clearly a proactive documentarian, inspiring some of his interviewees to dare to take steps that are risky and revealing.
  6. 80
    Director Sandi Simcha DuBowski latches on to a provocative subject and invests it with a compelling tenderness.
  7. 75
    The rigidity of most of the rabbis interviewed in the film is balanced by the presence of openly gay Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg, who offers a more liberal, but no less scholarly, interpretation of the Torah.
  8. While the compiled testimony is strong, some larger context is missing.
  9. An unexpectedly moving family portrait of cousins we didn't know we had.
  10. It's that dilemma -- a commitment to Orthodox life, the refusal to deny one's sexuality and the fear of expulsion once that sexuality is revealed -- that director Sandi Simcha DuBowski illustrates so powerfully.
  11. 75
    Examines this dilemma with compassion and sensitivity.
  12. Short but emotionally effective movie.
  13. 70
    Though angry and sorrowful, Trembling Before G-d, beginning with the title, is above all a work of reverence.
  14. A provocative documentary that shines light on a little-explored dimension of the international debate regarding homosexuality and religion: that of gays and lesbians who also wish to belong to the Orthodox and Hassidic Jewish communities.
  15. 60
    By the end of Trembling Before G_d, you desperately wish that at least some of DuBowski's subjects would see the light.
  16. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    While seemingly insoluble divide between personal identity and collective belief lends the documentary an intense focus, it's also a narrow one.
  17. DuBowski focuses on religious faith as much as sexual preference, which may be the most interesting aspect of the film.
  18. 50
    Dubowski's movie is an act of hope that the basic human needs of the gay Orthodox will someday be reconciled with their faith.
  19. 50
    Obviously the director has her point of view on the subject and the film is thusly slanted, but this bias, while good for the cause, may not be best suited for thorough documentary filmmaking.
  20. It's unfortunate that the people DuBowski profiles tend to be self-indulgent or otherwise unappealing. It's still more unfortunate that the film focuses more on relatively easy issues of acceptance.

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