93QUEEN –Review by Susan Wloszczyna

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As documentaries go, 93Queen might be constricted in its scope as it details the recent creation of an all-female Hasidic EMT corps of volunteers that serves the male-dominated ultraorthodox Jewish community of Borough Park, Brooklyn. Given how women followers must steadfastly maintain their modesty to the point where showing their bare legs to a man other than their husband is forbidden, it didn’t make sense that an all-male medical emergency squad known as Hatzolah was the only option to handle calls involving births, miscarriages and other indelicate body-exposing medical situations. Continue reading…

Enter Rachel “Ruchie” Freier, mother of six, an ace baker of challah bread (with a fully stocked freezer of braided dough to prove it) — and an attorney. Every true-life account of a crusader who dares challenge patriarchal norms needs a Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich or Katherine G. Johnson for the audience to root for. Director Paula Eiselt – who also handled photography duties as well as being a producer – knows she has struck activist gold in Freier.

Here is someone who defied expectations by getting her law degree at age 40 and yet also goes against feminist ideology by steadfastly adhering to her religion’s strict gender-based rules. Of course, she will succeed and then some. She is also shown in a somewhat dictatorial “my-way-or-the-highway” light, causing some of her team to drop out.

One wishes other members of Ezras Nashim – Women for Women – could have shared more of their back stories. And few men besides Freier’s open-minded real-estate attorney spouse and one Hatzolah member whose identity is shielded as he supports her efforts are heard.

But it is a delight just to be in the company of a spitfire like Freier. She might state that “a woman’s place is in the home” and that “the focus of a woman is being a mother,” but this force of nature also has found her true calling in the world at large.

motw logo 1-35EDITOR’S NOTE: 93Queen is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for July 20, 2918

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Susan Wloszczyna

In her nearly 30 years at USA Today, Susan Wloszczyna interviewed everyone from Vincent Price and Shirley Temple to Julia Roberts and Will Smith. Her coverage specialties include animation, musicals, comedies and any film starring Hayley Mills, Sandy Dennis or hobbits. Her crowning career achievements so far, besides having Terence Stamp place his bare feet in her lap during an interview for The Limey, is convincing the paper to send her to New Zealand twice for set visits, once for The Return of the King and the other for The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong, and getting to be a zombie extra and interview George Romero in makeup on the set for Land of the Dead. Though not impressive enough for Pulitzer consideration, she also can be blamed for coining the moniker "Frat Pack," often used to describe the comedy clique that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Her positions have included Life section copy desk chief for four years and a film reviewer for 12 years. She is currently a contributor for the online awards site Gold Derby and is an Oscar expert for RogerEbert.com. Previously, she has been a freelance film reporter and critic, contributing regularly to RogerEbert.com, MPAA’s The Credits, the Washington Post, AARP The Magazine online and Indiewire as well as being a book reviewer for The Buffalo News. She previously worked as a feature editor at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A Buffalo native, she earned her bachelor's degree in English at Canisius College and a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.