Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Supergirl

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Supergirl

Article excerpt

Supergirl (2017), dir. Jessie Auritt

Jessie Auritt's first documentary film (The Birdman, 2013) introduced us to the charming and quirky owner of Rainbow Music in the East Village. At 70, Bill, known throughout the neighborhood as the Birdman, does not work for the money, but because he loves the work; helping customers find the music they want to hear.

In Supergirl, Auritt introduces us to another fascinating character, Naomi Kutin. At the beginning of the movie, Naomi is a nine year old Orthodox Jew who is setting world records for, of all things, power lifting. Watching this pre-teen grunt and huff, just like the behemoths of power lifting, is so odd that it is almost comical. But, then you realize that this isn't funny. Naomi is just as serious about power lifting as any 300 pound muscle-bound giant. And, when we take Naomi seriously, we get to see a remarkable young woman navigating her sport and her life, both of which include their trials and tribulations.

As we follow Naomi on her pre-teen journey we learn about the sport of power lifting (fascinating in itself), about what teens must do to compete at the highest levels of their sports, about Orthodox Judaism, about being exceptional, and about being part of a family. And, we learn that in the end the most important strength we can develop is "strength of character." Supergirl is a fascinating look into each element of Naomi's life.

For those interested in religion, Supergirl provides what I would call a subtle or even gentle introduction to Orthodox Judaism. This is not a theological or academic or political introduction to Orthodox Judaism. …

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