A Price Above Rubies

Director: Boaz Yakin
Screenwriters: Boaz Yakin

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


A Price above Rubies marks the return of at least three major talents who had debuts at the Sundance Film Festival: director Boaz Yakin (Fresh), producer Lawrence Bender (Reservoir Dogs), and star Renée Zellweger (The Whole Wide World). As might be anticipated, their collaboration has resulted in a very special work.
Zellweger plays Sonia, a Hasidic woman who has become what she was brought up to be: wife to a rabbinical scholar. When she is offered a position to run a jewelry shop operating out of a home in the community, suddenly she gains contact with a world outside the insular, rigidly controlled sphere in which she lives. Even more critically she enters a realm in which her passions, so sublimated previously, begin to find realization.
A Price above Rubies intertwines morality and love, freedom and desire, and the contra-dictions of life under orthodoxy. Yakin has demonstrated again an aptitude for presenting worlds far from his own and garnered a splendid set of performances from his leads, especially Zellweger who inhabits her role so completely she makes you forget she’s acting. The world of the Hasidim has rarely if ever been presented on screen with such a focus on its mores, values, and practices and without caricature, dismissiveness, or vitriol. Beautifully written and intensely felt and rendered, Rubies does what film can do so magically: transport us to another time and place in order to experience a world beyond ourselves.

Boaz Yakin, Director
Boaz Yakin attended film school at New York City College and NYU before moving to Los Angeles, where he developed screenplays for United Artists, Warner Bros., and White Eagle Productions. Yakin made his directorial debut with the acclaimed film Fresh, which won the Filmmakers Trophy at Sundance in 1994. Yakin has also has two films produced from his screenplays: The Punisher (1989) for New World Pictures, and The Rookie (1990) for Warner Bros. and Cl;int Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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