The Honorable Woman

Hugo Blick
Dec 10, 2015

Change is a difficult process for anyone, but imagine if you were trying to change your father's munition company, which historically provided bombs for Israel against Palestine, to a firm focused on assisting with stability in the Middle East. Impossible, right? Nessa and Ephra Stein are attempting to do just that in this intense mini-series that follows their lives after a Palestinian businessman, whom they have selected to win a major project with their company, commits suicide. Nothing is as it seems--including, most importantly, everyone's relationships with each other. Secrets are exposed, lies are told and shared by British, American, Palestinian and Israeli governments, and yet everyone is pretending that everything will be okay. In a series of dramatic events, it becomes apparent that, in fact, nothing is fine. Nessa and Ephra's lives are turned upside down, even as Nessa repeats "we cannot be compromised" in a stone-cold manner to anyone who questions her decisions about the company. Even with their backs up against the wall, both Stein siblings do not and will not ask for help because the help they have received in the past has come back to ruin them in the present.

The Honorable Woman is an intense portrait of a family empire unraveling due to corruption, deceit, and lies. Hugo Blick has created a mesmerizing look at business relations, politics, and religious factions in the Middle East, which all lead to an explosive ending. I was not particularly shocked by the way Blick wrote the relationships between all of the different sides of the story, but was constantly wondering what would happen in the next episode. I do have to say that Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays Nessa Stein, was not my favorite, although she (and everyone else) did a fantastic job at their roles. I found her character's personality disturbingly bi-polar throughout the whole series, but that only reflects the emotional turmoil she goes through as events unfold. I can't tell if she is strong or stupid, but you should definitely view this one to find out. It has made me want to look at Israel's history and learn more about the political factions in that area. 

Reviewed by Library Staff