KEEPING THE FAITH
Edward Norton's Keeping the Faith is one of the first movies for Generation X that examines the important roles of religion and spirituality in a person's life. It examines what happens when these strong beliefs are put to their test through temptation. It illustrates the importance of faith in God and faith in others. And it does all this with no irony, sarcasm, or cynicism. Imagine that. It puts forth the groundbreaking notion that life might actually be okay; that it is all right to have faith in something. This may come as a surprise to some, but these are very novel and risky concepts to put forth as hip.
-Review by Cris Bruce


KEEPING THE FAITH
(2000)


This page was created in April 2000
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

Directed by Edward Norton
Written by Stuart Blumberg

Ben Stiller .... Jake
Edward Norton .... Brian
Jenna Elfman .... Anna
Anne Bancroft .... Ruth
Eli Wallach .... Rabbi Lewis
Ron Rifkin .... Larry Friedman
Milos Forman .... Father Havel
Holland Taylor .... Bonnie Rose
Lisa Edelstein .... Ali Decker

Produced by Gary Barber (executive), Roger Birnbaum (executive), Stuart Blumberg, Jonathan Glickman (executive), Howard W. Koch Jr., Edward Norton

Original music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography by Anastas N. Michos
Film Editing by Malcolm Campbell

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and language.

TRAILERS AND CLIPS
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KEEP THE FAITH!
STUDIO SYNOPSIS:
Best friends since they were kids, Rabbi Jacob Schram (Ben Stiller) and Father Brian Finn (Edward Norton) are dynamic and popular young men living and working on New York's Upper West Side. When Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman), once their childhood friend and now grown into a beautiful corporate executive, suddenly returns to the city, she reenters Jake and Brian's lives and hearts with a vengeance. Sparks fly and an unusual and complicated love triangle ensues.

REVIEW BY CRIS BRUCE
for Hollywood Jesus

This Edward Norton directed film reminded me of a conversation I had with my little brother a few months ago. Our conversation took place in a coffee shop that we frequent and the topic was our favorite subject: movies. We are constantly bouncing ideas off of one another about screenplay ideas and what we think about the current slew of films. (It runs in the family!) We talked about our favorite young directors: Quentin Tarantino (Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs), Brian Singer (The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, and the upcoming X-men), Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma and the unforgivable Mallrats), Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Slacker, Before Sunrise) and Doug Lihman (Swingers, Go). When we talk about making movies, these are our icons; our Generation X rock star gods. Cool guys used to play guitar in the garage and hope to make it big. Now they work in video stores; and write screenplays while studying classic and not so classic films.

Over our heavily creamed and sugared coffee, my brother and I tried to come up with an original idea for a movie. Suddenly it hit me. How about an honest movie with twenty-something Gen Xers that talked about religion, love, and the important decisions that one makes along the way. What would make this movie different from say Dogma or Go would be the absence of sarcasm and irony. A true movie told from the heart. This would be an incredibly novel idea for a movie made by a twenty-something.

Apparently I wasn't the only one to have this idea. Edward Norton's Keeping the Faith is one of the first movies for Generation X that does exactly this. It examines the important roles of religion and spirituality in a person's life. It examines what happens when these strong beliefs are put to their test through temptation. It illustrates the importance of faith in God and faith in others. And it does all this with no irony, sarcasm, or cynicism. Imagine that. It puts forth the groundbreaking notion that life might actually be okay; that it is all right to have faith in something. This may come as a surprise to some, but these are very novel and risky concepts to put forth as hip. It also portrays rabbis and priests against stereotype; showing them to be charismatic, down to earth, and very cool. These guys even karaoke Barry Manilow at the end of the film and still come away looking good.

It doesn't throw every Gen X sensibility out the window though. We still have multiple media references in the way of quoted movie lines and references to old TV shows. It is important to reward Gen X for being media savvy. We feel somewhat justified in our endless hours of TV and movie watching when we see them referenced in movies. It makes us part of the "in-crowd" and justifies our contempt for people who don't know their Boba Fett from their Keyser Soze. However, Norton uses media references to make his points about faith and religion (hmmmmm..sounds like a certain website that I have heard a lot about.). Norton's message to Gen X: its okay to be hip but try to take a look at the bigger picture too. He celebrates faith and religions and reminds us that people of all religions, race, and cultures should recognize what makes them similar and celebrate those things that make them different.

Wow; what a positive and truly groundbreaking message when one considers the source.

OFFICIAL SITE
Keeping The Faith © 2000 Touchstone Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

REFRESHING
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001
From: Butson

The only reason I picked up "Keeping the Faith" was because of the positive reviews on this site. As a result, our family loved it! Granted, mom had to do some editing for the teens and preteens, but we enjoyed serious religious faith taken seriously and hard questions wrestled with in an honest fashion. the friendship aspect was precious as well. It isn't often a high-powered glamorous female character asks if her priorities are out-of-whack to her friend the priest. Edward Norton is great as Brian- he's funny, and all too real. Thanks for the recommendation. (Do you know if Norton knows how his film is being recieved by folks like us, meaning Christians?I give him all the credit in the world for taking a risk like this!

STORY ABOUT FAITH
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000
From: Ron Baerg

I just finished watching Keeping the Faith. It is an enjoyable movie and my wife and I found it engrossing. It is a story about faith-- faith in yourself, faith in others, and faith in God. I was surprised not to find a review of it.
Ron Baerg North Battleford, SK

Response: Look again. The best place to find a list of all Hollywood Jesus reviews is on the contents page. Bookmark it. -David

BROUGHT UNDERSTANDING
Date: Tue, 2 May 2000
From: "Lance"

I really enjoyed this film. I felt it addressed religion without being condescending or trite. I did feel like it was a bit long. But other then that the musings on Faith and Temptation were well thought out and presented. I also felt it allowed me to understand the Jewish church and Catholic's a little better. Coming from a protastant background my knowledge is sorely limited. I would encourage all to see it.
Lance

Response: Film hath power. -David

BASIC QUESTIONS OF FAITH
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 200
From: "james clark"

Dear Sir, I went to see this flick because I wanted a refresher in some good rabbi/priest jokes... but I was surprised with the level of spiritual depth. Being a single, young, youth minister, many of the jokes were funny, especially to me. But I felt that it dealt with faith and what it means in relationships in a very real way. They talked about the basic question that faces most Christian youth in this day and age, "Can I marry a non-Christian?" It shows the importance of sharing your faith with the person that you are planning to spend your life with. It would definately be a good one to take in with some older youth, and would help breach the question of dating and marriage today.
Sincerely in Christ,
Jim James M. Clark
youth minister

PASTOR LOVES KEEPING THE FAITH
Subject: Great movie
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 200
From: "Mike Mansfield"

My wife and I went to see "Keeping the Faith" last night at the suggestion of one of our church members. My wife thoroughly enjoyed the film which contains questions of faith, romance, and comedy. I LOVED the film, it's questions, and its seeming lack of easy answers. As a pastor I found myself weeping more than once at the beauty of the spirituality of the two clergy persons in the film. I also wept as they struggled with issues of fidelity to the ministry that had chosen them, and that they had chosen. I do not purchase videos; but, when this comes out on video I definitely will purchase it. I also may go see it again while it is still on a the theater.
Mike Mansfield
P.S. Don't forget to visit the Hunger Site today and every day. Every time you do you feed a few hungry people somewhere in the world. http://www.thehungersite.com
J. Michael Mansfield, Director Cumberland County Parish (United Methodist)
Pastor Burkesvillle United Methodist Church Burkesville Kentucky USA

40 PLUS RECOMMENDS FAITH
Subject: Recommendation
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 08:55:24 -0500
From: "J. Michael Mansfield"

This kind of recommendation happens less than once per year; but I received a recommendation from a church member to see "Keeping the Faith" this morning. After reviewing the Hollywood Jesus notes I am convinced I SHOULD see it. I am not Gen-X; but I pastor many folk who are. The person who recommended it to me, by the way, is in her mid forties! Mike Mansfield Burkesville, Kentucky

I AM GOING TO SEE IT
Subject: You convinced me!
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000
From: Tracy Novick

I was toying with going to see it but wasn't sure that I could tolerate another lame attempt to have fun with religion. You know, the ol' "isn't it funny that priests are celibate" joke. You've given me. I'm going to see it, and I'll be back to post my comments.
Tracy Novick

PLEASANTLY SURPRISED
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000
From: Christy

I saw it tonight and was really pleasantly surprised at the spiritual message. Yes, it is a feel-good movie, but it did not do it at the expense of religion. Some real-life situations for clergy are presented very sensitively (some clergy could get a clue by seeing this movie!). I will be eager to read your take on it.
Christy