Jake and Brian are friends. They are Jewish and Catholic respectively. They would grow up and become a rabbi and priest respectively. Anna whom they knew when they were younger comes back to town a stunning woman. Jake is up to be the head of his synagogue but he is not married which doesn't make his appointment any easier. Jake finds himself attracted to Anna but because she is not Jewish, he can't marry cause it would be another thing that will make his appointment less likely. Brian also finds himself attracted to Anna but being a priest doesn't allow that. When they learn of each other's feelings for her, strains their friendship. Written by
'Keeping the Faith' is one of the funniest, smartest, warmest comedies of the last several years, and is a terrific directorial debut for costar Edward Norton. It works on many levels; as a loving look at relationships, on the common ground Judaism and Catholicism shares in compassion towards people, in embracing love, no matter what obstacles might arise...and it does all this while respecting different faiths, which makes this a very unique and special film!
Norton and Ben Stiller play lifelong friends, who, as children, meet a fabulous, funny girl who they bond with. Eventually she moves away, and the two boys grow up, becoming a priest and a rabbi...then the girl returns, as a successful businesswoman, and the friendship is renewed...until romance enters the picture!
Each character is unique and likeable; Norton is a sweet, funny klutz, endearing in his awkwardness; Stiller is compassionate and quick-witted, dealing with his Temple's matchmaking efforts with wry humor; Jenna Elfman (who has NEVER been lovelier onscreen) is both wise and vulnerable, and totally believable as a person both guys would fall in love with.
Major issues are addressed in the film (a Priest's vow of celibacy, interfaith marriages, religious discrimination), and are dealt with and resolved in such a positive, loving manner that you wonder why these issues ever BECOME problems! All this reflects well on Norton, who shows remarkable sensitivity as both a cowriter and director!
The supporting cast is marvelous; Anne Bancroft is fabulous as Stiller's mother, Eli Wallach and Ron Rifkin, as a rabbi and synagogue leader, respectively, are equally good; director Milos Forman is terrific as Father Havel, Norton's mentor. Two other supporting players should be singled out, as well; Lisa Edelstein has a GREAT slapstick scene with Stiller, as the Jewish 'Date from Hell', and Brian George is hilarious as a "Sikh/Christian with Jewish in-laws" bartender that Norton confides in.
There are a LOT of great one-liners, inspired scenes, and a resolution that is both believable and satisfying. This is a 'feel-good' movie that you can enjoy, again and again! I HIGHLY recommend it!
22 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?