7.2/10
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160 user 85 critic

The Believer (2001)

A young Jewish man develops a fiercely anti-Semitic philosophy. Based on the factual story of a K.K.K. member in the 1960s who was revealed to be Jewish by a New York Times reporter.

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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »

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6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Peter Meadows ...
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O.L. (as Joel Garland)
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Lina Moebius
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Jack Drummond ...
Old Coot
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Rav Zingesser
James McCaffrey ...
Young Avi (as James G. McCaffrey)
Jacob Green ...
Frank Winters ...
Young Stuart
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Danny's Father
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Linda
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Storyline

"The Believer" explores a Jewish student's private journey to understand the meaning of Judaism in his life. Set in New York City, the Plot follows a morally confused young adult struggling with the conflict between his beliefs and his heritage. "The Believer" examines themes of religion, family, and self-loathing. It is a psychological examination into the forces of intolerance, both on the individual and society as a whole. Written by Joe Bloggs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 August 2001 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Danny Balint  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$26,236 (USA) (17 May 2002)

Gross:

$406,035 (USA) (27 September 2002)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Critically acclaimed, grand-jury prize winner at Sundance Festival in January 2001, then appeared on Showtime pay-cable in March 2002, before finally being released theatrically in NYC, May 2002. See more »

Goofs

In the final synagogue segment, while the congregation is singing "Aveenu Malchenu," they keep changing keys from shot to shot, up a half-step and down a half-step and back up again again, indicating a string of takes edited together. See more »

Quotes

Daniel Balint: You print that in the New York Times, Guy, and I'm gonna kill myself.
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Connections

Featured in Beyond Clueless (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a strong story about self-hating
16 December 2006 | by (Herzlya, Israel) – See all my reviews

I am amazed how little this impact this film has made. It looks like its distribution around 2001/9/11 events and the fact that some American Jewish circles feared that it can be mis-interpreted led to a limited distribution. However, the directing of Henry Bean, the acting of Ryan Gosling, and the strong treatment of a difficult subject should have led to more respect than this movie received.

'The Believer' is the story of a young Jewish boy in today's America. Raised in a religious environment he is asking questions that are not unusual for a young Jewish person two or three generations after the Holocaut. Where was God during the Holocaust, and why did the Jewish people did so little to resist their oppressors? He is obviously giving the wrong answers, and not only loses his faith, but falls into the trap of self-hate, becoming a neo-Nazi and a Jew-hater, a self-hater in other words.

There are many things that can be said and discussed around this theme. The character may seem paradoxical, but it is not impossible. The fact that the story is loosely inspired by a true character is not that relevant, what is important is that we can believe the motivations of the character and understand his evolution. Certainly a film to watch and think about.


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