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The Believer (2001)

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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.

Director:

Henry Bean

Writers:

Henry Bean (screenplay), Henry Bean (story) | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Gosling ... Danny Balint
Peter Meadows Peter Meadows ... Orthodox Student
Garret Dillahunt ... Billings
Kris Eivers Kris Eivers ... Carleton
Joel Marsh Garland ... O.L. (as Joel Garland)
Billy Zane ... Curtis Zampf
Theresa Russell ... Lina Moebius
Summer Phoenix ... Carla Moebius
Jack Drummond Jack Drummond ... Old Coot
Sig Libowitz ... Rav Zingesser
James McCaffrey James McCaffrey ... Young Avi (as James G. McCaffrey)
Jacob Green Jacob Green ... Young Danny
Frank Winters Frank Winters ... Young Stuart
Ronald Guttman ... Danny's Father
Heather Goldenhersh ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

23 August 2001 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

Danny Balint See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,236, 19 May 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$406,035, 29 September 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Directorial debut of Henry Bean. See more »

Goofs

In the DVD version, the words "a decade" are silent in the phrase "The Thousand-Year Reich barely lasted a decade..." even though Zampf is still mouthing it. See more »

Quotes

Guy Danielson: How can you say all this when you're a Jew yourself?
See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a strong story about self-hating
16 December 2006 | by dromascaSee 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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