Keeping The Faith
- Edward Norton
- Reviewed by
- a.k.a. Jacinda
- Review date
- Thursday, September 06, 2001
Father Brian (Edward Norton) and Rabbi Jacob (Ben Stiller) have been best friends since their childhood. They live a happy life on New York’s Upper West Side until the day their old friend Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman) arrives in the Big Apple. The chaos is perfect when both friends fall in love with the charming Anna. All of them start to question their beliefs.
While the premise of the movie sounds quite simple the spiritual conflicts add a good portion of dramatic tension. The Catholic priest cannot break his vow of celibacy while the rabbi cannot be in a relationship with a woman who is not Jewish. Anna’s personal conflict is that she has dedicated her whole life to her career. Now this determined business woman has to redefine her priorities in life. Thanks to Stuart Blumberg’s intelligent script, these conflicts fit in well into the light-hearted comedy.
Edward Norton simply has the right feeling with the casting. Stiller, Norton and Elfman are the perfect match. I personally consider Ben Stiller one of the greatest comedians of our time. In Keeping The Faith he delivers hilarious moments. Some of the scenes are entirely improvised. In result, the comedy has a very fresh feeling to it.
Jenna Elfman stars in the role of the lively Anna Reilly. I kept asking myself why no one else ever gave her the chance to prove her talent in a part like this. The role of “Anna Banana” seems to be written for Elfman. Her presence is simply radiant. The screen brightens up whenever she puts on a big smile. Jenna’s perfect timing is evident in every single scene. While Norton’s direction gets the best out of Elfman and Stiller he himself proves his comedic talent in more than one way.
Keeping The Faith reminds me of those old screwball classics that I’ve loved my whole life. It is rare that a contemporary movie can convey this very feeling to me. The atmosphere of Keeping The Faith is dead-on perfect. There are beautiful shots of New York City combined with a romantic score written by Elmer Bernstein. The score actually sounds familiar – even though it was written only for the movie. What makes this charming comedy perfect though is the chemistry between Stiller, Norton and Elfman. The supporting cast is equally brilliant including Anne Bancroft, Eli Wallach and Milos Forman.
Edward Norton’s debut as a director sets high standards and makes me look forward to his upcoming works. A feel-good experience and one of the finest romantic comedies of the last years, Keeping The Faith keeps the right spirit.
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