Keeping the Fath Keeping the Faith Episode 01 - (English) TYPE3
Film Date :   April 14, 2000
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Keeping the Fath

Keeping the Faith Episode 01 - (English) TYPE3

Keeping the Faith is a 2000 comedy-drama film, written by Stuart Blumberg and directed by Edward Norton. This film was released byTouchstone Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment, in association with Triple Threat Talent on April 14, 2000.

The film is Edward Norton's directorial debut, and was dedicated to his late mother, Robin Norton. The film had a budget of $30,000,000, with total US Gross box office receipts of $37,036,404.

The film begins with a drunken and downtrodden Catholic priest stumbling aimlessly around town while "Please Call Me Baby", performed by Tom Waits, plays, then telling his story to a sympathetic bartender (Brian George). Father Brian Kilkenney Finn (Edward Norton) has been dedicated to the calling since he was a child, and now shares the duties of a New York congregation with an older priest, Fr. Havel (Milo? Forman). Rabbi Jacob Schram (Ben Stiller), best friends with Brian since childhood, is the youngest rabbi at his Conservative synagogue; his lack of effort to find a wife often results in his mother (Anne Bancroft) and other women of his congregation setting him up on blind dates, much to his dismay.

Brian and Jake share a desire to rejuvenate their religions, which tends to stir up mixed feelings and dissent among those more traditional (such as elderly members and the senior rabbis). However, their unorthodox, humorous, and down-to-earth sermon styles (with suggested similarities to stand-up comedy routines and motivational speeches) and other such approaches quickly grow popular, resulting in increased service attendance and a renewed interest in faith. General community outreach is another passion the friends share, and together they begin developing an abandoned disco into a Jewish-Catholic social center.
In its earlier days, the friendship included a third party. Via flashbacks and reminiscent musings, Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman) is introduced: she met Jake and Brian in middle school, after kicking the groin of a bully who was picking on them. The three enjoyed attending ballgames, playing sports, and riding the subway around the city together, as well as getting into typical mischief. Unfortunately, Anna's father gets a new job that results in the Reillys moving cross-country to California.
Years later, Anna calls her old friends out of the blue and the friendship is rekindled when her company temporarily reassigns her to a New York position. Feelings quickly begin to run deeper than before, as Anna, despite her workaholic tendencies, is as vibrant as Brian and Jake remembered her; however, it is, ironically, the men's careers that prove to be the most problematic.

She and Jake start sleeping together, but he is reluctant to be involved in a serious relationship with her because she is not Jewish but Catholic, a fact which could compromise his relationship with his congregation and also with his mother (who disowned her other son for marrying outside the faith). Between the religious conflict and their desire to spare the feelings of their mutual friend, the relationship is kept mostly secret, resulting in both humorous and harmful complications.
Meanwhile, Brian is involved in his own test of faith as he struggles with his feelings for Anna despite his vows. Apart from praying about the situation, and discussing it with Fr. Havel, he keeps these thoughts mostly to himself. Brian begins misinterpreting Anna's words and actions (some of which are subtle signals to Jake as their affair is kept under wraps) and even has an erotic dream about her; he begins to seriously consider quitting the priesthood to pursue a romantic relationship with her.
Anna tells Jake that she wants things to be more serious between them, and he does not respond well. After an argument over the religious issues complicating their romance, Jake and Anna part ways in frustration. Anna turns to Brian for comfort, and he rushes over to her apartment. Still unaware of what's been going on, he takes her tearful ramblings to be a confession of feelings for him, then kisses her and admits his love. When she interrupts him, he first assumes it to be guilt based on his vows, but she tells him she is in love with Jake. Feeling embarrassed and rejected, Brian raids Anna's liquor cabinet, angrily cutting off her attempts to reassure him and apologize. The next day, still drunk, Brian stumbles into the temple and interrupts a post-bar mitzvah gathering, resulting in a confrontation with Jake that ends with the priest punching the rabbi. He leaves and stumbles around the city, drinking most of the night, until the film catches up with its beginnings at the bar.

The bartender listens patiently, but says his own religious situation is too complicated for him to offer any practical advice ("What do I know? I'm a half-Punjabi Sikh, quarter Tamil separatist. My sister married a Jewish doctor from New Jersey and our grandmother was an Irish nun who left me this bar, which is a very long story... it gets very complicated. I am reading Dianetics.")

As the community center's grand opening approaches, along with the last days of Anna's east coast assignment, the relationships begin to mend. A discussion between the two men prompts Jake to go to Anna's office building (where he is on perpetually uneasy terms with the security guard), with Brian shouting encouragement at him as he runs down the street. Jake manages to get Anna's attention from a window in the building across the street, and calls to explain himself and offer to set things right. They surprise Brian in the middle of his karaoke number at the interfaith center, which looks to be off to a successful start. Anna greets Rabbi Lewis (Eli Wallach) as he passes by and asks about their meetings together, at which point it becomes clear that she had been taking classes to convert for Jake. The film ends happily with the three childhood friends posing for a snapshot together.
Norton agreed to star in and direct the movie because screenwriter Blumberg was Norton's roommate in college.

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