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"Have a Little Faith" Asks the Right Questions
by Angela Walker, Contributing Writer

Have a Little FaithHAVE A LITTLE FAITH raises important life questions: Is there a God? Does He intervene in human matters? What about the human condition? In return, it offers interesting thoughts from two different sides of life, allowing you the freedom to draw your own conclusions.

Mitch Albom (Bradley Whitford) has a pretty great life. He lives in Detroit and is happily married. He’s an award-winning sportswriter, a must-read newspaper columnist, a screenwriter, and a radio and television broadcaster.
Then two men come into his life, and he realizes something’s missing.
The two men are Rabbi Albert Lewis (Martin Landau), who presides over a thriving synagogue in a comfortable New Jersey suburb, and pastor Henry Covington (Laurence Fishburne), a recovering drug user and dealer, who preaches to the poor and homeless in a crumbling Detroit inner-city church.
Moving between their worlds—Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and privileged—Albom witnesses firsthand how these two very different men not only live life, but celebrate life.
What do rabbi and reverend have in common? Albom comes to realize they both take profound comfort in believing that there’s a divine spark in all of us, and that one person—or in this case, two people—can make a big difference in others’ lives, as long as they have a little faith.

Memoir to Film
Have a Little FaithHAVE A LITTLE FAITH is the second of author Mitch Albom's memoirs adapted for film [TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE was the first], and readers who enjoy his books and writing style will enjoy this adaptation. If you're not familiar with his books and other film, this is a good introduction.

Bradley Whitford [of West Wing] plays Albom as a vaguely interested man drawn into questioning his own beliefs by the unusual request of his rabbi: to write his eulogy. The rabbi isn't dying, but he wants to be prepared. At the same time, Albom's series on the care of homeless people crosses his path with that of a preacher whose past is full of violence and crime. Those encounters raise more and more questions for Albom, who is looking for answers, but gets more questions in return.

Hold On for the Ride
I found the first portion of the film to be a little confusing during switches back and forth between characters and time frames. We get a little of someone's backstory and then suddenly we're in present-day in the middle of someone else's story. It took a while for the plot to make sense, and when it did, I was able to relax and enjoy the story more.

The three main characters offer strong performances; of course, it's hard to go wrong with Martin Landau [as Rabbi Albert Lewis], Lawrence Fishburne [as Henry Covington] and Bradley Whitford. All three men have good careers playing strong characters and they come through in this film. Supporting characters appear briefly to give color and a little more insight into the three men's lives, but the story is really about these three and the intertwining of their lives.

More Questions than Answers
Don't look to this film to provide any deep answers for your faith. If anything, the answers it does offer are too vague and are a little problematic, seeming to imply that having any kind of faith is OK, because all faiths are branches of the same tree, leading back to the same God.

But then, we shouldn't look to entertainment to provide life answers. Really good entertainment causes us to ask questions, to look to the Creator for answers, and to look at life a little differently. On these counts, this film delivers.

With good characterization and strong production values, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH is a great textbook for producing films that deliver a message and work on just about every level.

HAVE A LITTLE FAITH is not rated, but due to some drug use and violence, I'd call it a PG.

HAVE A LITTLE FAITH airs on Sunday, November 27, on the ABC Television Network.

Courtesy of a national publicist, Angela previewed HAVE A LITTLE FAITH.

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