Leap of Faith
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Top Customer Reviews
Another reviewer was dead on - it is impossible to watch any of his scenes in this film without focusing totally on him. He is so full of the role but not in an overbearing way (unlike Jim Carey whose portrayal as Batman's foil The Riddler, comes to mind as a poor comparison).
It's not merely a send up of preaching, Christianity or of films like the great Elmer Gantry (to which it is often compared and found severely lacking). It is much more than that. It is also much much lighter. It also has a brilliant musical score, dominated by some of the most stirring and uplifting gospel music ever to come from any of God's creations.
Different from any role Steve Martin ever did. Brilliant!
This film exhibits many word-faith doctrines such as "positive confession", "gospel of health", "gospel of wealth" and the whole "name it and claim it" belief. More imporantly, what it also has is some great smaller role performances given by Lolita Davidovich as waitress Marva, Lukas Haas as Boyd, Liam Neeson as Will, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Matt, and MEATLOAF as Hoover!
This movie also has a great soundtrack with samplings from Don Henley, Patti LaBelle, Wynonna Judd and of course, the great Meatloaf with "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights"!
Seriously though... This film has a great ending and shows what REAL MIRACLES are made of and EXACTLY where they are made...
A fun & entertaining family film!
Considering the star status of Steve Martin (who turns out an extrodinary performance in this film) why has it been so overlooked? Martin plays "Jonas Nightengale", a glib traveling evangalist, faith healer, and con man. When one of his trucks breaks down in the impoverished town of Rust Water, Kansas, he sets up his tent and invites the town to a revival. The sheriff (Liam Neeson) is determined to stop Nightengale from seperating the poor and desperate people from what little money they have. At first this film appears to simply be a cynical expose of the tricks fraudulent preachers use to shake down their flocks. But as it progresses it reveals itself to be something much more complex and subtle. At one point Nightengale, when confronted as being a fake, replies, "What difference does it make as long as I get the job done?" Yet when a real miracle occurs, something he can niether explain or control, his lack of faith is shaken and he actually becomes angry with God. As in real life conversions, the film unexpectedly turns you around 180 degrees by the end.
I thought Steve Martin directed the movie, but he didn't. The director is Richard Pearce, who also directed "The Long Walk Home," another realistic, powerful story about an important social theme (segregation) with wonderful, subtle performances from Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg. Mr. Pearce is a very gifted director.
The story in "Leap of Faith" is about a traveling revival show, built on hucksterism, with Martin as "Jonas Nightingale," the main attraction. Almost all of the main characters are cynical at the outset, not just the traveling show folk, but also the sheriff (Liam Neeson) and the coffee shop waitress (Lolita Davidovich) in Rustwater, KN, the small town the traveling caravan breaks down in. What happens in this town changes the lives of everyone involved, but not in a sappy, hokey, gee-whiz kind of way. The movie is about faith, why people lose it and how they get it back.
This movie works on every level; it is well-directed, well-acted, wonderfully scored (the gospel music suits the story perfectly), and makes its point in a realistic but unexpected way. It is not a sermon, but a fascinating, entertaining look at how people are and how they can change.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Steve Martin plays the Reverend Jonas Nightingale, a revivalist preacher with a roadshow of gospel music, miracles, and wonders. Read more
Another make you think film. Acting and direction are superb. The music is delightful. And it leaves unanswered questions. I think Socrates would have liked it as much as I/Published 2 months ago by Oliver
Five stars - definitely five stars. Steve Martin should have won an Oscar for his performance in this movie. Read morePublished 3 months ago by GranMajesty
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