Anyday with Rabbi Lewis
It was during a trip back to New Jersey on a book tour that Mitch (Bradley Whitford), a sport's columnist, ran into Rabbi Albert Lewis (Martin Landau) his old Rabbi from his childhood. And Albert had a very unusual request for Mitch; he wanted him to write his eulogy. Despite his doubts Mitch agrees which sees him regularly returning to New Jersey to spend time with Albert who despite his advanced years was not only full of wisdom but was also not ready to be called home by the Lord. But spending time with Albert leads to Mitch beginning to question his own faith, or lack of it, whilst also bringing him in to contact with Henry Covington (Laurence Fishburne), the pastor of the "I Am My Brother's Keeper" Pilgrim church, a run down church in Detroit, who before serving the Lord had been a criminal, drug pusher and drug taker.
One of my all time favourite movies is "Tuesdays with Morrie" as it has it all from friendship and soul searching to wisdom and humour, if you have never watched it trust me you should as it is moving and inspirational. And the good news is that whilst Hank Azaria wasn't available to reprise his role in "Have a Little Faith" this follow up is almost as good and by almost I mean extremely close as it again delivers a story which features elements of fun, friendship, wisdom and soul searching with a bit of religious teaching flowing through it when it comes to judging others but also having faith.
Now "Have a Little Faith" has a similar feel to "Tuesdays with Morrie" as such we see Mitch make frequent journeys back to New Jersey to spend time with Albert as he tries to get to know him in order to write a eulogy. And along the way we see Mitch become close to Albert to the point of becoming like a son to him and his wife as he rushes to be with them both when the old Rabbi becomes ill. And this old Rabbi is not only wise but also quirky with his love of singing sentences which although initially a bit cheesy ends up so wonderful and so warming.
But we get another side to "Have a Little Faith" as we also have Mitch ending up becoming close to Henry Covington who is the pastor of the "I Am My Brother's Keeper" Pilgrim church, a run down building where Henry devotes himself to helping the homeless and needy. But what we get in this side is not only Henry's back story having been a criminal and drug taker but we see Mitch deal with issues of faith as he questions whether people can really change. And there is both charm and wisdom to this side of the movie which makes it just as touching especially when it comes to how this story plays out.
What this all boils down to is that "Have a Little Faith" is a very good follow up to "Tuesdays with Morrie" and delivers that same mix of fun, friendship, wisdom and soul searching which makes it extremely effective. But at times it does feel like it is trying a little too hard to mirror "Tuesdays with Morrie".