The 25 Greatest Jewish Characters in Movies

17. Ryan Gosling as Danny Balint in The Believer (2001)

Notable Jewish Moment: The entire plot revolves around a Jewish guy's self-loathing. Also, he was going to be a rabbi. Whoops.
Classic Quote: "Just take a look at the last three most well-known Jews: Marx, Freud, and Einstein. What have they given us? Communism, infantile sexuality, and the atom bomb."

Jewish kids have been disappointing and/or rebelling against their parents for generations by not aspiring to be a rabbi, doctor, lawyer, or something relatively respectable, reliable, and/or marginally profitable. But is it every Jewish parent's worst nightmare? No. Going from being a rabbinical student to a neo-Nazi, as Ryan Gosling does playing a young Jewish man in The Believer? That would, in fact, be every Jewish parent's worst nightmare, and Gosling delivers a crackling, powerhouse performance as Danny Balint, the young man who does just that and promptly begins to unravel after a journalist begins to expose him as Jewish.

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