Arlen Faber is supposed to be the guy who knows everything. Years ago, he wrote a best-selling spiritual book called “Me and God.” He never wrote anything else, but everybody wants to meet the man who’s so wise and so close to God.
The only problem is that Faber avoids the world. He feels like a fraud. He hates people and has nothing new to say. He’s an unhappy recluse who lives in anonymity — until circumstances conspire to bring some new people into his life and turn everything upside down.
“The Answer Man” didn’t get great reviews when it was released in 2009, but it quickly became one of my favorite movies — all because I felt an awful, uncomfortable sense of identification with Faber’s character. His story isn’t mine. The terrible way he treats people isn’t the way I treat people. His overt anger and language aren’t like me.
But something in the story of a tortured character who is forced to come to terms with who he really is — in ways that require him to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers — resonated with me in an emotional way. I watched it again last night and I had the same irrational and emotional reaction to it.