This writer claims there are virtually no female Jewish lead roles outside of Holocaust films- True?

Given the influence of Jewish writers and creative types across a wide swath of modern cinema I was surprised to see this this claim. Is she right?

Natalie Portman Says She Stays Away From Jewish Roles

Someone needs to make a movie length version of “The Nanny”, I guess.

Angelina Jolie’s character in *Mr. and Mrs. Smith *was Jewish; while her claiming to be so was a throwaway line that was played for laughs, it still counts.

How many non-WWII movies from 2000-2010 feature male jews a protagonists? I can only think of two movies where a male’s jewish faith was important to the role: Keeping The Faith (2000) and Stolen Summer (2002) and the male in question in the latter was a small boy.

Frankly, I can’t think of many recent non-historical movies where any character of either gender was explicitly any particular religion. Are there a lot of movies about Catholics, Protestants, and/or Mormons I’ve been missing?

I think the OP means ethnically Jewish, not religiously.

OK, so how often in non-historical movies is the ethnicity of the main characters made explicit? Thinking back on the movies I’ve seen recently, I can’t really tell you the ethnicity of any of the main characters.

Well, a Jewish-sounding last name would be a good hint.

I came in here to mention Two Lovers and I see it was already mentioned in the OP.

Shosanna from Inglourious Basterds was Jewish, but that is sort of a holocaust film.

What about Goldie Hawn’s character in “Private Benjamin” ? Jewish.

Oops - on rereading the OP, I see the discussion is limited to the “aughts”. nevermind

We watched Arranged just a couple nights ago.

Hmm, I can’t think of the previous applicable movie so I guess there aren’t too terribly many of them.

Did “In Her Shoes” come out in the aughts? Cause the main female characters were Jewish. starred Toni Collette, Cameron Diaz, Shirley Maclaine.
Just checked - 2005, so that counts.

At first I didn’t realize the discussion was limited to the last ten years. I guess such roles used to be more common:

Jessica Tandy as Daisy Werthan in Driving Miss Daisy

Barbra Streisand as Yentl in Yentl

Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and Funny Lady

Ali McGraw as Brenda Patimkin in Goodbye, Columbus

Jennifer Grey as Frances “Baby” Houseman in Dirty Dancing

Amy Irving as Isabelle Grossman in Crossing Delancey

More often than not it seems that writers want the character to be “everywoman” enough that a large number of viewers could identify with her. They may give her some stereotypical ethnic sensibilities but unless the character’s ethnicity or religion is critical to the story line (as in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” in which “Greek” could have been any immigrant ethnicity), or they are aiming for a niche audience, they will stay away from making her less than generic ethnically.

And given the probability that if they identified a character as Jewish, they would fall into stereotypic tropes, this isn’t a bad thing.

How about Angelina in A Mighty Heart? Or Sarah Silverman in Jesus is Magic?

I think it skews the statistics that Bette Midler has largely retired from film. Still, there’s Monica Bellucci in Passion of the Christ, Debbie Reynolds in Mother and Barbra Streisand in Meet the Fokkers.

All these Adam Sandler movies and nobody’s ever played his mother, sister or daughter?

Well i can think of one very obvious, extremely popular movie, made in the last 10years, where the not only was the female lead Jewish, but the vast majority of the male cast, including the lead, were also explicitely Jewish.

I think this is a damn good question. Can anyone name some recent movies where the male protagonist was Jewish?

There are far more movies with male leads than female leads anyway, for a variety of reasons, so we should expect to see more Jewish characters, However I’m having a hard time thinking of any. The two movies that elfkin477 named I have never even heard of. Not exactly box office smashes I gather.

For that matter, how many movies have the characters as any religion at all? Mel Gibson often manages to work in a religious angle in his movies, and we occasionally see confessional scenes as part of the script in other movies, but for the most part it’s hard to think of too many movies where lead characters have any particular religious identity.

His sister, the mother of the leading kids, featured prominently in “Bedtime Stories”. But as with most movies, his character doesn’t actually have any religion, so there’s no reason to assume they are Jewish.

Quite a few Adam Sandler, Woody Allen and Judd Apatow films where the protagonist is pretty explicitly Jewish.

Eight Crazy Nights comes to mind.

Again, we’re not talking about religion in this thread, we’re talking about ethnicity. Religion has nothing to do with it.

A character can be identifiably Jewish even if a gentile plays him/her (Rhoda Morganstern, or John Turturro’s character in Mo’ Better Blues), or identifiably goyish even if a Jew plays him/her (Zoolander, any Michael Landon character). Since characters seldom state their religious or ethnic self-identification, I think we can fall back on the idea of whether the audience is supposed to assume the character is Jewish. Film is full of such shorthand.