Anthony's Film Review
Finding Forrester (2000)
The themes of friendship and human appreciation are nicely portrayed here...
The first thing that struck me about Finding Forrester is that Sean Connery is its main star. When I think of Connery, I tend of think of him as the kind suited for action movies and serious dramas. His role in Finding Forrester is a serious one, but the story, in my opinion, is meant to be more inspirational than melodramatic. I had not expected Connery to be in this kind of movie.
Not that there's anything wrong with it. I mention this only because it's an interesting departure for the actor, at least as far as I'm concerned. In the movie, Connery plays a reclusive writer named William Forrester. He has written only one book, which won a Pulitzer Prize, but never published anything else since. However, he never leaves his apartment or invites any guests. Interestingly, he watches some young African-American teens playing basketball right outside his building.
Here is where the other main character enters the picture. Jamal Wallace, played by Rob Brown, is a young black high school student who has a side everyone sees and a side nobody knows. He plays basketball with his friends, but in private, he is an intelligent and literate young man with a passion for writing. This is a very interesting trait, especially when one attempts to judge the character solely on his race.
As you can tell, Jamal and William meet. The circumstances in which they do are actually tense and dramatic, because Jamal is pressured to do something that enrages William. It gets interesting when the two gradually lower their defenses and open up to each other in ways they had not expected. This is not your usual friendship where everything clicks from day one.
At this point, let me make one thing clear. The star of this movie is not Sean Connery. He's only credited first because he's well known. No, the real star is Rob Brown, a first-time actor who fits his role as Jamal naturally. This is good because the story is about the extraordinary talent of someone whom you might assume to be just ordinary. Still, there is a nice supporting cast that includes Busta Rhymes as Jamal's older brother, Anna Paquin as a prep school student, and F. Murray Abraham as a strict English teacher who is highly prejudiced against Jamal.
Finding Forrester is simply a touching movie. It's especially nice when the two primary characters forge a friendship despite differences in age and race. After all, it's the commonalities that bring people together. Director Gus Van Sant handles the story and leads the cast quite well. This is a movie that veteran Sean Connery and newcomer Rob Brown can be proud of starring in. Together.
For more information about Finding Forrester, visit the Internet Movie Database.