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Overall Rating
3.76

Awesome: 25.66%
Worth A Look42.48%
Average: 17.7%
Pretty Bad: 10.62%
Total Crap: 3.54%

8 reviews, 65 user ratings


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Finding Forrester
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by Collin Souter

"Almost Famous Wonder Boy Forrester Writes With Familiar Quills"
4 stars

A few minutes into Finding Forrester, a young writer opens a book he’s been writing only to find someone has read it and has even made some suggestions. At one point, he comes across a message that reads, “Where are you taking me?” I love when I’m watching a movie or reading a book and that particular question comes up. It rarely happens these days. Usually, I’m saying, “I know where you’re taking me. Now, let’s hurry up and get there.” Finding Forrester takes both phrases and combines them into one sentiment: “I know where you’re taking me, but I’m with you anyway, because I like the moment.”

Gus Van Sant’s latest drama concerns a young writer, Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown), who lives in the Bronx hood. The film opens almost like a ghost story would, where four friends dare one another to go and visit the neighborhood creepy-old-man’s house. Jamal, curious as all great writers must be, takes the dare, walks into the old man’s apartment, has quite a scare and accidentally leaves his backpack behind.

He returns the following day to retrieve it. Through the little peakhole in the door, the old man (Sean Connery) orders him to never return again. Jamal goes home to find the old man has read his words. Intrigued, Jamal returns to get more feedback from this ragged old hermit. The old man, named William Forrester, suggests he write a 5,000 word essay on why he should stay the hell away from the apartment. Not one to turn down a challenge, Jamal returns the next day with the essay, and there begins an unlikely friendship between the two faster than you can say Scent Of A Woman.

Jamal also deals with problems at school. His teachers and faculty see him as an enigma. He tests well, but his grades have been low. He plays basketball with the grace and wisdom of Michael Jordan, and he writes like Hemingway, but he also has limited income and little opportunity. An upscale Academy wants him to join their school, all expenses paid. There, he befriends a young girl, Claire (Anna Paquin), and catches the skeptical eye of Professor Crawford (F. Murray Abraham).

Meanwhile, Jamal receives writing lessons of life from Forrester, who has only written one book, but it has been studied in high school and colleges for the past 50 years. In turn for the writing lessons, Jamal teaches Forrester to step out of the apartment once in a while for some fresh air. Forrester insists early on, “What we write in this house, stays in this house.” At this point, you know where the film will take you.

The magic of Finding Forrester comes from the chemistry of the two leads. Films such as this usually do sink or swim on chemistry, and here it basically takes center stage with its otherwise thin storyline. Forrester, in his best role since The Rock (of which it may seem eerily similar), does not upstage newcomer Rob Brown. The two give each other equall time on the playing field, each one winning their share of arguments and one-two punches. They argue the use of “and” and “but” in literature. They compete against each other while watching Jeopardy. Eventually, of course, a bond breaks, and Jamal “is sick of all these lessons,” and he leaves.

We wait for one scene throughout Finding Forrester where Professor Crawford and Forrester meet in a classroom. We know from the get-go that it will happen, and we feel certain that it will be near the end, much like Al Pacino’s showboating in the aforementioned Scent Of A Woman. Unfortunately, Van Sant cuts the scene short by doing a montage of Forrester reading Jamal’s words and the students looking inspired. I would rather have actually heard the words, so as to know why the kids felt inspired and why Jamal received so much attention for writing those words in the first place. Like this years Wonder Boys, Forrester would rather you concentrate on the writers rather than their prose.

The end also feels a bit tacked-on (I won’t give it away), and Van Sant’s use of the True Romance-sound-alike score sounds as though the audio recorders forgot to remove the temp track. Still, while Finding Forrester does take us on a familiar journey, it does not sell its audience short. The movie has sharp dialogue, smart characters and a desire to teach a few things about words and language. But like all writers, great or otherwise, it could still use a few lessons.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4615&reviewer=233
originally posted: 12/20/00 11:59:34
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User Comments

2/27/14 Madame de Merteuil Great movie about being a writer. Both leads are fab 5 stars
12/11/13 HMM hmm...hmm...well...what i think...what i think is that...i dont...i...I didnt watch it 1 stars
8/10/09 Jeff Wilder Connery good. But too commercial for Gus Van Sant. ANY director could've made this. 3 stars
3/03/08 ladavies great performances, well done 4 stars
2/18/08 Pamela White Connery makes the movie 5 stars
11/15/06 g money this movie is the opposite of bad 5 stars
11/11/06 Alli very good movie..jamal is quite the hottie 4 stars
10/12/06 The Cat definitley one of the best feel good movies released in 2000 5 stars
9/30/06 Tamara D. Leonard This is such a terrific movie. Such a feel good movie for me. 5 stars
12/21/05 nicole i want questions from the movie 1 stars
12/10/05 Quigley this story is really moving. connery was amazing, as was brown. totally worth seeing 5 stars
12/06/05 Katelyn It was amazing 4 stars
8/22/05 carissa it was kinda boring not my type of movie 3 stars
7/31/04 DM Corny and feels too much like "Good Will Hunting" 3 stars
6/20/04 venu Connery seems to get better with age...worth a watch 4 stars
6/14/04 MyGreenBed What a mess. This is the type of movie that insults my intelligence. Gus moved on, luckily. 1 stars
1/30/04 El Jono Connery and Brown are good, but Van Sant obviously thinks we, the audience, are pretty dumb 3 stars
11/01/03 Kate Mason i love it - beautiful cinematography and perfect script. 5 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Connery's Oscar nod? 4 stars
7/11/02 Flounder It is a very heartfelt performance by Connery proving that he still has it. 4 stars
6/27/02 hjhbh gcfnnnnnfgcxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 5 stars
6/18/02 karen very good 5 stars
6/02/02 Chris This is a intellagant drama that has great preformances and a heartfelt storyline. 5 stars
2/22/02 Jeff good story but too long and often boring 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Good movie. Book was better. 4 stars
1/27/02 Rosie Finch Whackily interesting. But that's a YELLOW Warbler. To see Conn. W. out apt. window unherdof 4 stars
12/25/01 ryan above average movie w/ best basketball scenes since blue chips 4 stars
12/04/01 phil m. afficiando Agree with the detractors, but doggone it I liked it., so call me Mr. Gullible Sappy. 4 stars
11/30/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Sean Connery is an awesome actor. That's like the biggest reason I went to see it. 4 stars
8/29/01 hilary worth a look 4 stars
8/17/01 hilary worth a look 4 stars
8/15/01 hilary average 3 stars
7/29/01 Carolina Moos the best movie ever 5 stars
6/09/01 Girl 9 it was okay, but just seemed to drag on and on... 3 stars
6/04/01 Doug Smith Outstanding look at writing in specific and communication in general. 4 stars
5/29/01 Lauren It was awesome! It was inspiring and very clean! I LOVED IT! 5 stars
4/30/01 Leong Chee Hoe Best movie I have ever seen. It knock on your soul. 5 stars
4/29/01 Fred Worm The ending brought a tear to me eye. 4 stars
3/06/01 Bud Very good movie. We need more films that examine positive relationships. 5 stars
3/05/01 derek deems another 'good-feeling' movie which exactly followed the mold of a 'good-feeling' movie 3 stars
2/28/01 Anne predictable but enjoyable 3 stars
2/27/01 Matthew Bartley Nothing new but it's really well done 5 stars
2/26/01 Olga Tsirikidze I just love it!!!!!!!! 4 stars
2/24/01 Brad Sean Connery is Fucking Awesome and so is the movie 5 stars
2/21/01 edge The best movie i have seen in awhile 4 stars
2/12/01 bob buttons whenever you get some from a girl in a movie, that movie is awesome. 5 stars
2/11/01 anonymous its a one out of hundred special movie!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/08/01 anonymous very moving!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/07/01 anonymous a must see!!! 5 stars
2/05/01 Katie This was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Definitely see it. 5 stars
2/01/01 dcrockett Excellent - Left me wanting more. 5 stars
1/30/01 Charlie Hatch Great story, much better than most reviewers would lead you to beleive. 5 stars
1/28/01 James Teal Sean Connery is Brilliant, keeps your intrest the whole time. 4 stars
1/28/01 R Kramer Great!! You can't miss this movie. 5 stars
1/17/01 Kevin Good Movie!!! Not connerys best but all the same. A 5 stars
1/15/01 Diehard Quite strong performances from the actors, neat twists 4 stars
1/15/01 MAXOMENOS See this movie as if your life depended on it 5 stars
1/15/01 Lynnaea Aspiring authors will appreciate the authenticity of the comments about writing. 4 stars
1/12/01 ray really, if it doesn't win an oscar for something, I'll be pissed... 5 stars
1/11/01 Boy In The Designer Bubble I saw this movie. Forrester was never lost, and 007 never offered him a martini. 1 stars
1/07/01 Trikster Predictable,yes. Trailer gave alot away,yes. But, at the end of the film I still sat in awe 5 stars
1/05/01 Philm Phreak Been there, done that - STILL liked it! 4 stars
12/28/00 Jon Connery and Brown have great chemistry. And Anna Paquin is delightfully sexy. Great film! 5 stars
12/27/00 Clarance Great story, relatively predictable, but none the less great acting! and great theme! 4 stars
12/26/00 poetchuck Good characters, enjoyable time 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Jan-2001 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Mar-2001 (M)


Directed by
  Gus Van Sant

Written by
  Mike Rich

Cast
  Sean Connery
  F. Murray Abraham
  Anna Paquin
  Michael Pitt
  Busta Rhymes
  Joey Buttafuoco



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