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Antwone Fisher (2002)
Denzel Washington, Derek Luke,, De'Angelo Wilson, Joy Bryant, Salli Richardson, Yolonda Ross, Stephen Snedden
Antwone Quenton Fisher
Antwone Fisher (2002)
"Antwone Fisher" is the story of a man who digs inside himself to discover therein lies a king... A sailor with an explosive attitude, Fisher (Derek Luke) is ordered to see a naval psychiatrist (Denzel Washington) about his volatile temper. Little did he know that his first step into the doctor’s office would lead him on a journey home. With the support of the doctor, who becomes more like a father than anyone Fisher has ever known, and the woman (Joy Bryant) from whom he learns how to love, Fisher finds the courage to stop fighting and start healing. Only then can he call on the family he never knew and come to terms with the one he knew all too well.
Antwone Fisher (2002) | Review
A miracle in the flesh.
Antwone Fisher (the person) is in many ways a miracle in the flesh. He was beaten down verbally and physically by those to whom he was entrusted. In some ways he beat himself down. He was abandoned by everyone who should have loved him. And yet, he was able to overcome all of this to succeed in life, and now to share his story as an inspiration to others.
Antwone Fisher (the film) has its flaws. (I expect the person does as well.) But in spite of the flaws it still manages to inspire and instruct. After watching the movie, I started listing all the things that didn't quite work, but even with that, I enjoyed and applaud the film.
I've read Antwone Fishers comments posted here, and wish to offer a little bit different perspective. My life has been very different from his. Because of that, as I watched the film, I probably reacted to what I saw differently from how he did. I don't offer my commentary in rebuttal to his words, but in addition.
One of the things that struck me in the film was the racism Antwone had to deal with. Usually we think of racism as something whites impose on people of color. But we don't see that racism in the film. Instead, we see the abuse that derives racism within the African-American community. A bigoted white person could be scarcely more racist and hateful than Antoine's foster mother, Mrs. Tate. This use of race as power is appalling in any case, but when it is done by one's own community and people, it can serve to be doubly harmful. The film reminds us that racism is a systemic sin that infects our entire culture.
The main message I took from the film was not what a miraculous person Antwone Fisher is. To be sure, he deserves great credit for the success and the life he has found. But as I watched the film, I noted all the ways that he wasn't able to do this on his own. He needed the help of Dr. Davenport. He needed his girlfriend to go with him to Cleveland to look for his family. And eventually, he is completed, not just because he finds himself, but because he finds and becomes family.
It is the connectedness as much as his own strength and determination that led to Antwone finding peace within himself. I think that is what he is referring to in his review when he speaks of those who encouraged him. That connectedness -- that sense of community -- is certainly important for children and adults alike to maximize their potentials. I'm glad that Antoine's story is not just about someone who pulled himself up by the bootstraps. It teaches us that we all have to rely on others. And we all have responsibilities to others who may well be relying on us.
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