A most unusual and unlikely friendship between 2 people coming from 2 very different worlds.
Review by Bob Hepburn


This page was created on January 05, 2001
This page was last updated on May 23, 2005

Click to enlargeDirected by Gus Van Sant
Written by Mike Rich

Sean Connery .... William Forrester
Robert Brown .... Jamal Wallace
F. Murray Abraham .... Professor Henry Crawford
Anna Paquin .... Claire Spence
Busta Rhymes .... Terrell
April Grace .... Ms. Joyce
Michael Pitt .... Coleridge
Michael Nouri .... Dr. Spence
Richard Easton .... Matthews
Glenn Fitzgerald .... Massie
Zane R. Copeland Jr. .... Damon
Stephanie Berry .... Janice

Click to enlargeProduced by Sean Connery, Jonathan King (executive), Laurence Mark, Rhonda Tollefson, Dany Wolf (executive)
Original music by Bill Brown
Cinematography by Harris Savides
Film Editing by Valdis Oskarsd?ttir

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual references.
Runtime: USA:133

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1. Recollection - Miles Davis 2. Little Church - Miles Davis 3. Black Satin - Miles Davis 4. Under A Golden Sky - Bill Frisell 5. Little One - Miles Davis 6. Picture Book - Bill Frisell 7. Lonely Fire - Miles Davis 8. Over The Rainbow 9. Vonetta - Miles Davis 10. Coffaro's Theme - Bill Frisell 11. Foreigner In A Free Land - Ornette Coleman 12. Beautiful E - Bill Frisell 13. Happy House - Ornette Coleman 14. In A Silent Way - Miles Davis (Bill Laswell remix)

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In an ordinary place, he found the one person to make his life extraordinary.

No enlargementFrom Academy Award?-nominated director Gus Van Sant and starring Academy Award?-winning actor Sean Connery, a drama about a unique relationship between an eccentric, reclusive novelist and a young, black, amazingly gifted scholar-athlete.

After the novelist discovers that the young athlete is also an excellent writer and secretly takes him on as his prot?g?, they develop an unlikely friendship. As they learn more about each other, they learn more about themselves, and ultimately, with the help of his new mentor, the basketball star must choose the right path between following his writing dreams or his hoop dreams.
? Columbia Pictures

Click for respectFINDING FORRESTER
Review by Bob Hepburn

YUBM \ ' yueb-em \ pr.n.: an African American male youth-directed tribe (and its attendant vibe), found in and around urban centers.

Click to enlarge"Finding Forrester" is a movie about a most unusual and unlikely friendship between 2 people coming from 2 very different worlds. William Forrester (Sean Connery), a Pulitzer Prize-winning author,No enlargement has been holed up in a Bronx apartment for several decades. Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown), a talented but under-challenged teenager, is an extraordinarily gifted writer and a star basketball player. They reluctantly hook up, deal with some beef they got with each other, then battle thru some deeper social and personal issues out in the world. Near the end, Jamal manfully overcomes an attack on his integrity, and finds his personal convictions, conduct and character vindicated. The experience readies him for the next set of demands he?ll face in the larger, longer and grander game called ?life'.
Click to enlargeConnery's performance as William Forrester is magnetic -- as if he is not only teaching his unrelenting prot?g? the intangible discipline and art of writing from the heart, but also the ineffable art and discipline of superb dramatic acting. Click to enlargeAs a well-seasoned skilled master of his craft, Connery not only teaches but leaves plenty of room for newcomer Rob Brown to capably demonstrate his own impressive acting ability. And impressive it is. (I understand the 16-year-old Rob arrived on the set early in the film's production hoping to land a part as an extra). The two actors balance each other out quite nicely when they're on the screen together -- Connery's understated elegance and grace never overwhelms, but instead helps create opportunities for Brown to firmly and fully establish his character (and hopefully his career).
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Click to enlargeThe film deals with a wide range of black/white relational issues (prejudicial stereotypes, interracial dating, exploitation of athletic ability, etc.), but never in a preachy heavy-handed way -- but you do get the film's point. No enlargementRob Brown brings a credible and palpable sense of what young black men go through every day and he wins viewers over to the rightness of Jamal's cause as he goes about curiously handling the accusation brought against him. His character -- character -- wins the battle and not brute force and in that very same crucible the unrighteous motives of those who accuse him get exposed. A Streetwise SaviorThe movie won't do much to change the troubled state of race relations here in America, but it will hopefully at least change some people's minds about those too often overlooked (or wrongly looked at) to be able to perceive them as veritable "treasures ... riches stored in secret places." (Isaiah 45:3 NIV).
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Review #2

Pastor, Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA

Is God an agoraphobic alcoholic living in the Bronx? There is plenty of room in Finding Forrester to find God lurking within William Forrester. (Gee, casting a God character as a white male with a white hair and a beard. But since God has been black this year in Bagger Vance and Bedazzled, and a woman last year in Dogma, I guess we can put up with it.)

No enlargementThe movie shows the development of a friendship between a reclusive writer (William Forrester, played by Sean Connery) and a young African-American (Jamal Wallace, played by Rob Brown) who is gifted academically, as a basketball player and as a writer. Jamal gets a scholarship to a prestigious private prep school. It's an academic scholarship, but they won't be disappointed if he plays basketball. He is taken from a mostly Black world and put into an almost exclusively White world.

No enlargementOn a dare, he breaks into Forrester's apartment one night, where when Forrester scares him, he leaves his backpack with his writing notebooks. The next day, Forrester has the backpack hanging in his window. After Jamal shows his merit, the pack falls to the street. When he gets home, he sees that his notebooks have been critiqued. He slowly develops a relationship with the recluse, who he eventually discovers is a famous writer.

Click to enlargeForrester wrote "the Great American Novel" following the War, but never published another book. For the last few decades, he's been living in his apartment in the Bronx while the world around him changes. How is he like God? He spends his time looking down from his heights at the world below. And watch he does. To the young men who play basketball near by he is "the Window" -- one who is always there watching, but unseen and unknown. It turns out that this is not the only watching he does. He has 3 tv sets going at a time, all on different channels (except, of course, when Jeopardy! is on.)

No enlargementBut as we see Forrester over a period of time, our understanding of him changes -- just, I think, like our understanding of God changes over a period of time. We begin by thinking him detached and aloof. Then, when he begins his encounter with Jamal, he seems judgmental and angry. Later he seems encouraging and challenging. Yet, all of this is basically the same man acting the same way. Jamal grows to know and love Forrester in much the same way we learn to know and love God.

Click to enlargeThere is a sense in which the two are reaching out to each other. Forrester should expect some sort of reply to his reading and critiquing of Jamal?s notebooks. It is as if, even in his rough way, he keeps trying to get Jamal closer to him. And Jamal needs this man to teach him, not just about writing, but how to deal with all the difficult situations he is struggling through.

Click to enlargeNo doubt I read a good deal of my own theology (which is influenced by process theology) into this film. But it seems to me that this is very like the way God relates to us and we relate to God. Forrester does not give law. He does bring up the "wrongness" of starting a sentence with a conjunction, but then Jamal debates it with him (starting each sentence with a conjunction through the argument.) God leaves Jamal?s will intact, even encouraging its growth. Just as I believe God does with us.

The film is one of the best written films of the year. It is a palimpsest; as you dig through each layer, you find another waiting to be seen. It deals with creativity, mentoring, racism, rich and poor, young and old, justice, the exploitation of jocks, the meaning of family. With so many levels, various viewers may well find different meanings and emphases.

I won't give away the final scene, but consider what Foreword you would write for the Gospel -- or perhaps, you are already writing that Foreword each day.

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Subject: Finding_Forrester
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001
From: Paul Aiello, Jr.

Greetings, I found the movie very enjoyable to watch and think about as I viewed it. I was wondering if you'd say anyting about Forrester's incessant cleaning of his window through which he saw the world vis a vis his looking at his own life through the shot glasses and whiskey bottles that were brought to his home a on a routine basis.
Thanks for your review. Paul Aiello, Jr.


Finding Forrester ? 2000 Columbia TriStar. All rights reserved.