Finding Forrestor, starring Sean Connery and Rob Brown, is one of the best movies I have ever seen.
The movie is about 16-year old basketball player Jamal Wallace from the Bronx who strikes up a relationship with a reclusive author living nearby. Jamal is an all star athlete, but he is also a near genius who has a special talent in writing. The author realizes this and pushes him to go farther, and in the process Jamal is accepted into a private school where he immediately comes to odds with one of the teachers.
The acting in Finding Forrester is top notch. Academy Award winner Sean Connery is William Forrester, the reclusive author, and he plays his role about as smoothly as James Bond is suave. I think what really gives Connery the edge is that his character of Forrester, minus the reclusive aspects, is much like how I would see him reacting to an inner city kid in real life. The way he strikes down the way Jamal talks, and the way he acts and speaks seems much like how I see Connery being in real life.
Rob Brown is Jamal, and the amazing thing about him is that this is his first role in front of a camera, or anywhere. He was basically pulled right off the street and put across from one of the most well known actors of the latter half of the 20th century, and, to put things flatly, he steals the show. Brown not only brings to life an inner city kid torn between dreams of basketball and writing, but he also gives great depth to the character, in the way he speaks, acts, and expresses himself.
Of course, part of this great acting must go to the script, which is clever, dramatic, and funny. The movie knows just when to let a joke fly, or when to work off of the audience's emotions. If I didn't know better I would say the screenwriter, Mike Rich, worked with the actors beforehand to get as realistic as possible with the characters and how they talk.
The direction is interesting. It is a little different than some other movies but very effective, and I also liked the music choice. Most of the music is not modern day top picks for soundtracks, but Gus Van Sant really chose wisely. The music really tells the mood of the scene, and lets the audience enjoy it better. I would like to note that this isn't Van Sant's first time working with a story about a young, inner city genius; he also directed Good Will Hunting.
I really liked just about every scene in the movie. Connery and Brown really click, as does Brown and Abraham, the teacher that disbelieves in Brown's academic level. There are also some good moments between Brown and Anna Paquin, who has a decent size role as the love interest. Unfortunately, the movie sort of lets their relationship disappear towards the end as more pressing matters take hand; but, what happened between them?
Finding Forrester, most undoubtedly, is one of the gems of 2000. When the credits started rolling across the screen, the audience did not move, as they were captured and mesmerized by this brilliant film. Not only is this a film for everyone, but it is also a film that everyone should see.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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