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Finding Forrester

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Finding Forrester

Starring: Sean Connery, Rob Brown
Director: Gus Van Sant
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 136 Minutes
Release Date: December 2000
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Anna Paquin, F. Murray Abraham, Busta Rhymes, Matt Damon, Michael Nouri, April Grace

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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

It's tempting to call this another version of Gus Van Sant's "Good Will Hunting," because it's about a brilliant, struggling student, or "Scent of a Woman," since it deals with a young man and his mentor, but I think it stands on its own. Newcomer Rob Brown plays Jamal, a South Bronx teen who's fascinated by "the window," a mysterious man who stares down at the guys shooting hoops in the 'hood. On a dare, Jamal sneaks into his book-cluttered apartment, where he's discovered by its occupant. Terrified, he flees, leaving his backpack behind. The next day, the backpack is thrown down from "the window" and his six journals, filled with thoughts and essays, have been critiqued in red ink. Thus, an unlikely friendship develops. "The window" turns out to be William Forrester, a reclusive author - think J.D. Salinger - who, 50 years ago, published one Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. And Jamal winds up in a posh Manhattan prep school where he's welcomed for his ability on the basketball court but challenged about his incredible flair for creative writing by a bitter, autocratic teacher, F. Murray Abraham, who accuses him of plagiarism. Problem is: Mike Rich's screenplay is familiar, predictable and not particularly believable. As the gruff, neurotic novelist, Sean Connery is charismatic, exuding eccentricities, defending his isolation, gulping J&B and wearing socks inside out. Rob Brown is convincing, like rapper Busta Rhymes, as his brother, and Anna Paquin, as his friend/love interest. Joey Buttafuco plays a security guard and there's a "surprise" cameo near the conclusion. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Finding Forrester" is an inspirational 7, proclaiming, "Family isn't always what you're born with - sometimes it's the people you find, sometimes it's the people who find you."

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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