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A Rather Bizarre Way to Pay the Phone Bill...: FINDING FORRESTER

  • Feb 26, 2002
  • by
Pros: intelligent dialogue, excellent relationship development, Superb performances

Cons: swearing seemed out of place

The Bottom Line: I expected to enjoy this movie. After seeing it, it exceeded our expectations. Not for the ADD or fatalistic crowd, this movie is an intellectual delight

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

It is really too bad that our society has become so skeptical. Whenever anything good or decent comes out, there always seems to be a host of vultures waiting for the wild and negative critics to weaken and disable it.

If they succeed, then the vultures swoop in and pick apart the carcass before it is even deceased.

I grow weary of the self-righteous attitude of people who cling to negativity and wait to spring attacks on anything with class or integrity. They claim that they have the right to say anything they want to- until the shoe is on the other foot, and someone expresses distaste at something THEY like.

I never saw GOOD WILL HUNTING(made by the same person- I think his name is Gus Vansant). For some reason I never wanted to. Did not really attract me at all. I guess I was just not attracted to the characters or the scenes I saw from the movie.

When I first saw the previews for FINDING FORRESTER, I could tell right away that it was a movie I wanted to see. The chemistry was super and the storyline was positive.

However, over time, we forgot about this movie, until we saw it on a DVD promotional.


This movie is not for those preferring brainless mind occupation with banal references and low class jokes. It is not for those who are too lazy to think or make decisions of right vs. wrong.

This movie is a high class journey into a buffet of intellectual treats. Relationships, struggles of life, the view of life through the eyes of a gifted person who happens to have integrity (and is even black - how refreshing to have a black character shown as a high class person) are all things that you sample in this delight of a movie.


I will not go into great detail here as to not ruin the movie for anyone wanting to see it.


Jamal Wallace is a very distinguished and attractive black teen who lives in a rough section of the Bronx. His mother is left alone to raise her two sons. They live in a building that is paper thin, distracting and in an area that is so rough the police do not like to even come in after dark.

Jamal is brilliant. He loves to read books of all types and particularly loves the classics and books that most people would not pick up.

Because of his school and the need to fit, he plays basketball at the local court and keeps his grades down to a "respectable" C average- the other guys would mock him endlessly if he did not.


There is a very quirky man who spends his days watching the boys play and everything else in his neighborhood from his window. He has different strength binoculars for each area he wants to watch.

The guys call him "eyes" . There are rumors about this reclusive man of all sorts, especially that he is a killer.

On a dare, Jamal (played by Rob Brown) enters the apartment of this weird man (Sean Connery). He is caught and abandons his backpack in terror as he runs away from the mysterious man.

He is standing on the road one day when the backpack drops from the sky. Inside are the journals that Jamal writes, but they are corrected with red pen as if a teacher did it.


From this point on, Jamal is asked to attend a private school of the highest caliber in Manhattan. He is given full scholarship, and they say it is due to his test scores.

I suspected it was because of his athletic ability - that they wanted to use him to gain awards and he just happened to be smart. (you decide if it is true or not...)

While at this new school, he meets a really cute white girl who loves to talk with him and be with him. Her name is Claire (played by Anna Paquin) and she happens to be the daughter of a member of the school board, Dr. Spence.

Claire helps him find his way around. When he meets an embittered literature teacher, she tells him not to oppose the man, as he is dangerous.

At the same time, Jamal forms a quirky yet endearing relationship with the strange recluse, who happens to be a famous writer, William Forrester. Their relationship is a delight as we watch it unfold.

You see the story progress with a tapestry of characters and their developing relationships. The intricasies are fabulous. The subtleties are masterful.


The dialogue was brilliant. The interplay between Jamal and Forrester is literally a masterpiece. As a writer, I found this movie to be inspirational as well.

The idiosyncrasies of the characters are also very believable and lots of fun to see. It is like a many layered treasure, the more you delve into each level, you find another treasure.

Prejudice and the usual annoying political correctness is very subtle here. It is refreshing to actually see a relationship develop between the different characters without the racism issue being abused, overused and beaten over the audience's head.

It is also refreshing to see a black character being portrayed as having integrity, chracter, intelligence, and depth, instead of the usual "beat em up with a chip on their shoulder" or "act like a sexual deviant" that is so often portrayed.

The music is often similar to Mannix or other old shows- jazzy and very effective in complimenting the mood, but not setting it. In other scenes you will hear hip hop. Even the music paints some beautiful compliments to the story in this movie.


I did not think that the "f" word was really believable of someone like Forrester. I also thought that some of the swearing occuring between Jamal and Forrester was out of place. The places where you would hear the rough language in the neighborhood seemed oddly void of it.

That was strange.


I am really glad we took the time to see this movie. The flavor of the movie lingers on the palate of our mind's eye long after the closing credits roll by.

You find yourself really believing that Forrester is a writer that exists and that Jamal is someone you know pretty well by the end of the movie.

The characters are easy to identify with and the plot is intricate and a treat to be involved in.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good book, believes in integrity, loves to explore the lives of other people, or who just loves intricate and witty dialogue.

This is a feel good movie with a depth more unusual to see nowadays.

The PG13 rating is for language (several "f" words along with quite a few other words that young children might not want to hear). The sexual references are really not out of place and not annoying as they are in some movies.

The pace is not fast and geared for the ADD crowd, but is well paced and enjoyable for the intellectual crowd.

I would compare this movie to ANGEL EYES and FREQUENCY in style.


Some interesting observations:

Rob Brown, who plays Jamal, is literally a kid from the Bronx who auditioned for the part to pay his phone bill. (He gives one of the best performances- surpassing that of many seasoned actors.)

Sean Connery produced this movie.

I have known a few characters like Jamal and Forrester over the years, so this relationship is not as unbelievable as some might think.

As the credits rolled by, I was alerted by a name sandwiched in among the endless lists of unknown people- Joey Buttafuco.

Could this be the infamous Joey Buttafuco.... (grin). Never know what you can learn from staying to watch the credits at the end of a movie.....


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More Finding Forrester reviews
review by . June 13, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Performances.     Cons: Plot execution-it's just like Good Will Hunting!     The Bottom Line: Just read the damn opinion.     After the success of Good Will Hunting, everyone knew that the people in Hollywood would try to capitalize on the theme. Well, here's an attempt. Finding Forrester is about a young genius whose talents are realized and then brought out by an older man. It's so similar to Good Will Hunting that they even hired …
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Capri G ()
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   I am a woman of many hats.      I am an artist with makeup and other media. I am a clothing designer. I have such a huge list of things that I like to do that sometimes … more
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About this movie



Director: Gus Van Sant
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Release Date: December 20, 2000
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2hrs 13min
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