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Carried by strong performances

Author: bandw from Boulder, CO
12 January 2006

This movie is carried by strong performances, particularly by Derek Luke as Antwone Fisher. Luke and Joy Bryant (playing Cheryl, his love interest) play off each other with some real chemistry. They have several memorable scenes like in one scene where they are sitting on some rocks quietly talking or another when tenderly initiating a physical relationship. We get to know Antwone well and I wish we could have gotten to know Cheryl as well, but I guess the movie needed to focus on its eponymous protagonist. Luke and Denzel Washington also had some good scenes.

The story almost seems a little too pat, so it is good to understand that it is based on Fisher's memoirs, even though one suspects an accentuation of the positive. Be it the case that liberties were taken for dramatic effect, the story is compelling and ultimately inspiring while staying just this side of being mawkish. In a late emotionally charged scene, when Fisher is recounting his life to his long absent mother, his admirable qualities are made all the more impressive when his horrible childhood is accounted for. Born in a prison, his father was murdered before Antwone breathed his first breath. He was raised in a foster home where he was abused. With few alternatives he joined the Navy and had a significant anger problem which landed him in the office of the psychiatrist Dr. Davenport (Washington). Davenport tells him that he in fact has a lot to be angry about, but his reactions are misplaced. In time Fisher and Davenport develop a strong bond that is mutually beneficial.

I addition to being impressed with Fisher's achievements, in spite of incredible obstacles, I came to appreciate the challenges of being a psychiatrist - it must be 80% art and 20% skill and training. If Fisher wound up in your care, would you have been able to help?

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A very good story.........but there are many other stories out there

Author: star_pharaoh from United Kingdom
21 December 2005

this film caught my eyes when it was being preview on i thought i'd buy ii on i watched it and i have to say i was touched. the film is very emotional...and very very healing for one. the poem "who will cry for the little boy?" is just amazing. how he wrote all his emotions into one too good! i keep on watching the DVD over and over again and cant get enough of it! the film overall of course being someone life story, will have to be respected. this story has pain,death and hurt in it. along the other films that i think that would tie into this category would be "the hurricane"..another good autobiography of a boxer.

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A truly touching and heart-warming story of the transition between childhood and adulthood. Everybody should see this film!

Author: Green_Eyed_Monster from United Kingdom
5 December 2005

Not only is this a beautiful and well made directorial debut from Denzel Washington, it is also carries a magnificent screenplay, written by none other than the protagonist of this film; Antwone Fisher.

This is the powerful and moving story of Antwone Fisher, a confused and misguided young adult, who is sent in the direction of Dr Jerome Davenport, a navy psychiatrist who sees Fisher's potential to grow into a healthy and well rounded individual.

During the course of Fisher's therapy, it is revealed that he has become very detached from the people in his life, due to the cruelty and neglect he suffered as a child living with his foster mother, the dreaded Ms Tate. In order to banish the demons from his past, he must go back to his birth place in Cleveland and confront the people from his childhood who he feels have made him suffer unnecessarily.

One of the most touching elements of this film is the strong bond that Fisher and Davenport develop during their time together.

Throughout this film, I found myself both smiling with joy, and holding back tears. It is a story that most of us can relate to; if only to understand the rocky transition between childhood and adulthood.

With breathtaking performances from Denzel Washington and Derek Luke, Antwone Fisher is set to become one of the most Owe inspiring films of the 21st century.

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Very Moving and Powerful

Author: The_Amazing_Spy_Rises from United States
28 November 2005

Antwone Fisher writes this movie about himself. That's the first thing that stands out. If you're going to do a biography, you hire the person it's about to write it, provided that they are still living. This is a great movie to watch if you love seeing a movie about one person. The plot of Denzel Washington's great film goes like so...

Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke) has always been hot tempered, angry, and moody. Honestly, once you learn his past, you can't blame him. Antwone was born in prison, where his mother was sent. His father had already been murdered, so he was adopted by a woman (Novella Nelson) who soon turns cruel towards him, as does her daughter (Yolanda Ross), who eventually molests him at a young age. After being expelled from the house, Antwone lives on the streets (all this I've mentioned is seen through flashbacks throughout the film), moving all over, trying not to get caught up in the criminal activities and drugs. Then, he enrolls in the Navy, where he bonds with Dr. Jerome Davenport (Denzel Washington), a Naval psychiatrist, and Cheryl (Joy Bryant), a beautiful girl also enrolled in the Navy. Through these two people, Antwone experiences many things in his life for the first time, such as Thanksgiving and his first kiss. With the motivation given to him by Davenport and Cheryl, not to mention some of his fellow Navymen (flanked by Kevin Connolly's Slim), Antwone works up the drive to do something he's been thinking about for years: find his mother. From this point on, the scenes are excellently acted by Derek Luke, and it's a shame he hasn't gotten more roles like this since. (You can also see him in "Biker Boyz," "Friday Night Lights," and the upcoming "Glory Road," which will be his 3rd adaptation of a real person.

This movie has a very emotional ending which could bring anyone to tears. This movie is so well acted, written, and directed, that it's a wonder it didn't take any Oscars. Go rent it first, then if you like it, which you probably will, buy it.

ACTING: Antwone Fisher - Derek Luke: Luke's first major role comes under the command of Denzel Washington, which is probably just a little bit helpful (sarcasm, anyone?) to him. Luke portrays Antwone's caring side very well in his affection for Cheryl, but also shows Antwone's angry side great. He does very well in this. GRADE: A-

Dr. Jerome Davenport - Denzel Washington: Denzel, Denzel...when will he be in a movie that isn't great? He shines again here, providing guiding motivation to Antwone the character, and Derek the actor. He takes the boy under his wing, but also puts him in the right place when it calls for it. Denzel shines great again. GRADE: A-

Cheryl - Joy Bryant: The last of the main characters is played by the kind faced Joy Bryant. Bryant's character is convincing as someone who cares for Antwone, but the only fault I saw was that when she finds out some of Antwone's past, she doesn't really react. She could've done better, but she does nicely. GRADE: B

DIRECTING: Denzel Washington: Washington does a great job being a supporting character in this one, all while directing a great movie. The films true finesse is in the characters, because the writing has itself taken care of with the actual Antwone Fisher at the helm. The most important scenes in the movie are the calm talks between Fisher and Davenport. Washington guides the actors and characters very well, and has put a great mark on Luke's and Bryant's resumes. GRADE: A

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Antwone Fisher Film

Author: manzarali from United States
27 November 2005

I am a great fan of movies that tell a good story and especially of those that are based on fact. Antwone Fisher is a picture I had seen advertised a number of times in my TV guide. I finally watched it this AM of 110/27-05. I found it most interesting, heart warming and at times very sad. Denzel Washington, who I have always admired for his work, did a superb job at this his first directorship. This young man Derek Luke was superb and believable in his portrayal of Antwone Fisher. Every scene he was in was excellent. He, Derek, should have won an Oscar for his role. This This film is good as another film that I thought was excellent which was The Prince of Tides with Nick Nolte. Nick should have won an Oscar as well. I number this film as one of my all time favorites.

I do not even like mentioning this but I have to in order that you get an idea of your viewing audience. I am a white male 69 years old. My siblings and I grew up very poor and I do mean very poor in the 30's and 40's in Detroit so I know what poor is about. But, I and my siblings had many advantages that this little boy Antwone did not. Our father was an alcoholic and never home. Our Mother worked herself to death raising seven children and in the 30's and 40's that was not easy task. We spent some time in an orphanage which was not much fun but we were still all together and eventually back with our mother.

I am so happy that Antwone was able to weather the storm and become the young man that he is.

There is a poem about a little boy that I would dearly love to have a copy of. This poem was read by Denzel's character and then finished by Derek's character. If I could find out how to get I would be very grateful.

Thank you for a superb film.

Sincerely, Thomas D. Eby White Lake, Michigan

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great movie

Author: catherinekeerbs from usa
13 August 2004

i really enjoyed this film. very real. good job of directing. for scene at lighthouse, side angle view of faces, could use to be a little different, like changing up between side view and all around shots. i applaud the film. Good acting. leads were convincing. You really felt like they loved each other. would like to see them in other films. really liked the honesty of the script. life is not all make believe. I wanted someone to acknowledge his talent, his drawing, his learning languages, his poetry. the message that he was still standing was so strong. surely he had angels even if he didn't know they were there. so sad all he went thru, but so encouraging that he did come out on the other side and with so much trying to stop him. way to go antwone... be whole.

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Author: Bungle-9 from Northern Ireland
3 June 2004

This seemed to be another "person treated like rubbish, goes on to become nice guy" thing (like The Color Purple or Coal Miner's Daughter) mixed with Good Will Hunting, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The story actually happened which helps to set it apart from some films in these genres.

Derek Luke is fantastic in the role of Antwone, showing a man torn up by his past and wanting to move onwards. Denzel is as dependable as ever, showing a very quiet dignity through the film.

I thought that the film leaned towards icky sentimentality towards the end (not surprising in my book) but still remained uplifting. The character of Antwone is very well defined, which I don't find shocking seeing as the guy wrote the screenplay. I think that perhaps some of the other characters suffered because of this, but I'm picking bones here.

I found this film very enjoyable to watch and I would recommend it.

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it's gonna be alright...

Author: whoTheFuqRyou from NYC
26 May 2004

This is story of Antwone Fisher who never had a true, loving family and basically went through a lot of b^!!$*!t in his life that god knows he didn't deserve. I was able to relate to his violent outbursts as he felt like he's been pushed around his whole life but it was even better to see him prosper in the end...

Wonderfully put together, Antwone Fisher is a movie that can give hope to the most depressed person in the world and to let one know that everything's going to be fine if you push for it... one thing, though Derek Luke didn't really look like 'Fish', it's just that he's as dark as him. But that doesn't mean that he didn't pull it off because he did and held his own with Denzel Washington to stand out with him and Joy Bryant


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Solid lead performance by Luke

Author: rosscinema from United States
7 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story is familiar and one can't help but compare this to other psychiatrist films but what the main character reveals from his past is much more horrible than the rest of them. Story takes place in San Diego where Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke) is a sailor that has a bad temper and frequently gets into fights with his fellow seamen so his commanding officer sends him to Navy Psychiatrist Dr. Jerome Davenport (Denzel Washington). It takes a while for Antwone to open up but once he does he reveals a past that it truly heartbreaking. He was born in prison where his mother was an inmate and once she got out she never came for him. His father was killed when he was an infant and he had to live in a very abusive foster home.


Antwone meets Cheryl (Joy Bryant) and they start to date and this helps him to respond better to people in general and eventually Dr. Davenport tells him that he needs to find his real family for some closure. Antwone and Cheryl fly back to Cleveland where he confronts some of the people from his past so that he can try and track down his mother.

This is Washington's directorial debut and he does an admirable job of painting a thorough picture of Antwone and even though the film could have benefited from some tighter editing it's still a film that delivers all the emotional goods. Arguably the most impressive thing about this film is the casting of Luke who was a total unknown actor with a mere handful of television credits to his resume and obviously Washington knew he possessed the right goods to pull off the role. Two things seem to hurt this film (Somewhat) and the first is the familiarity of the storyline. We have all seen lots of psychiatrist/patient films like "Good Will Hunting", "Equus", and "Prince of Tides" but this definitely does have something extra to add to the genre. The main flaw of the film comes from the side story of Washington's relationship with his wife and the end speech that he gives Antwone is ridiculous. "Thank you Antwone, for making me a better doctor and a better man", "I salute you". C'mon, did anyone really buy that? But the scene towards the end of the film where he meets his new family packs an emotional wallop that just can't be forgotten. Film is well made and the lead performance by Luke is a real standout.

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A great actor makes a great directorial debut

Author: Jonathanfm from Virginia
2 April 2004

I have long been a fan of Denzel Washington the actor. I now count myself as a fan of Denzel Washington the director. A truly great debut by Mr. Washington. He had a great strory and a great script and he only elevated it from there. Fantastic casting with newcomer Derek Luke and amazing performances around. great story, great cinematography, outstanding drirecting, great casting and great editing. About the only thing this film suffered from was a bad marketing campainge that only asked that i saw it on cable instead of demanding i see it on film or the very least dvd. I look forward to seeing more films directed by Denzel Washingtion and the films of Derek Luke.

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