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Antwone Fisher
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A spectacular drama

8/10
Author: MovieCritic20497 from United States
8 August 2003

The fact that this is a true story really changes your point of view on the way that you watch this film. It shows that they're really are very dramatic things that can happen to people. Denzel Washington gives a spectacular first directoral debut. Derek Luke gives a monumental performance, and it's the first film he ever made! This film is heart-breaking, and heart-warming at the same time. The saddest and happiest time you'll have watching a movie in 2002. This is a 2002 must-see!

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Inner male pain on display

8/10
Author: gault69 from san francisco
23 July 2003

Get the Kleenex out - and, yes, that includes the guys. A young man, with a deeply troubled past, is forced into treatment, and lands up teaching his shrink a thing or two in the process.

Characters and events develop naturally with minimal contrivance. Realistically raw in parts, thanks not only to a great screenplay, but also to superb acting, inspired casting, and highly-competent direction. Can only really be faulted for its made-for-TV, sometimes sugary, patina.

The political subtext, however, is less palatable - namely, that we all have the inner wherewithal to triumph over adversity. Walk down any inner-city street, with your eyes wide-open, and you know this is an absurd proposition. As with most movies that focus on triumph, there is nary a thought to the vast majority of suffering people who, despite their best efforts, will continue to suffer until they die. They should not be disrespected by lavishing praise only on those who "win".

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Antwone Fisher was a very touching movie that shows the value of family can be an important part of a child's life.

Author: (reid04@email.franklin.edu) from OHIO
14 July 2003

I really enjoyed the movie. From the beginning to the very end I shed a few tears here and there. It shows that if a child/adult has a positive role model in his or her life, or has someone to love them they can accomplish many things, they just need that extra push as Denzel gave Derek Luke.

Antwone faces many challenges growing up and in his adult life. He encounters alot and has to make a lot of choices but he gets through them. I was really happy the way the movie ended, it was really refreshing.

The word "theme" can be defined as a central insight of a movie. In Antwone Fisher, it shows that love can have a huge effect on how you live your life and the decisions you make. Many times children do not realize how lucky they are to have a loving family. Looking into Antwone's life makes me feel very fortunate to have continued family support throughout my life. I could not help but feel sorrow as I watched a young Antwone dream of having people to love and people to love him back.

Within the first few minutes of the movie, we see a young child standing alone in a field. He then walks into a barn with a room filled with people who appear to be a large family. Everyone shows him the kind of love he yearns for and a lot of attention. They escort him to a table full of food and is served a plate of pancakes. All of a sudden, he wakes up only to realize this was all a dream. This scene shows how it would have felt to have had a happy childhood with a loving family, however he is never fortunate enough to live that dream.

The only family Antwone knew was Mrs. Tate, the pastor's wife who adopts him and his foster brothers. While growing up in her home, he is physically, mentally, and sexually abused. With all of these factors, Antwone turns out to be an accomplished young man.

In the navy is where he meets Washington, a psychiatrist who later becomes a positive role model to the tempered young Antwone. Washington discovers that Antwone's bad temper stems from all of the abuse he encountered as a child. Washington also convinces Antwone to go to Cleveland to seek out his real family in order to move on with his life. Antwone and his girlfriend end up meeting his family and he even gets to ask his mother why she gave him up.

After he returns to extended family members on his father's side, it almost takes you back to the very beginning scene with Antwone being surrounded by a large loving family and being served pancakes. It was basically a dream come true.

As far as the lighting and colors used in this movie, the scenes in Cleveland are very dark and gloomy. I think that this was a reflection of Antwone's horrible memories from when he lived there. Another movie this can be compared to is Good Will Hunting, though there are a few minor differences. Matt Damon and Robin Williams joked and discussed baseball and hopes for the future, with all of the pain lingering beneath the surface. Luke and Washington discuss Antwone's past but leave us wondering what the future holds.

I think that having a loving family and or a positive role model can make you into a better person against all odds. We see that Antwone Fisher was a prime example.

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It is never too late for a person to overcome his/her past.

10/10
Author: Monika from Columbus, OH
14 July 2003

Based on a true story, Antwone Fisher is a film about a young man who grew up in an abusive environment, in which he develops feelings of anger and abandonment. With no where else to go, Fisher joins the U.S. Navy, where he is repeatedly reprimanded for his outbursts of anger and uncontrollable behavior. Derek Luke, who portrays Antwone Fisher, learns how to redirect his anger and redefine himself with the help of the Navy psychiatrist played by Denzel Washington. Antwone Fisher shows that it is never too late for a person to overcome his/her past. Antwone Fisher makes reference to another movie that is based on a true story. What's Love Got To Do With It (1993) is a movie based on the upcoming of Tina Turner. The movies, Antwone Fisher and What's Love Got To Do With It, show that is never too late to overcome your past. The two movies are parallel in many ways. The films depict the abusive lives of the two main characters, Fisher (Luke) and Turner, (played by Angela Bassett); both characters had to confront their painful pasts in order to redefine their lives. Fisher (Luke) gets support from a psychiatrist; whereas, Turner (Bassett) finds support in the religion of Buddhism. However, they both gain the strength they need to overcome abuse and live for the future.

The technique used in photography is very important to the theme of Antwone Fisher. Fisher (Luke) is not familiar with having a relationship with anyone; the positioning of the characters also portrays his distance from people. In the scene when Fisher (Luke) is brought into the psychiatrist's (Washington's) office by the military police after he did not show up for his scheduled appointment, the filming positions of Luke and Washington convey a psychological undertone. In this scene, Luke and Washington are viewed in the profile position; this shows how remote Luke is from Washington, as well as from other people. The position of the film then switches to full front view once Fisher (Luke) opens up to the psychiatrist. The full front view provides a sense of intimacy. Even in the way the photographs are shot throughout the film, the audience can see how Luke's character evolves and overcomes past events. Antwone Fisher tells the story of the self-titled character. It is an inspirational movie that shows that it is never too late for a person to overcome his/her past.

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good drama

Author: saggingpantsmatt from san francisco california
7 July 2003

This movie is one of 2002's best films in my opinion.denzel does a nice job as the therapist,but the kid acts even better.It shows how horribly antwone was treated and how he overcame that,It really starts off a drama,and then becomes a subject of it's own.

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Watching this movie leaves me with one question- WHY WASN'T THIS NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE???

Author: Jdc102 from Southern California
6 July 2003

I just rented "Antwone Fisher" on DVD, and I think its the best film of 2002. Derek Luke deserves an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Antwone Fisher. He plays the character with such great emotion and it makes you feel for Antwone Fisher. This movie is so uplifting and the ending is really great, it just leaves you with a great feeling. In my opinion, this movie was much better than most of the movies nominated for best picture, but then again thats just me. Just a great movie, period.

Please let me know what you thought of my review. -Thanks

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Best movie that I have seen in years. On my top ten list for sure.

10/10
Author: Al Hall from Hanford, CA
3 July 2003

`Antwone Fisher' renews my faith that people don't have to be a victim of their circumstances. They can rise above everything that is thrown at them in life and still be a decent person and be good examples to all that know their story.

As always Denzel gives a top notch performance and Derek Luke gives a remarkable performance. We will see more of Derek in the future I'm sure.

Got a problem teenager. Sit them down and make them what this movie and the interview with the real Antwone Fisher (on the DVD extra). One's life doesn't have to be crap just because everyone around you happens to be that way. 10/10

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Great tear jerker.

Author: benn3393 from Utah, USA
28 June 2003

Before I begin let me give my disclaimer. I do not rate a film by its artistic possibilities. Nor do I fuss over the abilities of its creators. My ratings are based fully on the entertainment value that the film held for me. (i.e. Evil Dead would rate higher than The Hours).

Antwone Fisher is a terrific film. It gets to you emotionally and tugs on heartstrings until you cry, or nearly do. A very heartwarming story. One that men and women can both enjoy. Thank you for making this film. Highly suggested.

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wonderful surprise

9/10
Author: jimi99 from denver
26 June 2003

There were actually two wonderful surprises. The first was that I was not expecting to like this film very much, to be manipulated emotionally like so many "inspirational" dramas and biopics these days. And I did enjoy, admire, and ultimately love it, due in large part to the second surprise, which was the culmination of the riveting psychological mystery of Antwone's story and the uplifting and totally naturalistic resolution.

This film ushers in the directorial career of Denzel Washington, who has crafted a work of great insight, drama, and creative vision. His command of the visual elements is impressive enough, but it is the drama that ultimately counts, and "Antwone Fisher" succeeds superbly. The cast as an ensemble are amazing to the smallest bit part. The script, written by Antwone Fisher himself, is more than professional, it is dead-on for honesty, pacing, all the dramatic elements, and wonderful dialogue that never hits a false note. The lead actor is stunning; I will remember his performance for a long time. Which leads me to reiterate something stated before: WHERE WERE THE OSCAR NOMINATIONS? Because Denzel won Best Actor the year before, the Academy feels obligated to completely ignore this little gem? Mr. Washington's considerable acting skills are also on display here in a pivotal role, but the greatest accolades go to Mr. Luke.

The fact that Mr. Luke and Mr. Fisher both worked at the film studio, knew each other is a great story in itself. And that Mr. Washington heard Fisher's story and developed it into such a fine film is a great tribute to his talent and heart, much more than that gold statuette for crossing over to the dark side in "Training Day."

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Sure beats Prozac for treating self-pity --- and it's cheaper, too!

9/10
Author: Walzking from North Hollywood, Calif.
16 June 2003

This is one highly assured directing debut by one of the most assured actors in film today, Denzel Washington: It moves well, touches the heart deeply without ladelling on the schmaltz, rarely makes a bad narrative or stylistic choice, and (perhaps best of all) it is honestly a film that not only the whole family CAN see together, it really, really OUGHT TO do so! What isn't a surprise about Washington's direction is that he clearly is turned on by acting and by actors (you'd be shocked how many major film directors despise actors). And in "Antwone Fisher" the audience benefits from Washington's buzz because every actor given more than an instant of screen time --- and I do mean EVERY actor, kids, old folks, extras and leads alike --- manages to make an individual impression. It's quite a feat, and I only hope Washington doesn't get seduced by the technical and corporate aspects of filmmaking so that he can make us a few more like this one. As the Navy psychiatrist who's assigned Fisher (an internal, broody sailor with a violent record) for an evaluation of a possible dishonorable discharge from the Navy, Washington the actor is as smoothly commanding and effortlessly empathetic as ever. But you can noticeably perceive him ratcheting himself back a notch or two so that the full power of Derek Luke, the newcomer who plays Fisher, can smack you over the noggin. And does it ever! This is a freshman performance to rank up there with some of the greats: Al Pacino in "Panic in Needle Park," Paul Newman in 'Somebody Up There Likes Me," and, perhaps not surprisingly, Washington's own freshman star turn as Steve Biko in Sir Richard Attenborough's 'Cry Freedom." Luke turns every direction the script (which Fisher himself wrote) asks him to, and there's simply not a false note anywhere. Effortlessly charismatic, scary, loony and withdrawn --- and even attractive to a fellow (female) swabbie --- Luke makes it all so believeable, and with such little apparent technical sweat that you never watch the actor, you watch the character. Luke, like Morgan Freeman, Sidney Poitier and Washington himself, bids fair to escape the usual nonsense African-American actors have to endure (sometimes their entire careers) before getting real acting parts in films. I certainly hope so!

*ends*

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