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Finding Forrester (2000)

 -  Drama  -  12 January 2001 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 67,108 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 293 user | 140 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

A young writing prodigy finds a mentor in a reclusive author.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Richard Easton ...
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Massie, Forrester's Delivery Man
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Damon (as Zane Copeland Jr.)
Stephanie Berry ...
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Fly
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Damion Lee ...
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Storyline

Because of scoring exceptionally high on a statewide standardized exam and being an exceptionally good basketball player Jamal Wallace is sent to a prestigious prep school in Manhattan. He soon befriends the reclusive writer, William Forrester. The friendship leads William to overcome his reclusiveness and for Jamal to overcome the racial prejudices and pursue his true dream - writing. Written by the chan man

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In an ordinary place, he found the one person to make his life extraordinary.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Descubriendo a Forrester  »

Box Office

Budget:

$43,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£381,822 (UK) (23 February 2001)

Gross:

ESP 283,653,614 (Spain) (29 June 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| | (8 channels)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song missing from the distributed soundtrack is titled "Gassenhauer" ("Street Song"). It is the background tune used while Forrester rides his bike. Composer Carl Orff (1895-1982), whose rendition is used in the film, gave its possible year of origin as 1536 by lutenist Hans Neusiedler. See more »

Goofs

At one point in the film Jamal mentions to Claire that, "It was Stamford... At the bar in London... He was the one who introduced Watson to Holmes", alluding to the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories. However, it wasn't at a bar in London where Stamford introduced Watson to Holmes but at a hospital's chemical laboratory near the bar. See more »

Quotes

Jamal: Be sure to write.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jamal and friends play basketball through the end credits from the window of Forrester's apartment. See more »

Connections

Features Jeopardy! (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Save Me
Written by Isaac Hanson, Taylor Hanson, and Zac Hanson
Performed by Hanson
Produced By Hanson and Stephen Lironi
Courtesy of Island Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Finding meaning in Finding Forrester
13 May 2001 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

The mechanics of the movie have been well-reviewed by others. Yes, it could definitely have been a better movie, but then again what movie can't you say that about? In terms of plot and character development what it needed most was another 30 minutes, but at two and a quarter hours already most studios would never allow that. (Note that the movie did not seem nearly that long to me.) Perhaps the plot and story could have been tighter, but it's really a remarkable job for first-time screenwriter Mike Rich.

The acting, while not always remarkable, was quite good. Connery brilliantly underplayed Forrester, yielding a less dramatic but much more realistic portrayal of the writer. Rob Brown's portrayal of Jamal was equally reserved yet forceful. The directing held the two characters in balance well. The other characters were well-acted though not generally well-developed (hence much criticism of this movie).

Others have compared Finding Forrester to Goodwill Hunting (also directed by Gus Van Sant) and to Scent of a Woman, suggesting that it is just a ripoff of the plot in those two. If so (which I doubt), those are two pretty good movies to plagiarize. The basic concept of Forrester's story (first novel wins Pulitzer -- what do you do for an encore?) has also been done before, but I've never seen it done so well (and without resorting to The Bottle as an excuse for a wasted life).

What's been missed in the reviews I checked was a discussion of who found whom. When you boil it down, Jamal found Jamal and Forrester found Forrester (just in time), though they found themselves by reaching out to each other and forming a bond of friendship across a gulf of age, suspicion, and race. The way they do this, without the usual twists of self-destruction and miraculous salvation, is both touching and refreshingly real. And finding oneself, in its essence, is what EVERY good drama is about, so, yes, there is a similarity to Goodwill and Scent and every other good movie ever made.

Included in the movie is a very brief first course in writing. Though the movie doesn't dwell on it, the way it presents the process of writing (and of the criticism of writing) is refreshingly realistic.

Speculation about the "real" identity of Forrester is interesting. Salinger has been mentioned, but the similarities are only superficial. Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) is a much better fit (first novel wins Pulitzer, nothing else ever written, lived as a recluse), but I almost favor the enigmatic Gardner McKay (though Forrester is certainly different in many ways from McKay). However, it's just as likely that Rich had no particular person in mind when he crafted Forrester (since, after all, the First Novel Syndrome is a well known plot theme).

All in all, while not The Great American Movie, it's a very good movie and well worth watching.


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