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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
'Finding Forrester' is without any doubt the best movie of the year 2000. I've heard many people say that this is just director Gus Van Sant's retread of his oscar winning hit 'Good Will Hunting'. That is the furthest statement from the truth. Eventhough the general idea of two different people bonding is here, everything else is as different as it comes.
The story is about Jamal Wallace(Rob Brown, making his bigscreen debut), an allstar basketball player who's only 16 but has a passion for writing and reading. One night on a bet he breaks into the apartment of a person only known to the neighborhood kids as "The Window". But when he's caught, Wallace bolts and forgets his backpack. Later he gets his backpack back, with all his written material analyzed, corrected ect. After revisiting the man, Wallace finds out that "The Window" is none other than reclusive author William Forrester(Sean Connery), who has been hiding for 40 years. They cut a deal that as long as Jamal doesn't tell anybody about William, then William must help Jamal with his writing. Over the course of the movie a beautiful bond forms as the two different people become friends and partners. Along the way William helps Jamal deal with his biased english professor Robert Crawford(F. Murray Abraham), his new girlfriend(Anna Paquin), his brother(rapper Busta Rhymes) and everyone else in his life.
The acting in this film is universally excellent, and no matter how it is billed Brown is the real star of this movie. Connery is brilliant but isn't on the screen enough to outshine Brown. Abraham comes off as the perfect nemesis and Busta Rhymes acquits himself rather well. Anna Paquin isn't too bad but she isn't given too much to do. Excellent supporting cast withstanding the best scenes in the film are the one on one interactions between Brown and Connery. I especially loved the "Soup questions" scene and the Jeopardy scene.
Considering this is Van Sant's first film since the terrible 'Psycho' remake he made a few years back he does very well. And surprisingly he generates more tension and suspense in one basketball sequence late in the movie than he did in all of 'Psycho'.
Overall this is not only Van Sant's best movie but also the best film all year. And after seeing this movie three weeks after the Academy Awards it makes it all the more shocking that 'Gladiator' won as I can't see how, in any way, it is better than this great film. Like a great book 'Finding Forrester' gets better every viewing and i'm sure it will stand the test of time. 10/10
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