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Finding Forrester (2000)

PG-13 | | Drama | 12 January 2001 (USA)
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A young writing prodigy finds a mentor in a reclusive author.

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4,087 ( 35)
5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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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
Lil' Zane ...
Damon (as Zane Copeland Jr.)
Stephanie Berry ...
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Fly
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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 »

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Release Date:

12 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Descubriendo a Forrester  »

Box Office

Budget:

$43,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$701,207 (USA) (29 December 2000)

Gross:

$51,768,623 (USA) (13 April 2001)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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| | (8 channels)

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Sean Connery, Matt Damon, Anna Paquin and F. Murray Abraham; and one Oscar nominee: Gus Van Sant. See more »

Goofs

In the basketball state championship, the opposing team scores, and then Mailer calls a time out. During the time out, the coach says "if we get a stop here, they'll have to put us on the line", yet Mailer should have had possession, thereby not necessitating a "stop". See more »

Quotes

Forrester: My name is William Forrester.
[points to 'writers wall of fame' pictures]
Forrester: I'm that one.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: Summer Special 2008/09 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Sanctuary
Composed by Wayne Shorter
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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