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Antwone Fisher
b_blocke17 September 2005
This is the ONLY movie I've ever been moved to write about. I rarely even watch movies let alone offer opinions, but this movie is exceptional in so many ways. The acting is powerful and believable (duh.. it's real..), and the entire story is totally captivating. I was watching on satellite and had to endure commercials, and it was sheer torture waiting for the movie to resume.

This has to be one of, if not THE finest film ever made. Congratulations to EVERYONE, especially MR. Fisher. I'm a 55 year old guy that teaches in Cleveland and I never thought I would cry, but there I was with tears streaming down my face, all alone in my living room late at night. This story should be told and retold for generations to come. Thank you Mr. Fisher, Mr. Washington, and everyone else. This was a life-changing experience - not a movie. God bless you all for putting this together. I just can't figure out why this movie is not huge forever. Well, I suppose I can hazard a guess, but I truly hope I'm wrong - I think we all know what that guess is...

Thanks again - not just for the movie, but for the most powerful message possible. If you haven't seen this movie, SEE IT NOW! You won't be sorry, but if you don't see it, you'll be missing the experience of a lifetime. BJL
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A classic `grab at your heart' story about a troubled young man's life and search for happiness.
skomormj14 July 2003
The protagonist, Antwone Fisher is played by the up and coming young actor, Derek Luke. Luke is a young sailor, filled with rage, easily provoked, and often unable to control his emotional outbursts. His temper soon earns him several mandatory sessions with a naval psychiatrist; played by Denzel Washington (he also directed the film). Early on, their personalities clash, but eventually Washington unlocks the two sources of Luke's anger-an abusive childhood and a pervading fear of being abandoned.

The film takes us on a journey of Luke's life, one marked by periods of intense loneliness and sadness while being driven by a constant search (an obsession) for family. It is through Luke's life that we learn that perseverance can carry us through the periods of darkness and eventually deliver some form of happiness

By counseling and befriending Luke, Washington enables him to deal with his lifelong sadness and move on. When the film wants to grab at your heart, it succeeds with good writing and convincing performances by Luke and Washington. In a graphic abuse scene from Luke's childhood, Washington artistically and gutterly insures that we not only empathize with Antwone, we personally experience his helplessness. This scene, which showcases Washington's directorial skill, places Luke in a full frontal position, trembling, with the whites of his eyes looking directly at the camera (the viewer). Anyone watching the screen can't help but be mesmerized by the abject fear in Luke's eyes.

As the film progresses, Washington, the director, introduces two minor twists to the plot. The first highlights Luke's reluctance to trust as he begins dating for the first time. This sub-point is purposeful and displays the infinite lingering effects of Luke's childhood on his adulthood. The second involves martial (family) problems within the psychiatrist's life which, while ironic, is never developed.

Much like his performance as a compassionate lawyer in Philadelphia, Denzel Washington's screen presence in Antwone Fisher commands our attention and emotions, leaving few dry eyes in the theater. This film's writing, direction and acting exposes our souls and grabs our hearts.
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An incredible film I recommend to everyone
ChavRose069 September 2004
An adaption of the book 'Finding Fish'. This story is about a troubled young sailor Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke) who tells the painful story of his past to a psychiatrist Jerome Davenport (Denzel Washington). A brilliant debut performance by Derek Luke and an always stunning performance by Denzel Washington.

This movie was incredible on so many levels and I was disappointed that it didn't win an Oscar, I think it was because it was released at a bad time that's why it was overlooked. I strongly recommend this film to everyone, you'll be touched by his story and it really does make the audience become empathetic with this young man that is Antwone Fisher.

If you like inspirational true stories, then watch Antwone Fisher.

Thank you
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Golden Child
rbrb20 December 2004
A stunning film of high quality.

Apparently based on true events which, as told, has the clear ring of truth about it, this movie is highly emotional and deeply moving.

An abused and neglected child often becomes wayward in adulthood, as one of life's failures, be it as a gangster, drug addict or burden on society.

Antwone Fisher as a young adult in the navy, is troubled. He is on the brink of being a loser. He is counselled in therapy by a psychiatrist and it is that relationship which takes center stage in the play.

In flash-backs and therapy the source and remedies to Antwones angst are revealed.

Outstanding performances from the whole cast. The story is in effect a family tragedy with emotional and physical torment. All the actors give full blooded performances with conviction and realism.

One message from the movie is the importance of raising children decently.

The real Antwone deserves success. To have endured wickedness as a child but to rise above that, shows a magnificent character.

And to all those out there who have endured such torment but to have survived and succeeded: you are all winners. 10 out of 10.
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A True Familial Drama
claudio_carvalho20 September 2004
The violent and rebel twenty-five years old sailor Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke) is sent to three sessions for evaluation with the navy psychiatrist Dr. Jerome Davenport (Denzel Washington), after another outburst and aggression against a superior ranked navy man. Reluctant in the beginning of the treatment, he gets confidence in Dr. Davenport and discloses his childhood, revealing painful traumas generated in his foster house. Meanwhile, he meets Cheryl Smolley (Joy Briant), and they fall in love for each other. Resolving his personal problems, Antwone becomes a new man. This true familial drama is a touching and positive story of a man who finds a friend and is sent back to a regular life. The direction of Denzel Washington is excellent, making sensitive, attractive and with good taste, a story about child abuse. In the hands of another director, it might be a very heavy story. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): 'Voltando a Viver' ('Returning to Live')
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A director is born.
jotix10028 August 2003
Not having seen the film in the original theater release, I was happily surprised when the DVD arrived, since this film did not have the wide distribution it merited.

Denzel Washington directorial debut and the finished product have nothing to envy other films about the same theme by more accomplished directors. The film has a very professional look. It shows that Mr. Washington has learned a lot being on the other side of the camera. He brings a different angle to this film.

One of the best things the film has is, without a doubt, the fine performance by Derek Luke. He is an actor who, with the right guidance, will go far, no doubt. His take on the troubled young man, at this point of his life, in turmoil and suffering for a bad hand life, up to now, has dealt him, is very true. His Antwone is a fine portrait of a man in pain who is basically very good and has so much to give, but no one seems to see that side of his character.

At the worst time of his despair, Antwone is sent to Dr. Davenport, played by Mr. Washington, in a very sober, if somehow subdued manner. Because of the angst within Antwone, he misses the opportunity of opening himself to this man, who wants to help, but because of the constrains placed on his office, just have three sessions and then has to dismiss his patient.

Things work out, as Antwone is able to convince the doctor to keep on working with him. Antwone's past is revealed in detail. The abuse he suffers at the hands of Mrs. Tate, his foster mother, is brutal, to say the least. The attempt at the hand of an older woman in the Tate's household of a sexual molestation, gives Antwone a bitter taste that stays with him throughout his adult life, as he has been scarred by the shame he carries with him.

Antwone finds love at last with Cheryl, who is patient enough to make him see a different world by the love she and support she gives him.

The lead performances are very good indeed. Denzel Washington's Dr. Davenport has his own problems too. He is not a happy camper either. He can help Antwone, but he cannot help himself, or his relationship with an adoring wife.

The talent in the film is incredible. Joy Bryant makes a fine Cheryl. Novella Nelson, who is a fine actress is superb as Mrs. Tate, the abusing foster mother.

The reunion of Antwone with his unknown family is a bit too sugary and sentimental, but of course, if one is to believe that Fisher finds happiness at last, one has to accept that part of the film as well.
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The best psychological drama since "Ordinary People" and "Good Will Hunting"
george.schmidt30 December 2002
ANTWONE FISHER (2002) **** Derek Luke, Denzel Washington, Joy Bryant, Salli Richardson, Leonard Howze, Kente Scott, Kevin Connolly, Rainoldo Gooding, Novella Nelso, Malcolm David Kelley, Cory Hodges, Stephen Snedden. Actor Denzel Washington makes a powerfully confident directorial debut in this biopic about a good young sailor in the navy (Luke in a truly stunning acting debut of award caliber excellence) – the eponymous film subject – whose past demons have nestled into nothing but troubles for him and with the assist of the outfit's psychiatrist (portrayed evenly by Washington) Fisher is able to gain a foothold on his present and more importantly, his future. Heartbreakingly poignant and all too knowing in its depiction of the triumph of the human spirit ; at the same time non-condescending nor preachy; the film unfolds like all good storytelling: naturally and effortlessly. Bryant also gives a remarkable debut turn as the young woman who sees Fisher for the man he is and nothing less. The real Fisher was a security guard @ Sony Pictures prompting Washington to make the movie and coincidentally Luke worked in the gift shop, an amateur actor in the making, who knew Fisher and the rest is history. One of the best films of the year.
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A moving story for adoptees
esargent17 January 2003
I was adopted at birth and certainly did NOT have the problems Antwone fisher had in the movie, but I still share some of the emotions and this movie really helped to bring them out and force me to deal with them. It even caused me to realize that I do have a "missing piece" and I am going to seek out my birthparents now.

I cried for almost a day after I saw this the first time. Antwone's confrontation with his birthmother juxtaposed with his father's family's reaction to his sudden appearance are powerful for those of us who don't know what will happen if we find our birth parents. And his self-confidence and self affirmations to his mother and against the abusers of his past were so powerful. I could really identify with this and my need to tell people "yeah, I was put aside by my parents when I was born. BUT another set of parents picked me up and loved me. And now I am a success!"

It also helped my wife understand me and our adopted children, who did go through tragic experiences before they came to our home. And it helped me to realize just how messed up our social system is. If you remember reading the story last year about the foster kid in Florida who was "lost" AND then the "Miranda & Ashley" story in Oregon City where SCF ignored multiple sexual abuse complaints about the man who ultimately killed them AND the week this movie was released, yet another story in New Jersey of three kids who were ignored by the system. One died. The state apparently thought the home they were in was ok because the guardian was employed (as a stripper) and "only occasionally" used heroin!

There are just so many issues that are brought out in this movie - and they are dealt with so well by the script and by the acting that Antwone Fisher should be a "Best Picture" nominee for sure. No matter if you are adopted or not, it is a heart-tugger that can't be ignored by anyone concerned about children in our society.
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Absolutely mind boggling
Edouard20 March 2005
Every one should see this movie because each one of us is broken in some way and it may help us realize 1) My life isn't as bad as I thought it was and 2) How important it is to adopt a child in need. There are so many out there. To think that the movie was actually based on a real person made us think deep about life and how the world has and always will be. Corrupt, but that corruption doesn't have to reach your home. We all have a choice! Definitely recommend this one... and while you're at it, I'd like to throw in "The Color Purple" and "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" by T.D. Jakes.

These are all movies that are based on life and give us a glimpse of life.
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A miraculous journey to recovery that will warm one's soul...
janyeap4 December 2002
It's Denzel Washington/s debut as a director, and his film does very well in exploring the moral dilemmas and redemption of his principal character, Antwone Fisher. Skirting the line between facts and fiction, he addresses the issues of pains, rage and aspirations of the young man. The film flows with a vividly soulful and engaging cinematic pace that is truly praiseworthy. There are many instances of sentimental exposes that viewers will find difficult to forget. The tale floats like an ordinary fare, but Denzel, the actor, keeps the story in motion as a priceless support to his refreshingly new protege actor, Derek Luke. Very cool performance! With every step he takes in the scenes, his presence commands the screen! Also, the heartfelt performance of the 28 year-old actor, Derek Duke, who plays the adult Antwone ‘Fish' Fisher, is equally awesome. This film does capture a journey that will keep the audience holding on to the belief that every human outcast can be saved, given the right guidance. A truly inspirational film that should be seen by all.

The story is really formidable and the overall cast is formidably impressive. The theme of redemption is solidly and beautifully expressed through the interaction of the characters. The flashback reminders of the tyrannically abusive past of young Antwoine work well to help explain the rage, lack of confidence and misbehavior of Antwone Fisher. The on screen chemistry between Washington's Dr. Davenport and Luke's Antwone, and between Antwone and Joy Bryant's Cheryl is captivating. Novella Nelson's Mrs. Tate is certainly a terror to meet. I was also impressed by young Cory Hodges' terrific performance. Overall, the cast presents their characters in a very believable manner. I find myself associating some of the characters with those from the writings of one of my favorite authors, James Baldwin. Unfortunately, with the exception of the Antwone, the D. Davenport and the Cheryl characters, many of the talented actors seem to ooze in and out of sight without solid positioning. I could sit and watch the melodrama of the last Thanksgiving scene over and over again.

The flow of events set forth the pace of behavioral and mental development of Antwone. They may seemingly appear as events flatly thrown in as mere excuses to show Antoine's faults, but succeeds in giving reasons and offering solutions to the problems faced by the Antwone character. I love the way they are presented, almost in a hurried pace as if to raise spontaneous questions in the audience's minds as they analyze the young sailor's attitude! The film does portray a sense of emotional parallel between Antwone and Davenport, both waiting for the correct moments to burst out with their hidden deep-rooted emotions. That `poem-reading' session is a definite highlight of the film. Derek Luke has a unique charismatic charm that will surely warm the hearts of many.

This is great family film that expounds on the battle of a man `under a rock' in his attempt to fight his internal demons. Yep, there are a lot of visual moments of traumatic pains and sufferings as there are many instances of emotional victories. And Mychaela Danna's music scores contribute wonderfully to the intensity of the moods of characters. Truly an inspirational film to watch! Thoroughly enjoyable!
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Showing African-American Families for Ill and Good
noralee29 December 2002
I went to see "Antwone Fisher" as an accident of multi-plex sold-out theaters and was girded for schmaltz, but was curious to see Denzel Washington's directorial debut.

Whoa, the whole audience--including me-- burst out into tears at the same time, with many also bursting out into applause at a later moment. But could anyone have ruined such strong material as this autobiographical story by the screenwriter?

Washington's prim, prudish fingers are all over the structure-- I read that it was his decisions to tone down the abuse Fisher actually suffered, and to add in more of his character's, the shrink, role with his (yet another light-skinned, straight-haired) wife because he thought the audience needed a break from Fisher, and I disagree with both choices.

Where Washington is especially effective - and the scenes that prompted the tears and the applause-- is in showing African-American families so naturally, with a diversity of personalities, reactions, motivations, and interactions, comparable to Barry Levinson's Jewish family sagas. He's more pedestrian in the macho military environment, unlike, say, how comfortably in-your-face Curtis Hanson's "8 Mile" is with guys together.

This is very much like a black "Three Faces of Eve" showing the solution to psychological problems as remembering, talking about, and reconciling with the past.

The scenes with Fisher and his too-nice girlfriend are charming. But we don't really get an answer to the question, as to how it is that Fisher, who even at the beginning of the movie is not hardened but is basically a sweet guy who just happens to throw punches a lot, ended up all right when everyone else in his milieu ended up in jail or worse.
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Slow-Paced But Worth Sticking With
sddavis634 August 2003
Based on a true story, and with a screenplay written by the real Antwone Fisher (who had never before written a screenplay), this movie is also Denzel Washington's first outing as a director, and Derek Luke's first starring role as Antwone. All these firsts made this a movie I wanted to see out of curiosity more than anything else, and in the end I was mildly impressed with it, although the movie is definitely not without its flaws.

In particular, the first hour or so of the movie is very slowly paced. At times, it was tempting to turn away, but there was enough of interest that kept popping up to make me stick with it. In the end, this turned into an interesting enough journey of self-discovery, as we delve more and more into Antwone's past to try to discover what childhood demons have caused him to grow up into an angry young man. As slow-paced as I thought the movie was it's ironic that I also felt that it moved too swiftly through some things. Antwone's anger seems largely resolved by a handful of sessions with Commander Davenport, the Navy psychiatrist (played by Washington) and we really only see a couple of flashes of anger - hardly enough, in my view, to have him sent off to the psychiatrist in the first place. (I know that the fight depicted was probably one in a series. In real life, it made sense to send him to Davenport, but in the strict context of the movie it seemed a bit extreme.) Antwone's relationship with Cheryl (Joy Bryant) also seemed to develop very quickly. He takes her out once, all of a sudden she's his girlfriend and he's in love, then they're sharing a hotel room. (For a guy who has no experience with romance he's a natural!)

But in spite of these inconsistencies and the slow pace of the first hour or so, the movie picks up nicely in the second half as Antwone begins to discover who he is and where he came from. The second half is actually quite interesting. Although it doesn't overcome some of the flaws I mentioned above, it nevertheless turns what had been looking for a while like a mediocre movie into a pretty decent one.

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Who will cry for this little boy?! :p
clerfay8 February 2003
It's 3AM. I've just wasted 2 hours of my life on this lousy movie. It was cheesy, boring and too emotional. Besides that, exactly the same topic has already been played out in 'Good Will Hunting'. Witch was a great movie compared to this one.

The only thing i was looking foward to was the solution for denzel's problem with his wife but even that sidestory had a cheesy ending. I got a feelin that the images where fisher came out with his 'poem' and denzel & fisher said they love eachother etc etc will hunt me to my grave...

Anyway, I consider a movie worth watching if it has something to say or the story (or superb filming tehniques) just suck you on your seat. And if it does that, I can oversee some cheesy scenes or other minor flaws. The story of this one was weak and it didn't have anything to tell - live a good life and you'll get a chance to be happy (mom, i've lived a good life. never even smoked A cigarette)?! Whatta crap! Life ain't black & white...

I've got about 500-600 movies in my collection and a blank cd costs about 0.5$ here - I didn't write this one on a cd...

A great flick to debute denzel's director career, though :p

3 out of 10
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Best Movie of 2002
mkolowski4 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Antwone Fisher w/ Denzel Washington December 29 Rating: **** ** SPOILERS **

Whew. Thats all I can muster after seeing Antwone Fisher tonite. Well actually I can say alot more, it was incredible. Go see it right now, stop whatever you're doing and go see it. It even made it into my top ten. Of course I'm kinda biased cause Denzel was in it, and he directed it but he wasn't the star, Derek Luke was, and he was ON.

The opening scene starts as a dream with a young Fisher walking through a farm into a barn full of waiting family like 50-60 people. He makes his in to see a great feast prepared for him, he sits down and gets served fresh pancakes, his favorite meal. This becomes important later. Antwone Fisher is a troubled petty officer of the navy who gets into fights easily. He gets sent to the resident psychiatrist Dr. Davenport (Washington). It looks like Fisher has deep dark secrets and it takes weeks for him to open up to the Doctor. With some patience, Davenport finally gets him to talk about his parents. (Cue Flashback) He was born in a Womens Correctional Facilty since his mother was imprisoned there. He never had the opportunity to meet his father thanks to one of his dad's ex-girlfriends, who shot him to death. Since his mother was in jail he was sent to a foster "home". The foster home was as bad as one can imagine. His foster mother, Ms. Tate, (also black) refers to Antwone and his 2 foster brothers as "nigger", and each were beaten as regularly as meals were eaten. After a few more meetings, his required time wioth Davenport is up, although Fisher still wants to continue.

Meanwhile, Antwone becomes smitten with a navy woman Cheryl. After a few shy encounters, he finally asks her out. But on a night out with the boys they tease him about how they're never see him with a woman. Fisher can take only so much, and they come to blows. When Davenport finds out what happened, he meets him at the jail. He tries to find out why he's never been with a woman. (Flahback Music) When the mother takes Antwones foster borthers out, , He's left with his stepsister. She like to take advantage of Antwone in ways that make you wanna beat the crap out of her. Antwone is only 5 years old at the time.

After Antwone graduates from one of his classes, Davenport tells him that their sessions are once again over, and Fisher breaks down, he's tired of everyone leaving him, he tells a story about how when he came back home after living on the streets for a few years, he met up with his best friend. After spending the day together, his friends tries to hold up a 7-11 and is shot in the head and killed by the clerk, right in front of the shocked Antwone. After this final revelation, Davenport says that he's not going anywhere. This scene is so good that i KNOW i didn't do it justice here.

**Spoilers Ahead, go to the end** Fisher and Cheryl go to see Ms. Tate to find out about his parents and Antwone delivers the most memorable lines in the movie. Tate and her daughter are upset that he won't come in and give them respect for all they did for him. He says, "You tried to destroy me, I'm still Stong, I'm still Standing!" After that, Tate gives him a name. After some searching, he finds his Aunt on his fathers side. He finds out there that his Mother lives down the street. He makes a trip down there to find his mother completely shocked to see him, and can't even looks at him, he makes his peace and leaves. When he returns home to his Aunts house, everyone on his Fathers side is there waiting to see him with open arms. I mean like 50-60 people. All smiling and hugging and kissing. Love everywhere. When he makes his way into the kitchen, he see's a great dinner has been prepared. The elder family is sitting around the table greeting him, and he makes his way to presumable his Gradmother. She extents her hands, and whispers, "Welcome". Cue waterworks. I ain't afraid to say it, this one let the dam loose. It was such a clutch scene. And right after he sits down next to her, he gets served a fresh plate of pancakes from his Aunt. Sweet.

**Spoilers Over** Ok, go see this movie NOW! It rocked my world. I laughed, I cried, I'm gonna buy it when it comes out. Thanks for reading. ----------------------------------------------------
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An outstanding film
jhuni_x27 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie describes the life of somebody who grew up in the worst of circumstances but unlike many people he actually grew up to be a respectable person. Whats more is that this is a true story.

Antwone Fisher is so innocent and yet he was abused such just because he was not white. Antwone Fisher has been married to the same women for ten years and he never fooled around with women, coke, cigars, weed, alcohol, or any of those things that are very popular in the places he was growing up.

There is not much more to say about this movie it is excellent. The only rating I can give it is a 10/10.
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a must see film for everyone
pepekwa6 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
this is a film about life, the triumph over adversity and the wonders of the human spirit. I defy anyone not to shed a tear by the end of the movie. This is more than just a tear-jerker, its an engaging, thought-provoking drama with excellent performances from all the cast but especially derek Luke and denzel washington. 7 years on, I'm amazed that Luke is still a virtual unknown and washington only directed one other film. Nevertheless, apart from a slow build-up, the story of this foster child's trials and tribulations and how it still affects him in adulthood is the sort of movie that stays with you long after you have seen it. Like many fox searchlight pictures, this was more of a sleeper hit and didn't get the mass critical acclaim it deserves. The scene where Antwone finally meets his mother summed up the movie for me, there were so many ways that could have been done and it could have been all schmaltzy or it could have been unrealistic but Washington struck exactly the right tone, his mother never said a word and could only shed a tear, while antowne asked simply why. Her overwhelming guilt prevented her from saying anything, what could she say to defend herself? One of the most moving cinematic scenes I have seen.
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Great heart-warming movie
Nocgirl7220 November 2007
This is one of my all time favorites. Simple story about a complicated sailor (Derek Luke)prone to emotional outbursts. He starts seeing a naval psychologist (the fabulous Denzel Washington) who helps him sort through his demons, reflect on his past, and find the family he never knew. Raised in an abusive foster home, he is determined to make something of himself, and try to put the daunting past behind him.

Along the way he gets a girlfriend who helps him and encourages him to find himself, and search for his roots.

One of the coolest endings in a movie. I get teary-eyed every time.

AWESOME movie!!!
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The end of the film showed me what was missing in my life
bobafrancesca28 March 2006
When I saw the film, and reached the end of the film, right through the end when Antwone returned home with his uncle, after his mother had hardly said a word to him, and the door opened, and he was greeted by a FAMILY. An Entire Clan. It was like a dream. It made me realize how I had not been greeted by my mother's family ever (in circumstances similar to Antwone) and that their behavior hurt. And that there are other possibilities, as those in the end of the film. Thank you Antwone.

I gave the film only 8 out of 10 because it was too real. Somehow, it was no longer a film but something that I was really watching. I am not sure whether this is good or bad in movie making art. I saw it on a small 21# TV and yet it filled the whole screen. I wonder what it would look like in a large theatre.
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"...who will hear the tears of the boy inside the man?"
mdm-111 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Antwone Fisher's story of childhood neglect and abuse is an inspiration to all among us who witnessed or even experienced the plight of foster children. Abandoned by a troubled mother, Antwone has never met his father. Growing up with "church going" abusers who use the "n-word" not only to intimidate and hurt but also as a term of endearment, as a young man witnessing how his best friend is killed in a hold-up, enduring racial slurs and being teased while serving in the Navy, Antwone's anger is slowly turned into positive power when counseled by a Navy psychiatrist, and a love enters his life.

The scene where Antwone meets his birth mother is one of the most powerful moments in the film. Stunned by the unexpected confrontation, the woman listens in silence to hear the young man tell her how he has lived a life without crime, addictions to drugs, fathering children left and right, all despite his utterly adverse circumstances.

If that scene wasn't powerful enough, the very next one drives it home (and opens the flood gates): A reception to welcome home Antwone; dozens of smiling faces and open arms announcing that HE is part of this great family.

One of the messages delivered by this wonderful film is that there are many well-meaning and sincere people working to help orphans and unwanted children. Even if some of the homes and administrators don't seem to care and appear self-serving, many do give it their all. The character who found Antwone's "file" once he disclosed the circumstances of his birth is one of those "bright lights" in the darkness of the system.

The DVD includes a French Language track, various subtitle choices, as well as additional features and information about foster parenting.

As a Clevelander I appreciated the location footage. No matter where you are from, you will be deeply moved by this autobiographical gem.
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Denzel Washington in a double smash!
thesundance1412 January 2003
In his directorial debut, Denzel Washington takes a true story that also happens to be a very difficult story and brings it to the screen with an honesty that we have come to expect from Washington's acting efforts, but now we see this touch as a director.

Recently we have seen some of the disastrous results of kids who have fallen through the cracks of public protection. This story tells of a nightmare existence that leaves terrible scars but suggests the triumph of the human spirit in the end.

We can nit pick on some first effort problems with too many close ups and not the best of editing these scenes but the simplicity of other scenes that project such power cannot be understated.

If the academy overlooks this film it will be travesty. This film pulls no punches and goes to the cold hard facts of the story with a purity that usually doesn't transcend from a novel to the screen. This , of course , is a tribute to the Director.

This is a dandy so go see it and tell your friends to go see it too!
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Not especially good
scipantheist8 January 2003
This film really just didn't do much for me. I think that while it may be moving to those ignorant of the issues of child abuse, ultimately it doesn't do justice to the thousands of real people that seek counseling every day for such problems. Go to see it if you like Denzel Washington as an actor. I don't think he has much to offer as a director.
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The lowest-energy film ever shot...
LeeAnn9219 January 2003
I have never seen such a low-energy movie. I spent most of the time wanting to reach forward and slap somebody to get them moving...

This film is being hyped as the "tear-jerker" of the year, but the film has nothing new to say. The story is old: an angry young black man has a single shot to turn his life around and he almost blows it. Then we discover that all his problems are linked by his feelings of abandonment by his mother.

Save your money and wait for video...and a box of no-doze.
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moving and warming despite the hard subject and slight bit of Hollywood sentimentality
bob the moo21 February 2003
Antwone Fisher is a sailor in the US Navy. When he is busted again for fighting with a superior non-commissioned officer his punishment includes evaluation by a psychiatrist. Despite being stand-offish and difficult at first, Antwone slowly begins to talk, revealing a traumatic childhood at the route of his anger which started with the death of his father before he was even born and the foster homes.

I had the opportunity to watch this film and was wondering whether I'd bother. I hadn't seen any promotion and the subject matter didn't grab me, however I went anyway and was very pleasantly surprised. The film is involving and moving and is a warm story. The subject matter should make this darker and more depressing than it is, but instead it uses the situation to be uplifting rather than shocking or depressing. The film is well paced - patient without being slow, gently comic without taking away form the serious nature of the piece.

At times it does slip into Hollywood style traditional sentimentality but it is rare enough to not spoil anything. Only the ending is a little bit of a letdown as it lacks a real emotional climax but rather a slightly sappy conclusion. However this does not mean it isn't beautiful in it's own way because it is. It is a moving story. The only thing that took away a little from it was the line in the final credits that stated that some scenes were fictional. The fact that I didn't know which ones took away a little...I joked that if it was my story that I would have added the stuff about Cheryl!

Washington does a really good job as director - plenty of clever but unobtrusive shots and well framed static shots. His style suits the slow pace of the film and he uses it well. As an actor he is also good but is perhaps a little too worthy and wise, but still gives a good performance. Luke is much better and he is believable and winning. The emotion is real and he gently strips away the layers of his character well without having to do it in one big scene, again matching the patient style of the film. Bryant is impossibly beautiful and the weakness in her character is that she just seems too damn good to be true. However she is gorg and has a likeable character. However it is Luke's film and he is well supported by the two children playing the equally difficult part of Fisher's childhood.

Overall this is a difficult film to sell but it is very well made and well worth checking out. It is not as heavy as it could have been and the occasional light touch just serves to make the emotion that little bit stronger when it comes. Not perfect but it is very good, and on a side note, how refreshing it is to see a "black" film that isn't full of cliché and stereotypes like so many hiphop comedies (Barbershop to name one!).
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A boring genre movie.
dennisdunkerley20 August 2006
The plot is predictable and not very original. The movie contains few, if any, surprises and simply seems geared to win minority sympathy votes from the abused. The ending is especially weak, with Washington simply telling his patient that he's "succeeded". Big deal, Antwone, life isn't fair and people that abuse children are sick. Get over it. Did we really need to see the woman whipping children with a wet towel? Also, it's more likely Antwone's anger comes from fear and an exaggerated sense of entitlement, than his actual abuse. All in all, this movie presents inferences as though they were facts and asks the audience to agree not only that these are the source(s) of his anger, but that realizing this prepares him for a loving relationship. It strains credibility.
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guyb24 May 2003
Am I the only one who fell asleep during this movie; not once, but twice? I've been a big fan on Denzel in the past, but I think he's busy phoning it in these days and is suffering from to much fame. This movie may have been a faithful reproduction of a true story, but there just wasn't much there. Just goes to show you how boring a normal life really is!
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