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

Director:

Gus Van Sant

Writer:

Mike Rich
5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Connery ... Forrester
Rob Brown ... Jamal
F. Murray Abraham ... Crawford
Anna Paquin ... Claire
Busta Rhymes ... Terrell
April Grace ... Ms. Joyce
Michael Pitt ... Coleridge
Michael Nouri ... Dr. Spence
Richard Easton ... Matthews
Glenn Fitzgerald ... Massie
Lil' Zane ... Damon (as Zane Copeland Jr.)
Stephanie Berry Stephanie Berry ... Janice
Fly Williams III Fly Williams III ... Fly
Damany Mathis ... Kenzo
Damion Lee ... Clay
Edit

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. 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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Gus Van Sant previously directed a remake of Psycho (1960), which starred Janet Leigh. Busta Rhymes (Terrell) appeared in Halloween: Resurrection (2002), which featured Leigh's real-life daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis. See more »

Goofs

The bird William Forrester videotapes and identifies as a Connecticut Warbler is actually a Yellow Warbler. 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

During the Columbia logo presentation, Bill Frisell's guitar playing the Columbia accompanying music is heard, rather than the usual orchestral version. See more »

Connections

Features Jeopardy! (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

CONCIERTO DE ARANJUEZ (JAZZ)
Written by Joaquín Rodrigo
Performed by Miles Davis
Courtesy of Columbia Records
by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

User Reviews

Finding meaning in Finding Forrester
13 May 2001 | by danhicksSee 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.


81 of 97 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 345 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

12 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Finding Forrester See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$43,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$701,207, 25 December 2000

Gross USA:

$51,804,714

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$80,049,764
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS (8 channels)| SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed