Reviewed by: Artie Megibben
|Featuring||Sean Connery, F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin, Tom Mullica, Busta Rhymes|
|Director||Gus Van Sant|
|Producer||Jonathan King, Dany Wolf, Laurence Mark, Rhonda Tollefson, Sean Connery|
Gus Van Sant seems to have a soft spot in his heart for working-class boy geniuses—for once again he has blessed the movie-going public with a rehashing of the successful formula we last saw in his Oscar-winning “Good Will Hunting”. Look for Matt Damon (Will) in a cameo-role at the end of the film—as if to say, “Hey, haven’t you seen this plot before?” No matter—this under-privileged-Brain meets over-privileged-Mentor” formula is always a crowd-pleaser. And even if it’s not as Oscar-worthy as its predecessor, it’s still a good movie.
Instead of a working-class white kid in South Boston in need of sage psychoanalysis, “Forrester” serves up a working-class black kid in the South Bronx in need of sage creative writing advice. And he gets it too, from Sean Connery (a.k.a. William Forrester), a world-famous novelist who wrote the Great American Novel only to never publish again. Connery’s reclusive character has apparently spent the past forty years holed up in a South Bronx apartment spying on the “hood” and yellow-breasted warblers through his rear window. (Wait-a-minute! I think I’ve just discovered another warmed-over plot!)
Anyway, Jamal, our black boy-genius—who, by the way, is also murder on the b-ball court—breaks into Forrester’s apartment on a dare, inadvertently leaves a back-pack chocked full of promising prose, and gets himself a cranky, old Scottsman for a mentor.
Like “Good Will Hunting”, there is a lot of tough love, mutual psychological breakthroughs and even a little romance—interracial at that. Rich girl, Anna Paquin, falls for our other-side-of-the-tracks genius—played to a fare-thee-well by an introspective Rob Brown—no Chris Rock wisecracks from this serious, young man.
Unlike “Good Will Hunting”, discreet Christians will be glad to hear there is no sex in this Hollywood blockbuster. No violence. No car chases. But of course, enough street-wise profanity to make you believe that these kids are really from the Bronx. YO’ MUDDAH! Anyway this is definitely not one for the little shavers (they would be bored to tears for one.) But it is a well-acted and well-directed movie, despite the re-treaded plot. Plus, it celebrates one of America’s great myths—an underprivileged boy Hemmingway from the other side of town can overcome poverty, prejudice and the absence of a father and “make it” in the good ol’ U.S. of A,--provided he plays basketball like a mamma-jammer. (By the way if you don’t know what a “mamma-jammer” is, you won’t get half of the street banter in this movie).
All in all, “Finding Forrester” is an enjoyable, uplifting film. All but the very young or language-offended Christian may enjoy this morality play concerning the sort of inner-city mentoring that more Christians should be actively involved in. You know, bearing each other’s burdens and all that…