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Jamal (Rob Brown) looks like a typical 16 year old black kid who lives in The Bronx, plays basketball on the crumbling public playground court and has vague dreams he is trying to crystalise. From an apartment overlooking the playground a mysterious, reclusive older man seems to be watching. On a dare, Jamal steals into the old man's apartment and so triggers a new direction in his life as the man, William Forrester (Sean Connery), famed for his single, great, Pulitzer Prize winning novel 40 years earlier, takes an interest in Jamal's writing. But Jamal has to overcome some serious obstacles, and Forrester has to face down some of his demons, as they propel each other towards new goals.

Review by Louise Keller:
He reads The Times for dinner but reads the National Enquirer for dessert. He has lively debates about the use of conjunctive words at the beginning of sentences. He drinks J & B Scotch, cleans his windows meticulously but doesn't leave his apartment. He is a writer. Words are his heartbeat. Finding Forrester is a story about such a writer, but moreover, it is an inspiring story of friendship, discovery, hope and courage. Gus Van Sant has lovingly created a stirring, affecting film about an individual and his mentor and the unlikely friendship they forge.

Uplifting and immensely satisfying, Finding Forrester is music to a film lover's ears. Literally. Miles Davis' muted trumpet and Bill Frissell's (additional) soulful music set the mood, while the charismatic star power of the incomparable Sean Connery fascinates. Connery melds effortlessly into the crusty recluse who is at his own crossroads while newcomer Rob Brown dazzles as the 16 year old kid from the Bronx.

Reminding me at times of a young Sidney Poitier, Brown is as comfortable on the basketball court as he is sparring with Connery's word games. F. Murray Abrahams recaptures some of his Salieri bitterness as the writer who never made it, while Anna Paquin is fresh as Jamal's college ally. While there are parallels with Wonder Boys, Almost Famous and Scent of a Woman, Finding Forrester keeps its own individuality largely due to its well written script and textured characters.

Carefully judged and paced, the 137 minute running time never drags and the story unfolds in its own time. It's an involving film and I must admit my eyes became misty a couple of times. Of course if you're interested in writing or have a love of words, then this is definitely the film for you.

It's an uplifting story with haunting elements which never strays into melodrama. In one vital emotional scene, much of the impact comes from leaving things to our imagination. A story about two individuals, Finding Forrester is an exploration of principles, determination and commitment.

Published January 19, 2006

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CAST: Sean Connery, Robert Brown, F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin, Busta Rhymes

DIRECTOR: Gus Van Sant

SCRIPT: Mike Rich


EDITOR: Valdis Oskarsdóttir

MUSIC: Bill Brown


RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes



DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 7, 2005

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