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Overall Rating
3.76

Awesome: 25.66%
Worth A Look42.48%
Just Average: 17.7%
Pretty Crappy: 10.62%
Sucks: 3.54%

8 reviews, 65 user ratings


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Finding Forrester
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by EricDSnider

"I'm finding 'Forrester' to be rather derivative of 800,000 other movies."
3 stars

Director Gus Van Sant, apparently still reeling over the misguided disaster that was his 1998 "Psycho" remake, has decided to play it safe with "Finding Forrester." And play it safe he does, taking no risks whatsoever.

What could be more sure-fire? "Finding Forrester" has a feel-good, seize-the-day story, solid performances by a venerable screen legend (Sean Connery) and a daring new-comer (Rob Brown), a dastardly villain who gets his come-uppance, and a message of triumph against adversity.

What it doesn't have is a single idea that is original, newly conceived, or even smartly repackaged. "Finding Forrester" is sneaky about its theft from every other movie that runs along these lines -- that is, nothing smacks you in the face as being too recognizable -- but when it's over, you're left with a sense of, "Haven't I seen that before?"

Not any of this will matter, and maybe it shouldn't. Despite being unoriginal, the movie is polished and intelligent, and there's no denying it pleases the crowds.

The story is of 16-year-old Bronx resident Jamal Wallace (Brown), whose test scores indicate he's much smarter than he lets on in class. He doesn't find acceptance among his peers by being smart, after all; he finds it by excelling on the basketball court, which he does.

On a dare, he sneaks into the apartment of a guy they call The Window. The Window is a recluse whose flat overlooks the playground Jamal and his friends play at; his moniker comes from his habit of peering down at the boys through his curtains. Jamal is startled by The Window and flees the apartment, leaving his backpack behind. (Why did he takes his backpack in the first place? So he could leave it behind, apparently, as it figures heavily into the plot.)

When his bag is tossed down from the window the following afternoon, Jamal discovers that The Window has read his notebooks and critiqued his creative writing. Seeking further insight and glad to have someone who knows what he's talking about as a mentor, Jamal ventures to the apartment, in the daylight this time, and soon the two are friends.

It isn't long before Jamal discovers who The Window is: He's William Forrester (Connery), the author whose first novel, in 1954, won the Pulitzer -- and who hasn't written since then. Forrester promises to help Jamal with his writing if Jamal promises not to tell anyone about Forrester, or pry into the details of his former life.

Jamal gets a scholarship to a fancy-pants private school in Manhattan, where a saucy and mildly cynical girl named Claire (Anna Paquin) shows him around, and where he runs afoul of snobby literature professor Crawford (F. Murray Abraham), who thinks Jamal's work must be plagiarized to be as good as it is.

It's all well and good. The scenes in which Forrester rhapsodizes about writing technique should stir the blood in any would-be author's veins, and Connery and Brown have a surprisingly good rapport. (The old man hasn't been this likable and vulnerable in years.)

But darn it, where's the imagination? Forrester's reasons for becoming a hermit are so predictable and dull as to be laughable, and the tacked-on post-script to the film is entirely pointless. For a movie in which plagiarism is so important a plot point, it sure doesn't score too highly on the creativity scale.

Audiences don't care whether they've seen something before. That truism, coupled with the film's undeniable feel-good quality and fine performances, will make it a bigger hit than it deserves to be.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4615&reviewer=247
originally posted: 01/11/01 20:30:20
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User Comments

2/27/14 Madame de Merteuil Great movie about being a writer. Both leads are fab 5 stars
12/11/13 HMM hmm...hmm...well...what i think...what i think is that...i dont...i...I didnt watch it 1 stars
8/09/09 Jeff Wilder Connery good. But too commercial for Gus Van Sant. ANY director could've made this. 3 stars
3/02/08 ladavies great performances, well done 4 stars
2/17/08 Pamela White Connery makes the movie 5 stars
11/14/06 g money this movie is the opposite of bad 5 stars
11/10/06 Alli very good movie..jamal is quite the hottie 4 stars
10/12/06 The Cat definitley one of the best feel good movies released in 2000 5 stars
9/30/06 Tamara D. Leonard This is such a terrific movie. Such a feel good movie for me. 5 stars
12/20/05 nicole i want questions from the movie 1 stars
12/10/05 Quigley this story is really moving. connery was amazing, as was brown. totally worth seeing 5 stars
12/05/05 Katelyn It was amazing 4 stars
8/22/05 carissa it was kinda boring not my type of movie 3 stars
7/30/04 DM Corny and feels too much like "Good Will Hunting" 3 stars
6/20/04 venu Connery seems to get better with age...worth a watch 4 stars
6/13/04 MyGreenBed What a mess. This is the type of movie that insults my intelligence. Gus moved on, luckily. 1 stars
1/29/04 El Jono Connery and Brown are good, but Van Sant obviously thinks we, the audience, are pretty dumb 3 stars
11/01/03 Kate Mason i love it - beautiful cinematography and perfect script. 5 stars
11/15/02 Big Ted Connery's Oscar nod? 4 stars
7/10/02 Flounder It is a very heartfelt performance by Connery proving that he still has it. 4 stars
6/27/02 hjhbh gcfnnnnnfgcxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 5 stars
6/18/02 karen very good 5 stars
6/01/02 Chris This is a intellagant drama that has great preformances and a heartfelt storyline. 5 stars
2/21/02 Jeff good story but too long and often boring 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Good movie. Book was better. 4 stars
1/27/02 Rosie Finch Whackily interesting. But that's a YELLOW Warbler. To see Conn. W. out apt. window unherdof 4 stars
12/24/01 ryan above average movie w/ best basketball scenes since blue chips 4 stars
12/03/01 phil m. afficiando Agree with the detractors, but doggone it I liked it., so call me Mr. Gullible Sappy. 4 stars
11/29/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Sean Connery is an awesome actor. That's like the biggest reason I went to see it. 4 stars
8/28/01 hilary worth a look 4 stars
8/16/01 hilary worth a look 4 stars
8/14/01 hilary average 3 stars
7/28/01 Carolina Moos the best movie ever 5 stars
6/08/01 Girl 9 it was okay, but just seemed to drag on and on... 3 stars
6/03/01 Doug Smith Outstanding look at writing in specific and communication in general. 4 stars
5/29/01 Lauren It was awesome! It was inspiring and very clean! I LOVED IT! 5 stars
4/29/01 Leong Chee Hoe Best movie I have ever seen. It knock on your soul. 5 stars
4/28/01 Fred Worm The ending brought a tear to me eye. 4 stars
3/05/01 Bud Very good movie. We need more films that examine positive relationships. 5 stars
3/04/01 derek deems another 'good-feeling' movie which exactly followed the mold of a 'good-feeling' movie 3 stars
2/27/01 Anne predictable but enjoyable 3 stars
2/26/01 Matthew Bartley Nothing new but it's really well done 5 stars
2/26/01 Olga Tsirikidze I just love it!!!!!!!! 4 stars
2/23/01 Brad Sean Connery is Fucking Awesome and so is the movie 5 stars
2/20/01 edge The best movie i have seen in awhile 4 stars
2/12/01 bob buttons whenever you get some from a girl in a movie, that movie is awesome. 5 stars
2/11/01 anonymous its a one out of hundred special movie!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/08/01 anonymous very moving!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/07/01 anonymous a must see!!! 5 stars
2/04/01 Katie This was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Definitely see it. 5 stars
1/31/01 dcrockett Excellent - Left me wanting more. 5 stars
1/29/01 Charlie Hatch Great story, much better than most reviewers would lead you to beleive. 5 stars
1/28/01 James Teal Sean Connery is Brilliant, keeps your intrest the whole time. 4 stars
1/27/01 R Kramer Great!! You can't miss this movie. 5 stars
1/16/01 Kevin Good Movie!!! Not connerys best but all the same. A 5 stars
1/14/01 Diehard Quite strong performances from the actors, neat twists 4 stars
1/14/01 MAXOMENOS See this movie as if your life depended on it 5 stars
1/14/01 Lynnaea Aspiring authors will appreciate the authenticity of the comments about writing. 4 stars
1/11/01 ray really, if it doesn't win an oscar for something, I'll be pissed... 5 stars
1/11/01 Boy In The Designer Bubble I saw this movie. Forrester was never lost, and 007 never offered him a martini. 1 stars
1/07/01 Trikster Predictable,yes. Trailer gave alot away,yes. But, at the end of the film I still sat in awe 5 stars
1/04/01 Philm Phreak Been there, done that - STILL liked it! 4 stars
12/27/00 Jon Connery and Brown have great chemistry. And Anna Paquin is delightfully sexy. Great film! 5 stars
12/26/00 Clarance Great story, relatively predictable, but none the less great acting! and great theme! 4 stars
12/25/00 poetchuck Good characters, enjoyable time 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Jan-2001 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Mar-2001 (M)


Directed by
  Gus Van Sant

Written by
  Mike Rich

Cast
  Sean Connery
  F. Murray Abraham
  Anna Paquin
  Michael Pitt
  Busta Rhymes
  Joey Buttafuoco



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