Finding Forrester

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Finding Forrester was just another one of those movies. There’s a boy, and there’s an old man. The old man has something to teach that boy, but, unfortunately, he’s a hermit in training. Therefore – obviously – the boy hounds the old man, stalks him, and finally barges straight into his home. And instead of promptly kicking him out and calling 911, the old man decides that this, for some strange, unknown reason, is a sign of character.

The movie was slow, and the characters not very well developed. Forrester, for example, is not explained as anything other than the Pulitzer Prize-winner for Avalon Landing, who has since refused to publish anything else. Anytime the movie begins to show his reasoning for this, or why he is such a recluse, he promptly brushes the questioner off and we return to the safer storylines, where he’s just another teacher and Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown, brilliant debut) is just another student, no matter how gifted.

There were, however, some underlying themes that were, if not well presented, at least moderately well thought out. One of these is that William Forrester (Sean Connery, amazing Irish brogue) never gives Jamal anything. Instead, he leads Jamal on a chase to find what he needs for himself. From the beginning of the movie, Forrester does not teach Jamal to write, he tells Jamal to write. And at the end of the movie, the manuscript is not given to Jamal, it is left for Jamal to find.

Unfortunately, everything else was just plain underdeveloped. For example, what happened to Claire (Anna Paquin, not bad)? From the moment Jamal enters the private school, Claire is constantly by his side. They flirt, she confides in him, and he gives her expensive gifts. They seem to have developed a tight camaraderie, then, all of a sudden, Claire is no longer a character. We see her holding Jamal’s hand in the classroom. We see her smile at him. But she has no dialogue, and there is no progression of their relationship.

The film, however clichéd, was not completely dreadful. If one thinks about it, one can find in it underlying messages, good or bad. It is possible that it can be read into far too much. For example, there are no strong female characters. Why? It can be interpreted in many different ways, such as, for example, the absence of a role for females in life, schooling, or writing.
Predictable, with far too many undeveloped ideas, this film nevertheless, had more than adequate acting and a good, if overused, moral. I give it 2.2 stars out of five.





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