Finding Forrester

2000

Finding Forrester

Critics Consensus

Despite the predictability of its plot and its similarity to Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester has an honest, solid feel to it and good rapport between Connery and Brown.

74%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 127

79%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 81,976
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Finding Forrester Photos

Movie Info

Four decades ago, William Forrester won a Pulitzer Prize for his classic novel. That was the last time the world heard of him. Now a recluse in Manhattan, his passion for literature is awakened by Jamal a 16-year old basketball player recruited by an elite Manhattan prep school for his brilliance both on and off the court. When Jamal sneaks into Forrester's apartment, he accidentally leaves behind his backpack, full of his precious writings. Finding these, Forrester is opened to a new world, one that gives him a reason to look past his prejudice and a reason to emerge from his self-imposed solitude. Forrester becomes his first fan and opens Jamal's eyes to a world of academia beyond the South Bronx apartment he shares with his adoring mother and brother. Though at times contentious, Forrester befriends Jamal and becomes his mentor. They spend many hours in Forrester's dusty apartment laughing, learning, debating and dedicating themselves to the love that binds them - the written word. Forrester convinces Jamal to enter the school's writing contest, but their friendship and loyalty is tested when Jamal must face an accusation of plagiarism - alone.

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Cast

Sean Connery
as William Forrester
Rob Brown (VI)
as Jamal Wallace
F. Murray Abraham
as Professor Robert Crawford
Busta Rhymes
as Terrell
Michael Nouri
as Dr. Spence
April Grace
as Ms. Joyce
Michael Pitt
as Coleridge
Matthew Noah Word
as Coach Garrick
Matt Malloy
as Bradley
Matt Damon
as Sanderson
Capital Jay
as Opposing Player
Cassandra Kubinski
as Claire's Friend
Sophia Wu
as Librarian
Gerry Rosenthal
as Student Speaker
Tim "Fuzzy" Hall
as Student Manager
Tom Mullica
as Old Money Man
David Lee Madison
as Kid in the Hall
Joey Buttafuoco
as Night Man
Jamie McCaig
as Referee
Daniel Rodríguez
as Hallway Boy
Samuel Tyson
as Creston Player
Gregory Singer
as Violinist
Dean Pratt
as Trumpet Player
Kerry MacKillop
as Trumpet Player
Harvey Tibbs
as Trombone Player
Jack Stuckey
as Sax Player
Mark Lopeman
as Sax Player
Mark Phaneuf
as Sax Player
Conal Fowkes
as Piano Player
Matt Munisteri
as Guitarist
John Meyers
as Drummer
Ron Morgan
as Mailor Priest
Allison Folland
as Jeopardy Contestant
Alex Trebek
as Himself
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Critic Reviews for Finding Forrester

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (33)

Audience Reviews for Finding Forrester

  • May 31, 2014
    I'm sorry, but I just can't help but think of "Forrester Gump", which is wrong, because no matter how much he ran, Forrester appears to have been found. Yes, people, to continue my lame puns, after all of this "Good Will Hunting", it would appear as though we finally found Forrester. That's a little joke for Gus Van Sant fans out there, seeing as how they seem to be the only ones who remember this film, but I am kind of serious, because, like "Good Will Hunting", this film is about a humble, but troubled older man who helps a promising, but disturbed lad realize his potential as a genius. Well, I don't know if you could call this a sequel of sorts, because "Good Will Hunting" was white something fierce, whereas this film is so the opposite of that that it's about a black kid, and actually has the audacity to give Busta Rhymes a supporting role. On top of all of that, I mean, come on, the mentor in question is Sean Connery, who may as well be black, because he's such a notorious player with all of his smoothness, or rather, "shmoothnesh". Forget the titular character of William Forrester, because I think I'm more baffled at how they found Connery himself, or at least at how they were able to put Connery in a good, non-"James Bond" film. However, with that said, I don't know if it's quite "Good Will Hunting" good, for a number of reasons. It's a relatively long while before such major characters as Sean Connery's titular William Forrester character comes into play, and focal inconsistencies don't end there, peaking at that point, sure, but convoluting narrative structure throughout the course of this layered drama, thanks largely to the film's spending a touch too much time focusing on each individual layer. An intimate drama which flirts with a relatively whopping runtime of 140 minutes, this film, no matter how compelling, outstays its welcome, and it really begins to try your patience once you begin to get used to Gus Van Sant's thoughtful directorial pacing, which then devolves to limpness that all but bores you while you await a height in storytelling. Of course, once these heights come into play, they are themselves a little problematic, placing certain cheesy and far-fetched themes in a dramatic context that results in a certain sentimentality which kind of betrays the drama that is generally realized in its bite. A no point is the film ever all that corny, but honestly, it can get a little overblown and ambitious with its dramatics, almost in a dramatically lazy fashion that reinforces a predictability which is established in the first place by conventions. I suppose a sense of inspiration within Van Sant's direction gives the film something of a refreshing feel, but once you cut through the veil, it's hard to deny that this story is hardly anything new, even for Van Sant, being not much more than an urban/white savior answer to "Good Will Hunting" that takes tropes both from the Van Sant classic and a number of other urban dramas, until it feels hopelessly derivative on the whole, no matter how hard Van Sant tries, to an extent that is. Like I said, there are lazy spots in Van Sant's storytelling, and they shine a light on shortcomings in the narrative itself, until the final product finds its reward value threatened. Of course, it is ultimately firmly secured by inspiration that outweighs the shortcomings, anchored by good tastes, even in music. Deciding to give Danny Elfman a break for a while, ostensibly because he didn't want to run the risk of drawing yet more comparisons between this film and "Good Will Hunting", Gus Van Sant plays with an unoriginal soundtrack that recycles modernist minimal compositions and even a couple free jazz pieces which do anything from liven up entertainment value to compliment dramatic tenderness in a manner that is genuinely unique, and therefore helps in compensating for the lack of uniqueness to the narrative. The film is rather held back by its story's sheer familiarity, which you have time to ponder upon due to the draggy telling of such a story concept, and yet, no matter how familiar, this subject matter is worthy as a tasteful and surprisingly not-too cloying portrait on working to better yourself, both on the path to a new life and in the twilight of life, whose effectiveness can be made or broken by its interpretation. Mike Rich's script is overblown, both with its histrionics and, of course, with its structure, which is often uneven and overblown, yet still pretty tightly extensive in a lot of ways, particularly when it comes to characterization that is well-rounded in crafting derivative, but intriguing characters, brought to life by strong performances. These performances are underwritten in a drama this minimalist, but just about everyone plays his or her part as best he or she can, with leads Rob Brown and Sean Connery carrying the film, not just with charisma and nuance, but with a thoroughly endearing chemistry that helps in defining this intimate character study. Brown and Connery take this drama with subtlety and grace, and that's more than you can say about many of the storytelling attributes of this drama, but not too much more than what you can say than most storytelling touches, from Van Sant, that is. Working with a conceptually sensitive drama, Van Sant holds the power to either drive the film as consistently compelling, or cut it short of realized, and while Van Sant stands to have a more comfortable grip on this sometimes sentimental affair, his steady and thoughtful approach, more than it is slow, is charming, with a tastefulness that allows you to get a feel for the weight of this intimate endeavor, particularly when backed by highlights in dramatic kick that move. I suppose the film stands to be more consistent in his realization, but the fact of the matter is that this is a worthy story, and Van Sant knows it, doing what he can to craft a generally rewarding character study. In closing, uneven focus and pacing all but aimlessly drag the film along a path so sentimental and formulaic that it threatens the final product, but on the backs of a solid unoriginal score, well-characterized script, strong acting and chemistry, - particularly between Rob Brown and Sean Connery - and tasteful direction, all behind worthy subject matter, "Finding Forrester" compels and rewards as an urban melodrama on embracing the opportunities handed to you in life. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2013
    Very cool film. Maybe just a bit longer than it needs to be (I could've used a few less basketball scenes personally). But still a really cool movie. The cast is great, especially Rob Brown, and Sean Connery is fascinating to watch, as always. Heartwarming and entertaining. Kind of feels like an unofficial sequel to Good Will Hunting, which Gus Van Sant also directed.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2010
    Gus Van Sant's compelling drama that centers on the friendship of a Bronx high school student named Jamal Wallace, marvelously played by Rob Brown, in an impressive screen debut, who meets a strange neighborhood resident, a famous reclusive novelist William Forrester, played magnificently by Sir Sean Connery, in a career-crowning performance, who has been hiding from the world since his first burst of fame. Forrester becomes young Wallace's mentor and the path that their unorthodox relationship creates for greater self-discovery, Forrester rediscovers his will to live when Wallace happens to step into his life, while Wallace is able to learn that he's more than just a basketball player with Forrester's help. Basketball is secondary to Finding Forrester's overall goal, which instead chooses to focus on the value of friends in unlikely places. Astute direction by Van Sant, with a superb supporting performance by F. Murray Abraham as a jealous professor. A wonderful adult drama.
    Danny R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2010
    A bit slow and dreary, still filled with life and literary shenanigans! You're the man now dog (Scottish accent).
    Lenny M Super Reviewer

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