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Finding Forrester
Review by Sidrah Zaheer
Director: Gus Van Sant
Cast: Sean Connery, Rob Brown, F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin, Busta Rhymes, April Grace, Michael Pitt

This drama movie was directed by twice Academy Award nominated director, Gus Van Sant, who received Berlin Film Festival Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas for it. The movie was produced by Sean Connery himself, who also has a starring role in the movie, along with Lawrence Mark and Rhonda Tollefson. The movie was written by Mike Rich as his first screenplay. He is now famous for writing mostly sports-related movies. The movie also stars Anna Paquin, Michael Pitt, April Grace and Busta Rhymes in supporting roles. The movie was distributed by Columbia Pictures and was released on December 19, 2000. Its running time is 136 minutes approximately. It was made on a budget of $43 million and earned gross revenue of $80,049,764. It has 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 124 reviews that were counted and has 7.2 star rating on IMDb . The movie opened to mostly positive reviews and was even considered as one of the top ten movies made that year by some movie critics.

The movie stars Rob Brown as the main protagonist of the story, who plays the character of Jamal Wallace. In the movie, Jamal is shown to be a bit of a recluse himself, who likes to socialize only when he plays basketball. But there is also a writing talent in him, which he loves and wants to improve on. To harness his writing skills, he by chance suddenly befriends an American novelist by the name of William Forrester, the character played by Sean Connery in the movie. Through his persistent help Jamal learns of his weak points in writing and shows an improvement.

Since nobody knows much about this one-time novelist, who has not written again after the success of his one and only novel, William asks Jamal to give him his words of not revealing his identity to anyone and Jamal agrees. He gets invited to join a prestigious private high school because of his talent both at the basketball court and his writing skills. There in the new school, his English Literature professor, played by F. Murray Abraham, is not very fond of Jamal for very obvious reasons of him showing the teacher down every time with his grasp on the course he is teaching and also because he is a black boy from the Bronx.

Somehow Jamal ends up being so inspired by William Forrester that he rewrites one of his essays thinking that it is unpublished before, which is not the case. The English Literature professor charges him of plagiarism. To remove the charges he asks that he shows permission from William Forrester himself giving him the copyright of his work or that he has been much influenced by his work that it has crept into Jamal's writings. Jamal refuses to do both because in that case he has to have some contact with the writer himself and this will force him to reveal that he knows William Forrester. His promise to William will be broken in this situation, so he keeps quiet.

The movie shows these two characters of both Jamal Wallace and William Forrester as only different in their ages, but not much in their attitudes. Both have the conviction in them and a determined outlook on life. And it is how the subtle likeness grows between these two characters who were intimidated of each other at first that makes this movie worth watching. The movie shows this beautifully and especially focuses on what is it from the inside that takes to be a writer who can put his thoughts as it is on the page and inspire others. The character of William Forrester seems to be based on J. D. Salinger's career, who gained success from his first work but then became reclusive. One of the lines spoken by Sean Connery's character, “You're the man now, dog” has inspired the title of the internet memetic site The movie is worth watching and one that stays in our minds even after a long time.