Saturday, June 7

Finding Forrester by Mike Rich, Directed by Gus Van Sant

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer purchased this film. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author, director, or producers. Cover art is copyright of Columbia Pictures and is used solely as an aide to the review.

Acting on a dare, Jamal Wallace breaks into the apartment of "The Window," a figure of local urban myth. What he finds there is William Forrester, a reclusive author who only ever published a single prize-winning novel.

With the deal not to tell anyone about him, William promises to help Jamal with his own writing. Jamal has recently been accepted into a private school, for both his academic and athletic promise, but he is still met with adversary from his fellow students and teachers.

Can Jamal prove himself to be more than an athlete? Will William be able to face the world beyond his window?

'Finding Forrester' has a wonderful balance of wit and poignancy, and has been one of my favourite films ever since its theatrical release in 2000.  It is not only a pleasure to watch, but leaves you thinking long after the credits have rolled. I have been watching and contemplating for over a decade, and my outlook on writing and life is all the better for it.

Jamal (played by Rob Brown in his stunning debut) is a brilliant protagonist. A teen with a talent for basketball and a passion for literature, his drive to pursue what he loves is inspirational. He not only excels at expressing himself on paper, but is also an excellent conversationalist. He is constantly judged based on his appearance and background, and disregarded academically due to his athletic abilities. Yet he continually challenges prejudice with his knowledge and ingenuity.

William (Sean Connery) is both a mentor and counterpart to Jamal. He challenges Jamal with conversation and writing, pushing him to approach things in different ways. While Jamal likes to fill a silence, William relishes in taking his moments and choosing his words. His character also introduced me to some of the best writing advice, particularly, "The first key to writing write. Not to think."

Just as William helps Jamal to improve his writing, Jamal encourages William to once again open himself up to the world outside his window. William's comfort in his own space, and his reluctance to extend past his own boundaries, is definitely something I could relate to, even if he lives his confinement to the extreme. It reminded me that I need to immerse myself in the world outside my own imagination, if I want to grow as an individual and a writer.

Finding Forrester is a film for anyone who has ever felt restricted by the expectations of others, and experienced the urge to express themselves against doubt and derogatory assumptions. It is a must watch for those who find power in words.


Emma Michaels said...

LOVE Finding Forester. Such a phenomenal movie. Haven't seen it in a while. I think I might rewatch it. I remember watching it probably 7 times in theaters with my grandmother when it first came out and we thoroughly enjoyed it every time. :D

Keri Payton said...

You must rewatch it. I enjoy it more every time that I do!