Finding Forrester

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Finding Forrester
Finding forrester.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGus Van Sant
Produced bySean Connery
Laurence Mark
Written byMike Rich
StarringSean Connery
Rob Brown
F. Murray Abraham
Anna Paquin
CinematographyHarris Savides
Editing byValdís Óskarsdóttir
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • December 22, 2000 (2000-12-22)
Running time136 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$43,000,000 (est.)[1]
Box office$80,701,064[2]
 
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Finding Forrester
Finding forrester.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGus Van Sant
Produced bySean Connery
Laurence Mark
Written byMike Rich
StarringSean Connery
Rob Brown
F. Murray Abraham
Anna Paquin
CinematographyHarris Savides
Editing byValdís Óskarsdóttir
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • December 22, 2000 (2000-12-22)
Running time136 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$43,000,000 (est.)[1]
Box office$80,701,064[2]

Finding Forrester is a 2000 American drama film written by Mike Rich and directed by Gus Van Sant. A black American teenager, Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown), is invited to attend a prestigious private high school. By chance, Jamal befriends a reclusive writer, William Forrester (Sean Connery), through whom he refines his natural talent for writing and comes to terms with his identity. Anna Paquin, F. Murray Abraham, Michael Pitt, April Grace, Naturi Naughton and Busta Rhymes star in supporting roles.

Plot[edit]

Sixteen-year-old Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) plays basketball with his friends in New York. A recluse, William Forrester (Sean Connery), lives on the top floor of the building across from the court. The kids regularly notice him watching them. One of the boys dares Jamal to sneak into the apartment and retrieve an item. Jamal takes a letter opener only to be surprised by Forrester and inadvertently leaves his backpack behind. Forrester later drops Jamal's backpack onto the street. Jamal goes home to find that Forrester wrote notes in his journals. Jamal returns to Forrester's apartment and asks him to read more of his writing. Forrester tells him to begin with 5,000 words on why he should "stay the fuck out of my home", which Jamal completes and leaves on the doorstep the following day.

Jamal returns the next day, and is invited inside. Forrester knows that a representative from Mailor-Callow, a prestigious private school, offered Jamal a full academic scholarship, partly for his skill on the basketball court and partly for his test scores. Jamal learns that Forrester is the author of a famous book, Avalon Landing, and that he has never published another. Forrester agrees to help Jamal with his writing as long as Jamal does not ask about his personal life.

Jamal's writing improves, which causes Robert Crawford (F. Murray Abraham), a professor at Mailor-Callow, to suspect plagiarism.

Jamal convinces Forrester to attend a game at Madison Square Garden, but Forrester cannot handle the crowds and has an anxiety attack. Jamal takes him instead to see Yankee Stadium late at night after everyone has gone where Forrester tells Jamal details about his family, which explains the basis of his book, specifically his brother's post-war trauma, alcoholism and Forrester's indirect role that led to his death. He also explains how the subsequent deaths of his parents soon after affected him and led to his becoming a recluse.

Forrester gives Jamal some of his own essays to rewrite, with the condition that Jamal is not to take them from the apartment. Nonetheless, Jamal submits a work that Forrester started (the title and first paragraph) but Jamal wrote to the school writing contest. Crawford finds the parallels with Forrester's piece and brings Jamal up on plagiarism charges. Jamal must either cite Forrester's work or prove he had Forrester's permission to use the material. He refuses to do either to keep his promise to Forrester. Crawford demands that Jamal write an apology letter to his classmates and read it in front of the class. Jamal tells Forrester what he has done and asks him to defend him, but Forrester is angry at Jamal for breaking his promise about taking the work out of the apartment. Jamal accuses Forrester of being scared and selfish for not helping him.

Jamal is told by the school that they will drop the plagiarism charges if he wins them the state championship. Jamal misses two free throw shots at the end of the game, costing the team the championship. Jamal writes an essay to Forrester that discusses the gift of friendship. Jamal's brother (Busta Rhymes) finds the essay and gives it to Forrester.

Jamal attends the school contest. During the readings by other students, Forrester appears, announces himself and receives permission to read an essay that draws overwhelming applause from the students. As Crawford is praising the work, Forrester acknowledges his friendship with Jamal and reveals that the essay he had just read was written by Jamal. He also explains that Jamal had written the contest essay using the published title and first paragraph with permission. Crawford adamantly states that this will not change any of the board's decisions. The board overrules him and drops the plagiarism charges, readmitting Jamal's entry to the competition. After the competition, Forrester thanks Jamal for his friendship and tells him of his desire to visit Scotland where he was born.

A year later, Forrester's attorney (Matt Damon) meets with Jamal and tells him that Forrester died of cancer, which he had been diagnosed with before he met Jamal. The lawyer gives Jamal the keys to Forrester's apartment and a letter in which Forrester thanks Jamal for helping him rekindle his desire to live. The package contains the manuscript for Forrester's second novel for which Jamal is expected to write the foreword.

Production[edit]

New York poet Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle provided several notebooks' worth of intense handwriting to portray Forrester's work in the film. Principal photography was shot entirely in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn (many Mailor Academy scenes were filmed at Regis High School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan), with some scenery and pick-up shots made in suburban Toronto, Ontario during post-production. Parts of the film were also shot in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.[3]

Rob Brown auditioned for the film, hoping to make enough money to pay for his $300 cell phone bill. Gus Van Sant had him read a second time and then cast him as one of the leads.[4]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film received limited release on December 22, 2000 in 200 theaters, grossing USD $701,207 in the opening weekend. It later received commercial release where it opened at #1 in 2001 theaters, grossing $11,112,139 in the opening weekend.[5] It went on to gross $51,804,714 in the United States and Canada and $28,245,050 elsewhere for a worldwide total of $80,049,764.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Upon its initial release, Finding Forrester received mostly positive reviews. It garnered two thumbs up from Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper, with Roeper considering it one of the 10 best films of the year. In late 2009, Roeper included the film at number 64 on his list of the 100 best movies of the decade.[6]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes give the film a score of 73% based on review from 124 critics, with an average score of 6.5/10.[7] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 62 based on 27 reviews.[8]

Music[edit]

One of the tracks that appears in the film and is not on the soundtrack is the one played during Forrester's bike ride. The song is the "Gassenhauer" track from Schulwerk by Carl Orff. It was arranged and produced by Bill Brown.[9]

Track listing[10]
  1. "Recollections" (Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul)
  2. "Little Church" (Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Grossman, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Keith Jarrett, John McLaughlin)
  3. "Black Satin" (David Creamer, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, James Mtume, Badal Roy, Collin Walcott)
  4. "Under a Golden Sky" (Bill Frisell)
  5. "Happy House" (Ed Blackwell, Bobby Bradford, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, Dewey Redman)
  6. "Over the Rainbow (Photo Book)" (Bill Frisell)
  7. "Lonely Fire" [Excerpt] (Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Dave Holland, Bennie Maupin, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul)
  8. "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole)
  9. "Vonetta" (Ron Carter, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams)
  10. "Coffaro's Theme" (Curtis Fowlkes, Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, Ron Miles)
  11. "Foreigner in a Free Land" (Ornette Coleman, The London Symphony Orchestra, David Measham)
  12. "Beautiful E." (Joey Baron, Kermit Driscoll, Bill Frisell, Hank Roberts)
  13. "In a Silent Way [DJ Cam Remix]" (Miles Davis)

Notes[edit]

In the film, Forrester is said to have won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. There was no Pulitzer awarded for that category in 1954.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Numbers". 
  2. ^ a b Finding Forrester from Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "Finding Forrester (2000) - Filming locations". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  4. ^ "BBC Films Interview". 20 February 2001. 
  5. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181536/business
  6. ^ Roeper, Richard (December 31, 2009). "The 100 best movies of the decade.". Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Finding Forrester". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  8. ^ "Finding Forrester Reviews". CBS Interactive. Metacritic. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ Bill Brown Composer - Film & Television Music Samples from BillBrownMusic.com
  10. ^ Finding Forrester Soundtrack from Amazon.com
  11. ^ "1954 Winners". www.pulitzer.org. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 

External links[edit]