Retro Review: Finding Forrester

The director of “Good Will Hunting” returns to the mind of teacher as he tries to bridge the gap between displaced African-American teen and a reclusive hermit.

Finding Forrester stars Sean Connery as a reluctant and closed off man (or hermit) who wants nothing to do with the outside world. All he likes is his books and his privacy.

Unbeknownst to the hermit, a boy outside his window is being confronted by some friends.

The friends dare the boy to break into the man’s apartment and steal something to prove he did. If he does he is one of them. Stupidly, the boy agrees.

In that one incident two worlds collide and the outside world sends a fraction of light deep into the hermit’s secluded world. To put it bluntly the man chases the boy out of his apartment. While the boy is fleeing the scene he realizes he left his schoolbag in the apartment.

The next day while walking home from school, the boy is nearly hit as his schoolbag comes crashing to the street from a window above. The boy picks it up and searches it to see if anything is missing. The only thing disturbed is his journal which has been corrected and noted just like a teacher. This little act brings the boy to enlist the hermit as his aid in becoming a better writer.

Finding Forrester should be seen by all who have ever dreamed of writing or sculpting the minds of our future writers. Director Gus Van Sant believes in the material and that passion really shines. Coupled with that passion is one of Sean Connery’s greatest performances. Connery’s hermit is well worthy of an Oscar nod. It truly is amazing.

I also liked the inter-racial teen relationship between the boy and Anna Paquin. It was nice to see something of this magnitude not fall into the typical clichés of a movie relationship like this.

With all Forrester’s evident magic there are two tiny flaws. These flaws lie in the Connery character’s arch-nemesis played by a very dull F. Murray Abraham. The whole Abraham character is a cliché. Abraham really wants to fail the boy and since the boy is now the protégé of Connery its up to Connery to stop his rival. This whole concept is mundane.

The second flaw in the Abraham character is the actor’s performance. I mean this actor was marvelous in “Amadeus” but here it looks like he sucked a lemon before every shot. It’s a shame. I would have liked to see a real passion-filled square-off scene between Connery and Abraham.

Aside from that Forrester is inspirational and one of the best films this winter.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

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