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Finding Forrester
DVD disk
Oct 10, 2004 By: Dr. Drew
Finding Forrester order
Director:
Gus Van Sant

Actors:
Sean Connery
Rob Brown
F. Murray Abraham

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Through a chance encounter, a young basketball player/aspiring writer (Rob Brown) runs into a reclusive old man (Sean Connery) who turns out to be one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century. Over time, the two develop a close relationship as both slowly bring out the best in one another.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
A fine little movie from start to finish, which despite its almost two and a half hour running time, will keep you intrigued and interested the whole way through. While this one will obviously draw comparisons to the aforementioned GOOD WILL HUNTING because of its plot similarities, Finding Forrester places its emphasis on the troubled teacher, rather than the pupil. We watch as this troubled and spiteful man, over time and with proper coaxing, slowly opens his heart. Connery is great as always and gives a spirited showing, I really dug his character. Bigger props go out to newcomer Rob Brown, who given the daunting task of acting opposite a screen legend, comes through with flying colors. The kidís got talent and has no problems in carrying the most in the movie.

But while the film does a great job of slowly grooming the relationship between its two leads, it does kind of fall short with its supporting characters. I really didnít "buy" into the whole Anna Paquin pseudo romance angle, it came across as being rather forced and contrived. Busta Rhymes (when did he get a film career going? Woo Ha!) shouldíve been given much more screen time, the guy practically oozes charisma, and one of Brownís angry black classmates was completely left out of the plot and just put in for gratuitous "conflict" purposes and was completely underdeveloped. Weird. Despite those small flaws, and while itís not exactly a movie built on plot and storyline, itís a fine character study which I think most people can appreciate. Heartwarming, funny and at times somewhat inspiring. I think this one is definitely worth a look.
THE EXTRAS
While the DVD isnít labeled a special edition, it does manage to include a small handful of decent extras. First up is an "HBO: Making Of" documentary which clocks in at 15 minutes. With interviews with cast and director Van Sant, itís your typical fluff piece which instead of informing the viewer, tries to sell them on why to see the movie. Next! "Found: Rob Brown" is a 10-minute featurette which shows us how the youngster was selected to play the role of the youngster, opposite Sean Connery. After a nationwide talent search, it turns out that Brown volunteered for a secondary role just to try and pay some bills but ended up scoring the lead. Two deleted choir scenes, "Lacrymosa" (3 minutes) and "Lean on Me" (4 minutes) feature footage cut from the movie and are basically music video footage of the DeWitt Clinton High School Choir. While not exactly earth shatteringly relevant to the movie, if you dig gospel and choir music, check it out. Rounding out the extras are the original theatrical trailer as well as previews for FIRST KNIGHT, FLY AWAY HOME and TO DIE FOR. The main menu of the DVD is animated, playing clips from the flick complete with sound.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Hell, maybe Iím getting soft but Iíve always got a place in my heart for good (keyword: "good") dramas which feature solid acting and an inspiring plot. Finding Forrester manages to fulfill all of those demands with its simple yet touching story. Couple that with the fact that it also manages to included two decent featurettes and youíve got all the makings of a rock solid rental. Worth checking out.
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