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
Starring
Music byTerence Blanchard
CinematographyHarris Savides
Edited byValdís Óskarsdóttir
Production
company
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • December 22, 2000 (2000-12-22)
Running time
136 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$43 million[1]
Box office$80 million[2]

Finding Forrester is a 2000 American drama film written by Mike Rich and directed by Gus Van Sant. In the film, a black 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 talent for writing and comes to terms with his identity. Anna Paquin, F. Murray Abraham, Michael Pitt, Glenn Fitzgerald, April Grace, Busta Rhymes and Charles Bernstein star in supporting roles.

Although the film is not based on a true story, film critics have compared the character portrayed by Connery with real life writer J. D. Salinger.[3][4] Connery later acknowledged that the inspiration for his role was indeed Salinger.[5]

Plot[edit]

In the Bronx, sixteen-year-old Jamal Wallace downplays his potential as a gifted student, preferring to play basketball with his friends. They are watched by William Forrester, a recluse who never leaves his apartment and has become a neighborhood urban legend. Dared by his friends, Jamal sneaks into the apartment, but is surprised by Forrester and flees, leaving his backpack behind. Forrester later drops the backpack onto the street, having edited Jamal’s personal writings. Jamal asks him to read more of his writing, but Forrester angrily tells him to begin with 5,000 words on why he should "stay out of my home." Jamal does so, leaving the essay on Forrester’s doorstep, and is invited inside.

Due to his high test scores, Jamal is offered a full academic scholarship and transfers to Mailor-Callow, a prestigious Manhattan private school, with the understanding that he will join the basketball team. Jamal learns that Forrester is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a famous novel, Avalon Landing, but never published another book. Forrester agrees to help Jamal with his writing as long as he does not ask about Forrester’s life or tell anyone about him. They bond as Forrester gives Jamal his own work to rewrite, on the condition that their writing never leaves the apartment. Jamal's writing improves, leading one of his professors, Robert Crawford, to suspect him of plagiarism.

Jamal befriends his classmate Claire and excels on the basketball court, but is alienated from his old friends. He convinces Forrester to attend a game with him at Madison Square Garden, but they become separated and Forrester, overwhelmed by the crowd, has an anxiety attack. With his brother Terrell’s help, Jamal takes Forrester onto the empty field at Yankee Stadium, where an emotional Forrester reveals he often came with his brother. He tells Jamal about his brother's trauma returning home from World War II – the basis for his book – and how Forrester's indirect role in his death, followed by the deaths of their parents, led him to become a recluse.

Still suspicious, Crawford forces Jamal to complete his next assignment in his presence. Running out of time to enter the school’s essay competition, Jamal submits one of Forrester's exercises to the contest, and humiliates Crawford during class. He is called before Crawford and the school board, who reveal that Forrester had published the article upon which Jamal based his essay. Asked to prove he had the author’s permission to use his material, Jamal keeps his promise to Forrester and says nothing. Crawford demands he read a letter of apology to his classmates, but Jamal refuses, endangering his scholarship. Telling Forrester what he has done, Jamal asks his friend to defend him, but Forrester is angry Jamal betrayed his trust by taking their writing, and is still unwilling to leave his home.

The school assures Jamal that the plagiarism charges will be dropped if he wins the state basketball tournament, but he deliberately misses the final free throws, costing them the championship. Watching the game on TV, Forrester manages to ride his bicycle through the city. Terrell gives him a letter from Jamal, who arrives at school for the essay contest. Forrester appears, and reads a heartfelt essay to the captive audience. He acknowledges his friendship with Jamal, whom he explains had his blessing to use his material, but Crawford declares that this will not influence the school’s decision. Forrester reveals that the essay he recited was actually the letter Jamal had written, and the headmaster overrules Crawford and clears Jamal’s name. Jamal leaves with Forrester, who plans to visit his native Scotland.

One year later, Jamal is preparing to graduate from Mailor-Callow. He meets with Sanderson, an attorney, who explains that Forrester has died, having been diagnosed with cancer before he met Jamal. Forrester has bequeathed his apartment to Jamal, with a letter thanking him for rekindling his desire to live. Jamal is also given the manuscript of Forrester's second novel, for which he is expected to write the foreword, and joins his old friends in a basketball game.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

New York poet Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle provided several notebooks' worth of poetry to display as Jamal's work. 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.[6] filming occurred April 3-June 10, 2000.

Rob Brown auditioned for the film, hoping to make enough money to pay his $300 cell phone bill. Gus Van Sant had him read a second time and then cast him as one of the leads.[7] Before Sean Connery was cast as William Forrester, Bill Murray was considered for the role.[8]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film received limited release on December 21, 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.[9] 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 generally 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.[10]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 74% based on review from 127 critics with an average score of 6.48/10. The site's consensus states: "Despite the predictability of its plot and its similarity to Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester has an honest, solid feel to it and good rapport between Connery and Brown."[11] 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.[12] CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade.[13]

"You're the man now, dog!"[edit]

The YTMND website originated in 2001 from creator Max Goldberg's original website, "yourethemannowdog.com", which he registered after seeing a trailer for "Finding Forrester" in which Connery says the deathless line.

Soundtrack[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
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 

"Coffaro's Theme" was originally composed as part of soundtrack of an Italian successful movie, La scuola.

The film's score was composed by Terence Blanchard.

The song "Gassenhauer", from Schulwerk by Carl Orff and arranged and produced by Bill Brown is a notable track that appears in the actual film but was not included on the soundtrack. It is played during Forrester's bike ride.[14]

Novelization[edit]

  • Finding Forrester: A Novel by James Ellison, Mike Rich (Screenplay by). 2000. ISBN 9781557044792

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Numbers".
  2. ^ a b "Finding Forrester". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen (19 December 2000). "Finding Forrester (2000) FILM REVIEW; Got Game. And Pen. And Mentor". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  4. ^ Travers, Peter (20 December 2000). "Finding Forrester". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  5. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (29 January 2010). "Secret J.D. Salinger Documentary & Book, Now Revealed (Mike Has Seen The Film)". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Finding Forrester (2000) - Filming locations". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  7. ^ "BBC Films Interview". 20 February 2001.
  8. ^ Locke, Greg W. (26 August 2011). "The Top 25 Roles Bill Murray Didn't Take". Archived from the original on 25 November 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  9. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181536/business
  10. ^ Roeper, Richard (December 31, 2009). "The 100 best movies of the decade". Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  11. ^ "Finding Forrester". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  12. ^ "Finding Forrester Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2018-11-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Bill Brown Composer - Film & Television Music Samples Archived 2009-04-30 at the Wayback Machine from BillBrownMusic.com

External links[edit]