Friday, December 4, 2020

Movie Throwback: Finding Forrester

2020 has been a dark year. The pandemic has meant the loss of the lives of so many, be it from the pandemic or other health causes. One death that saddened me this year is the recent passing of the original James Bond, Sean Connery. I have not seen a single Bond film that he starred in, but I was a fan of his other movies like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the film of his that I enjoyed the most, Finding Forrester.

In the movie, Connery plays writer William Forrester, who became a recluse after writing his first book, which won the Pulitzer Prize. He is befriended by a young man named Jamal (played by Rob Brown), who had been offered a scholarship to a private school for his high test scores and talent for basketball. What started as a dare between friends to check out the neighborhood recluse who never leaves his apartment becomes a friendship and a sort of mentorship between the two men.

Jamal, who learned that William was a renowned writer, promised to keep their friendship a secret in return for help with his writing, The friendship develops to the point that when Jamal invites William to a basketball game the latter ventures out of his apartment. It does not go well, and he ends up back to being a recluse in his apartment.

Later, Jamal’s professor accuses him of plagiarism. He could not believe that Jamal could write as well as he did and how his skills have improved in that time. When Jamal enters an essay competition at school using one of the writing exercises he did with William, his professor uses this to accuse him further because he used an article written by William as the basis. To make his essay valid, Jamal would have to prove that William permitted him to use the article. But, a promise is a promise and Jamal refuses to reveal his friendship with William. He also refuses to write the letter of apology that the school is demanding of him. He asks William for help but since he is still having anxiety from when they previously left the house together, he refused.

The school tries to blackmail Jamal by ensuring that he would not be charged with plagiarism if he makes sure that they win their basketball game, but Jamal decides to take a stand and throws the game. Moved by what he has done, William goes to Jamal’s school during their essay contest and asks to read an essay, to which of course the school authorities say yes. He gets praised for the piece that he read as he admits to being Jamal’s friend and allowing use of the article for his essay. Jamal’s professor says that would not make the case against him go away, but the school authorities overrule him after learning that the much-praised piece that William had read was written by Jamal himself.

What I loved about this movie was how moving the friendship was between William and Jamal. The mentorship was unusual at first given the circumstances but it was a good relationship that helped both characters improve. William eventually got over his anxiety of leaving the apartment and Jamal was able to believe in himself enough to make a better life for himself. Sean Connery was so good as the reclusive and anxiety-ridden William, I was so happy when I saw him on a bike outside at the end of the film because I felt so much for his character and the life he trapped himself in. It was heartbreaking when it was revealed that he passed away at the end of the movie, but moving that he left everything to Jamal when he did.

This movie will always be one of my favorites, something that I would love to watch again if given the opportunity. It would be nice if more people got to see it and appreciate how good it is.

Have any of you seen this movie? Leave a comment or tag me on social media about what you think of it!


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