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Finding Forrester Reviews

Feel-good pabulum about the unlikely friendship between an African-American high-school student from the Bronx and the aging, reclusive novelist who recognizes and helps nurture the young man's potential. Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) lives in the projects with his mother; his older brother (Busta Rhymes) works in the Yankee Stadium parking lot and dreams of becoming a rapper. Jamal loves reading and keeps copious journals, but downplays his intelligence to fit in with his friends, whose interests run more to basketball and girls. The kids also gossip about the neighborhood eccentric they call "The Window" and "The Ghost," who never leaves his apartment, but is often glimpsed watching from his window. On a dare, Jamal sneaks into the apartment, but loses his backpack and precious notebooks while making a hasty exit. Imagine Jamal's surprise when the Ghost (Sean Connery) returns the backpack — throws it from the window, actually — and the notebooks are now filled with suggestions, corrections and praise. A prickly friendship is born, and soon takes a surprising turn. Recruited by a tony Manhattan prep school impressed by his statewide test scores, and assigned to read a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel called Landing Avalon, Jamal realizes that his antisocial friend is its author, William Forrester (clearly modeled in some respects on J.D. Salinger). Despite unanimous acclaim for the 1953 novel, Forrester never wrote another, and retreated from public view. Jamal becomes more determined than ever to learn from and understand him. Well acted (notably by newcomer Brown), warm hearted and utterly predictable, this film is aimed squarely at everyone who loved GOOD WILL HUNTING. It is, after all, essentially the same story: Jamal is Will, Forrester is supportive Dr. Maguire and embittered literature teacher Crawford (F. Murray Abraham), who belittles and demeans Jamal, is this film's snooty Professor Lambeau. Smoothly crafted and scrupulously inoffensive, it's the same only different — the very definition of formula fiction.