Finding Forrester

What is it with Gus Van Sant and remakes? First he Xeroxed Psycho; here he rehashes one of his own films. Jamal (Brown) is an exceptionally bright, black 16-year-old and nifty basketballer who leaves the Bronx for the WASP-ish confines of an exclusive prep school. A quiet, literary whiz kid, he bristles at attempts to belittle his off-court talent, and falls under the tutelage of local recluse William Forrester (Connery), a Salinger-esque figure burdened with having written the Great American Novel in his youth and not much else. In short: take Good Will Hunting, swap English for maths, and add a dash of race and a smidgen of Caledonian élan. The leaden screenplay can be fingered for many of the film's faults. But what happened to the off-kilter film-maker last seen at work in To Die For? Van Sant shoots and paces Jamal's developing relationship with Forrester as generically as it's scripted; a weakness all the more apparent when compared with Curtis Hanson's far saltier treatment of similar themes in Wonder Boys. Sift through the remains, and all that emerges is the strong central performances: Brown impresses in his first film role, while Connery, for once, reveals a vulnerability commensurate with his age.

Release details

Duration: 137 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gus Van Sant
Screenwriter: Mike Rich
Cast: Sean Connery
F Murray Abraham
Anna Paquin
Busta Rhymes
April Grace
Michael Pitt
Michael Nouri
Rob Brown
Matt Damon
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