Film Review: Finding Forrester

Writers write things to give readers something to read

People often talk about how, for no explicit reason, a work of creative expression has connected directly with their inner core. How almost discriminatingly singular in attack, a film, book, or picture has wormed its way directly to the most primeval part of their being and refused to leave. Emotionally touching them in a way no other sees.

Finding Forrester is that film for me. I cannot remember exactly what age I was when I first saw it, but I can clear as day remember the effect it had one me. The feelings it unleashed inside. Why it had this effect I have no idea, but it did, and it still does.

Sean Connery & Rob Brown - Finding Forrester

This is made all the more surprising by the fact, that Finding Forrester really is just a middle of the road movie. It’s a movie to tell a story, designed to present fiction rather than make you think, it’s a cinematic novel. A novel most people don’t know it exists and probably will never see it. But my thoughts will always meander back to it when lost in dream and always revoke happiness and enjoyment when they do. For 99% of the population this film is forgetful prose I, however, live in the 1%.

Finding Forrester stars Sean Connery as William Forrester, a reclusive author who allows Jamal Wallace (played by Rob Brown) into his house, his life before taking us on a journey of discovery, creativity and expansion through a shared love, passion and desire to write. Sadly though, the plot falls apart from time to time; mainly when Connery and Brown are independent from each other as it is the chemistry and bonding they share that truly makes the film, resulting in a final product that feels slightly weaker than it potentially could have been.

I also find it bizarre and disappointing that Rob Brown hasn’t gone on to bigger and greater things. His performance in this is it’s defining feature and he easily out shines Connery. Becoming the emotional pull of the film. He makes you empathise with him and he feels real. He is the hook that keeps the pages turning to put it in literary terms.

Reading By Open Fire - Finding Forrester

However good Brown may be, I think the greatest strength in Finding Forrester is not in its characters but rather in its tone. The film is hued with yellows, reds and the colours of autumn; of maturing age. And this creates an atmosphere of warmth, painting pictures in my mind of snuggling beside a roaring fire, blowing the dust of an old, worn, leather bound book and losing yourself for hours into the words held within. That imagery of experience just waiting to be unlocked. Aged to perfection. It’s a master stroke of production because it serves to enhances the ideas of survival, trust and paternal nourishment which underpin this film. For something so interested in words, it’s a wonderful cliché that it is the colour palette that saves it.

And it needs saving, because every so often the plot  just throws it’s gaze just a little too wide. It tries to widen the story just a little too much, highlighted perfectly by what it meant to be the defining crescendo moment but ends up feeling weak, contrived and artificial. Twisted to fit the necessary situation rather than the plausible outcome. I like the story the film has to tell, it’s entertaining, engrossing and heartening, and more over, it makes you dream, to believe in yourself, to attempt to show you that anything is possible. That talent is within all of us. To use another clichéd expression. It is the perfect cinematic portrayal of never judging a book by it’s cover.

Finding Forrester deserves to be seen, remembered and loved by more people. I know I am biased, I know I connect to it for a reason that unfathomably disconnects me from the population at large; but I truly believe, even if you just watch it for the sake of it, the characters will win you over, even if the story doesn’t. I don’t expect that you’ll have the same overwhelming reaction as me, and you’ll probably hate me when you clock it’s running time, but stick with it, because if you look between the lines it’s a real gem of a film.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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