5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HIGHLY ABSORBING...SEAN CONNERY IS A NATIONAL TREASURE...,
This review is from: Finding Forrester [VHS]  (VHS Tape)
This is a heartwarming movie with fine performances by Sean Connery, newcomer Rob Brown, F. Murray Abraham, Michael Nouri, and Anna Pacquin. Well directed by Gus Van Sant, the film revolves around the two main characters, William Forrester, played by Sean Connery, and sixteen year old Kamal, played by Rob Brown.
William Forrester is a writer who, battling his own inner demons, has remained reclusive after writing a Pulitzer Prize winning novel some forty odd years earlier. Living alone in a changing neighborhood in the Bronx, he makes the acquaintance of Kamal, an intellectually gifted inner city kid, who plays street basketball, loves to write, and does both well.
A mentoring relationship springs between the two. Under Forrester's secret tutorship, Kamal blossoms. When Kamal's scholastic test scores come to the attention of a local prep school, school officials offer him a scholarship to attend and, if he chooses to do so, play basketball on the school team. The school also turns out to be William Forrester's alma mater, where he is revered and his prize winning novel is required reading.
There, Kamal encounters rank racism, all the more insidious because it is covert. F. Murray Abraham plays a teacher who is very similar to the character, Salieri, whom Abraham portrayed in the film "Amadeus". A failed writer who became a teacher, Abraham oozes racism as he contrives to destroy Kamal whom he accuses of plagiarism, as he clearly believes him to be just another inner city, black basketball player who is incapable of anything more. He cannot seem to fathom that this kid could possibly write as well as he does, because he has Kamal stereotyped.
Yet, Kamal is actually all that he purports to be, a gifted writer who just also happens to play basketball. Truly scholarly, he shows up his teacher in class, only to further exacerbate his enmity. This teacher's dislike and covert racism manifests itself in the exclusion of Kamal's entry in the prestigious writing competition sponsored by the prep school. This situation comes to a head when the teacher's racism is exposed for what it is in a stunning, surprising climax.
Kamal, however, is not the only one to have a moment of redemption in the movie. Forrester, too, has that moment as he comes to grips with his past, the past that made him shut the world out for so long. It is his friendship with Kamal that illuminates his return to the very world from which he had withdrawn long ago.
This film is about a friendship that is borne out of a shared passion. It is about the old nurturing the young. It is about passing the baton from one generation to the next. It is a film the transcends age and race. It is a film for everyone.