" I have 4 days to make you my new best friend "
— Cameron Diaz, My Best Friend’s Wedding

MRQE Top Critic

Jaffa

Jaffa views the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the lens of young love. —Matt Anderson (DVD review...)

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Sean Connery plays William Forrester, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of one novel who is now a recluse living in a worn-down apartment building in the Bronx.

Forrester’s world is reopened when Jamal Wallace (16-year-old Rob Brown in an impressive acting debut) breaks into his apartment on a dare with his friends.

As it turns out, Jamal is quite an author himself and, as circumstances conspire, the two strike up a tentative friendship that both grow to need.

Technically, the movie is very well done, with virtuoso performances from both Connery and Brown. Gus Van Sant (director of Good Will Hunting and the 1998 remake of Psycho) adds a lot of clever touches along the way and is able to create a unique mood and feel through the effective use of Miles Davis and Yankee Stadium.

Yet, somehow, once all is said and done, there is a slight feeling of being cheated at the end. In other movies where the main character has some special talent, such as dancing, singing, playing basketball (which Jamal also does well), we ultimately see them dance, hear them sing, or see that they do indeed “got game.”

While we do watch Jamal shoot an impressive game of hoops, by the end of Finding Forrester, we only get glimpses of what is supposed to be an awesome writing talent. It’s as if the screenwriter (Mike Rich, who wrote the screenplay while working as a DJ in Portland, Oregon) wasn’t able to come up with the profound material required to make his character profound. The introductory paragraphs and conclusions we do hear simply aren’t enough to define this prodigy’s significance.

That criticism aside, the journey is enjoyable and there is plenty of good material to provide food for thought.