Finding Forrester: An Analysis

Table of Content

Finding Forrester is renowned as one of the top films during its era. Its plot revolves around a young boy’s quest for a mentor, leading him to an unlikely individual in an unexpected setting. The movie centers on Jamal Wallace and William Forrester, showcasing Forrester’s later stages of life. It effectively portrays the connection between the beginning and conclusion of existence, with Wallace’s journey commencing while Forrester approaches his final chapter.

In a fortuitous encounter, they found themselves standing side by side at a critical juncture in their lives. This pivotal moment occurred on a shared plateau where they crossed paths, engaged, and ultimately parted ways during Forrester’s passing. Finding Forrester, a highly acclaimed film, received positive reviews and garnered praise for various elements. This analysis will delve into these aspects, which contributed to the movie’s widespread acclaim and critical success. Critiquing Finding Forrester involves evaluating numerous factors.

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This encompasses the assessment of different aspects like cinematography, screenwriting, art direction, acting, makeup and costume, sound, and theme. The film’s cinematography stands out for its remarkable display of a well-balanced combination of expansive panoramic shots and intimate close-ups that effectively convey the challenges confronted by both the protagonist and supporting characters. Moreover, it employs visual cues and symbolic imagery to serve as reminders of the distinctive qualities found in the lives portrayed within the narrative.

Director Gus Van Sant effectively utilized various cinematography styles and techniques to convey emotions and guide the audience’s perspective throughout the story. The cinematography captures the essence of the narrative and the unique atmosphere of each scene, allowing the audience to envision the unfolding of the story as if it were a real-life scenario. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in Jamal Wallace’s character development, while also ensuring that Finding Forrester is visually captivating and artistically compelling.

The movie showcases Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Bronx through a multitude of shots, highlighting both Jamal Wallace’s differences and similarities with Forrester. Alongside its visual elements, Finding Forrester has an exceptionally well-crafted screenplay. The gradual buildup and progression of events effectively communicate intended emotions and realizations to viewers. The dialogue, delivered by talented actors such as Sean Connery and Rob Brown, seamlessly complements the story, setting, and characters.

Listening to the two lead characters converse with each other was enjoyable. The way their story unfolded was poignant and the writer deserves commendation for effectively plotting the issues that both Wallace and Forrester will face. Their paths crossing eventually leads to a resolution of their conflicts because of the role they play in each other’s lives. However, concepts like the death of a friend and having too little time together are cliché and have been extensively used in dramatic movies to amplify emotional sadness and the sense of loss.

The movie’s writing was crafted in a way that did not feel like a forceful drama. The unexpected twists kept the audience engaged and intrigued. The writer skillfully immersed the viewers in the passionate and lively youth of Wallace, while also presenting the subtle brilliance of Forrester, who longed for a final chance to reintegrate into society.

As for art direction, it was rather average and conventional, lacking any groundbreaking elements. It adhered to the standard practices of art direction during that time and didn’t stand out in comparison to other films of the same year or era.

The movie’s focus was on the story line rather than visual effects. The story follows an individual’s experience without any sci-fi or intense action scenes that would require complex art direction. Posters and teasers for the film often feature warm colors such as brown, yellow, and sepia tones, which match the warmth of Sean Connery’s face and character. The art direction also includes easily readable typography. The photography captures the softness in the physical characteristics of Connery and Brown, creating a visual cue for the audience to feel the unexpected emotional bond between these two men in the story. Acting-wise, Finding Forrester is praised for Sean Connery’s father-like demeanor that enhances his performance, while Brown effectively portrays a student searching for an idol and finding inspiration in Connery’s character.

Connery successfully portrayed a reclusive and solitary literary genius, effectively conveying the character’s changing emotional state to the audience. However, he also managed to keep the future developments of the story hidden from the viewers as the movie progressed. Brown, on the other hand, delivered an exceptional performance as a talented young man in search of his true desires. He depicted a character undergoing a genuine educational journey to overcome the limitations of conventional learning methods.

He is not an average person but a genius who will learn important lessons in his life by spending a few years with Forrester (Jet 49). Vant Sant praised Brown’s acting, stating that he handled himself exceptionally well (Jet 49). When it comes to make-up and costume, they were appropriate for the movie’s needs. This is because the requirements for make-up and costume are not too difficult as the story is set in the modern era and the characters are easy to dress.

The story in Finding Forrester takes place over a short period of time, eliminating the need for extensive aging makeup and costumes for the actors. The evaluation of the makeup and costume reveals that the professionals involved made this aspect of the movie appear effortless and skillful. However, there was still an effort to differentiate Sean Connery’s character in this film from his previous roles, as it was important for him to be seen specifically as Forrester and not any other character from his past movies. This distinction was necessary to prevent distractions.
In terms of sound, the dubbing in the film was well-executed, ensuring that the lines were clear and easily understandable. The sound effects were appropriate and served their purpose effectively. The soundtrack played a crucial role in enhancing the movie’s dramatic and emotional moments, starting from its peak and continuing until the conclusion. It helped guide viewers through a range of emotions, thanks to its utilization in the film.
Regarding its theme,

The themes present in the story “Jet 16” that were also used in the movie Finding Forrester include the mentor-student relationship, leaving a legacy and imparting life lessons, and a transformation brought about by the entry of another person. These themes have been popular in emotional and dramatic movies for a long time and continue to be effective.

The director skillfully combines all aspects of the movie to narrate a simple tale about a brilliant individual who becomes mortal due to an illness. However, he is presented with another opportunity at life thanks to a stranger (Callard-Szulgit 26). This film not only has an impact on real life but also serves as a teaching guide for dynamics and an inspiring narrative for numerous educators (Moeller 175). The storyline revolves around themes like paternal love, the father’s affection towards his son, the son’s longing for a fatherly figure, education and guidance, and prioritizing academics over sports (Moeller 175).

These are the intended values conveyed by the movie creators to viewers. Despite their commonality, these themes greatly contribute to the emotional, dramatic, and effective nature of the film. Ultimately, Finding Forrester successfully portrays a strong bond between two individuals within a brief timeframe. The film’s greatness lies not only in its story and plot but also in how other elements of filmmaking enhance its charm.

Finding Forrester was a film that resonated with global audiences, proving that even without employing innovative techniques in acting, shooting, and logistics, a movie can still be deemed exceptional. This is due to the film’s sublime presentation and a storyline that closely mirrors real life. The creators of Finding Forrester skillfully assembled the movie’s components, no matter how elementary, resulting in an overall great cinematic experience.

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Finding Forrester: An Analysis. (2017, Mar 30). Retrieved from

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