Rating: NNSane people who rave about Finding Forrester (Ebert and Roeper ran out of thumbs praising it) are suffering from.
Sane people who rave about Finding Forrester (Ebert and Roeper ran out of thumbs praising it) are suffering from short-term memory loss. If you like Good Will Hunting, you’ll like Finding Forrester, because it’s the exact same movie, though the ending owes something to Scent Of A Woman. There’s even a Matt Damon cameo.
A bright young man from the wrong side of the tracks finds a mentor in a highly intelligent older loner who bears his own emotional scars. Along the way, he has a romantic entanglement with a young woman from the right side of the tracks.
The kid (Robert Brown) is a young black writer rather than a white math whiz, and the mentor’s a reclusive famous writer (Sean Connery) rather than a widowed psychologist, but it’s the same movie, with the addition of F. Murray Abraham as a bitter writing teacher who accuses the hero of plagiarism. Accusing anyone of plagiarism in this movie carries its own ironies.
There’s no denying the craft involved in the film, or the quality of the performances – Connery could do this kind of role in his sleep, and Brown manages to hold his own in his scenes with him. But it’s annoying, after the bizarre debacle of the “shot-for-shot” remake of Psycho, a film I’m rather fond of, that Gus Van Sant, once one a daring indie filmmaker (Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho), would run for cover so quickly and remake his biggest hit.