On a dare, a 16-year-old kid in the Bronx breaks into an old man\'s apartment with unforeseen consequences. The man a prize-winning author (Sean Connery) takes an interest in the teenager\'s writing and both must overcome some demons.

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It\'s a shame that Van Sant hasn\'t been able to imbue a slight elusiveness into the screenplay, to make it more a challenge for an audience.

16-year-old Jamal, played by first time actor Rob Brown, is a star basketball who hides his talent for writing form his schoolmates. While Jamal and his friends play ball, they`re observed by a reclusive man in a top floor apartment nearby. This proves to be William Forrester, Sean Connery, a writer who, like J.D. Salinger, wrote one really great book in the 50s and hasn`t been heard from since. Forrester becomes Jamal`s mentor, encouraging the boy to fulful his true potential....I don`t know what`s happened to Gus Van Sant - the independent director who made such interesting films at the beginning of his career, including DRUGSTORE COWBOY, and MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO - seems to have gone Hollywood. FINDING FORRESTER is so similar to Van Sant`s GOOD WILL HUNTING - a very overrated film - that there are really no surprises here - except how quickly and easily a recluse of some 50 years emerges from his cocoon, and how incredibly wise and literate the young hero is. With F. Murray Abraham overplaying his role as the closest thing the film has to a bad guy - the teacher who reckons Jamal is indulging in plagiarism - and Sean Connery, who was one of the film`s producers, all twinkling white-haired sincerity as the long-lost author, the film seems contrived and self - important. It`s also about half an hour too long. Comments from Margaret:With Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant clearly signalled his move to the mainstream, with some effect. But it seems that staying in that rarifed high box office atmosphere has its price, the lack of a good screenplay, a first from writer Mike Rich who was working as a News Director at an Oregan radio station when this script was written. It?s riddled with cliches, it?s simplistic and predictable so that even the combined talents of Sean Connery as the hermit like Pulitzer Prize winning author and the charismatic newcomer Rob Brown as his protege can?t lift this story above the banal. I wonder whether Gus Van Sant?s past works against him with this film, we do expect more from the director of Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho and even To Die For. There are some distinctly odd camera shots and a very strange performance from Anna Paquin that shrieks that she doesn?t know what she?s expected to be in the role of the potential white love interest for a champion black bastketballer. I?m not overly fond of films that have to explain themselves at every turn, it?s like force-feeding because we?re not intelligent enough to lift the spoon for ourselves, and Finding Forrester falls into that trap. Of course there?s a family tragedy to explain Forrester?s self imposed exile from life, of course we have to understand Crawford?s limited talent and past failure to see why he?s so venal towards his talented black student. It?s a shame that Van Sant hasn?t been able to imbue a slight elusiveness into the screenplay, to make it more a challenge for an audience. With this it?s just another case of opening our mouths.