This excellent movie directed by Gus Van Zandt stars Sean Connery as William Forrester, an eccentric, reclusive famous author. Starring opposite him is Rob Brown as Jamal Wallace in his first movie role. There are many other well known actors including: Michael Nouri, F. Murray Abraham, a cameo at the end from Matt Damon and star of the popular HBO series “True Blood” Anna Paquin.
It is the story of Jamal a young high school student from a rough part of the Bronx. He is a very talented student and writer but does not want anyone to know so. He is mostly know for his athletic ability, he is an extremely talented basketball player. One night on a dare Jamal breaks into William’s apartment, when running out he accidentally leaves his backpack. When he gets it back he sees that his journals have all been corrected by the secretive Mr. Forrester. He then returns to his apartment wanting guidance and help to develop his writing gift.
Not long after he scores high on a standardized test at school and catches the attention of an upper class private prep school in Manhattan. For a while he thrives at the school and under the teaching of William, Jamal is shocked when he finds out that the man that has been helping him is a famous and revered author. It is a very emotional movie, it is impossible not to be touched by the friendship that develops between Jamal and William. Their have a strong bond that defies age, race and social status.
One of my favorite scenes of the movie is when the two of them are eating dinner and Jamal is telling William about a writing contest at his school. He asks William if he has ever entered a writing contest to which he replies, “once”. Jamal then asks if he won and William looks at him funny and replies, “of course”. And he asks if he won money or something and William simply responds the Pulitzer Prize. It is quite a cute scene between them. I also love the mix of sad and uplifting ending seeing that Jamal had inspired William finally to write his second novel, just as William had inspired Jamal to pursue his dreams.