Antwone Fisher

  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Devastating story of abuse based on real life.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

Age(i)

2
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9
10
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive role models

Strong, brave, wise black characters.

Violence

Severe child abuse

Sex

Sexual situations, sexual abuse of a child

Language

Some strong language

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Character is proud of not using drugs

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie deals frankly, if not graphically, with severe child abuse, including sexual abuse. Characters use strong language, including the "N" word (used by African-Americans) and a gay slur. Fisher is justifiably proud of himself for not drinking, using drugs, or having promiscuous sex.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

When sailor Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke) is sent for a psychiatric evaluation to Dr. Davenport (director Denzel Washington) for getting into fights, he refuses to talk. But Davenport insists that he sit in his office until he does. Finally, Fisher starts to tell Davenport his story of devastating neglect and abuse. And as he does, he finds himself opening up in other ways, even going on his very first date. Davenport goes outside the Navy rules to continue to provide Fisher with therapy that turns into a real friendship that changes both their lives. He encourages Fisher to try to connect with his family so that he can understand his story better. Fisher confronts his abusive foster mother, meets the mother who abandoned him, and finds the family of the father who died before he was born.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Therapy films usually follow the same pattern as romance films, a sort of one-sided romance of the subjects with themselves. In other words, it's therapist meets patient, therapist loses patient, then therapist gets patient to open up with a big revelation to begin to heal. But Antwone Fisher, a true story written by its subject, the journey inside himself is just the beginning. The story is not what goes on in his conversations with the doctor, but where that takes him.

At first, the fact that this movie does not follow the usual pattern can feel disconcerting, even amateurish. There is an obvious tension between what is important to Fisher the person and what works on screen. Ultimately it gives the movie a kind of messiness and heart that provides some extra authenticity. Washington does very well with his first directing job, especially with Luke and model Joy Bryant as Fisher's girlfriend in their first major roles. And as Dr. Davenport, Washington's grace, dignity, sheer magnetism and ability to convey a complete character with every gesture are enough to carry the entire movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what kept Fisher strong through all of the abuse. How did he have enough of a sense of himself to resist becoming a criminal, a drug user, or an abuser? Families can also discuss the theme of forgiveness, the ability "to regard without ill will despite an offence." Why is forgiveness more important for the person doing the forgiving than for the person being forgiven? Talk about Fisher's saying that he was ashamed for being unwanted, and the importance of forgiving those who do not appreciate us as a way of appreciating ourselves.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 10, 2002
DVD release date:May 20, 2003
Cast:Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Joy Bryant
Director:Denzel Washington
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Genre:Drama
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence, language and mature thematic material involving child abuse

This review of Antwone Fisher was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byFCFish April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Adult Written bygavin m. jackson April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

emotionally powerful

This is a very touching film that made me cry out of its goodness. At the end, an older couple was so moved they hugged and cried in each other's arms.
Adult Written byjenniferfeagan April 9, 2008

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