Finding Forrester

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Finding Forrester Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Quality characters, solid film; OK for ages 14+.
  • PG-13
  • 2000
  • 133 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Some tense moments -- characters push one another, one character throws a glass into a wall.


Overheard sounds of couple having sex, some sexual references.


Some strong language including "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character drinks often, reference to drunk driving accident.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has brief strong language and sexual references and situations (Jamal's neighbors have loud sex on the other side of his bedroom wall). Forrester says that women will have sex with anyone who has written a book. Jamal and Claire take their relationship very slowly and show a lot of respect and concern for each other. Forrester drinks a good bit, and talks about a character who died in a drunk driving accident.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byandrewpillow April 25, 2014

Good Movie to Show in Inner City Schools

This movie is not exactly made for 12 year olds because of the cussing, however if you teach in the inner city frequent use of the N - Word is nothing they aren... Continue reading
Adult Written bymeganderson25 June 2, 2010
I think it was AWESOME. It taught kids and adults that ANYONE in the world could acheve their dreams. Ether black or white. We're all the same
Teen, 14 years old Written bySwim3456 May 6, 2014

boring but interesting

Finding Forrester was a overly boring movie. Except, It was really good at the same time, which doesn't happen for me a lot. A movie I would recommend beca... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTotally500 April 23, 2012

finding forrester is an outstanding film

an outsanding film i enjoy it a lot

What's the story?

In the inner city, a mysterious man nicknamed "The Window" (Connery) is never seen leaving his apartment. Local teen Jamal (Rob Brown) accepts a dare to enter the man's apartment. The man surprises him, and he races out, leaving his backpack behind. The next day, the backpack is thrown out the window, and Jamal finds extensive comments in his private journals. He returns to "The Window" to ask for more comments, and, slowly, a friendship begins. It turns out that the man is William Forrester, recluse author of one of the century's greatest books who has not published a book since his first won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize. Jamal's test scores earn him a full scholarship at a posh private school, but they want more from him on the basketball court than in the classroom. Some of his new classmates are friendly, especially Claire (Anna Paquin). But teacher Mr. Crawford (F. Murray Abraham) is suspicious and accuses Jamal of plagiarism. The only one who can defend him is a man who has not left his apartment in decades.

Is it any good?

There's nothing more appealing to watch in a movie than one character teaching another, except perhaps when two characters teach each other, as they do here. This reliable formula is well-presented in this fine film about two great writers at different stages of their careers. Newcomer Rob Brown is as impressive as the Oscar-winning trio of Connery, Paquin, and Abraham. Some of the best scenes are those in which Jamal unleashes his hidden smarts to skewer those who dared to have preconceptions about him. There are also scenes of real loyalty and connection between Jamal and Forrester, and between Jamal and his brother (Busta Rhymes in his best performance yet) and between Jamal and Claire.

The movie's primary weakness is its climax confrontation, which is artificially constructed and unrealistic. Forrester's explanation of his decision to withdraw from the world and his decision to change is weakly handled. Jamal may be just a little too perfect. And a brief in-joke appearance by a big star is distracting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Jamal and Forrester hide their talents. How does the fact that both have lost family members provide an important connection for them? Why is it important for us to find people who can teach us? Why was Crawford so angry, and do you agree with Forrester's comment about "bitterly disappointed teachers?" What prejudices are revealed by the characters? Do you agree that "people are most afraid of what they don't understand?" Family members can also talk about Forrester's advice that the first draft is written with the heart, the second with the head, and might want to try his technique for getting started on writing.

Movie details

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