Sean Connery is William Forrester, a reclusive American novelist who takes a 16-year-old budding writer under his wing to teach him a thing or two about the written word. But soon after, his new friends teaches him a thing or two about friendship and family.
Williem Forrester (Connery) is a hermit living in the same Bronx apartment he grew up in. He's also a well-known author, famous for publishing just one book. Now in his old age, he spends his days at the typewriter and looking out his window watching life go by. Through a series of events, he befriends Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown), and soon starts editing the budding scribe's writing samples. Forrester immediately recognizes Jamal's talents, as well as the areas he can improve. Jamal soaks up his mentor's guidance, but also sets out to help his friend's fear of venturing out of his apartment and embracing live once again.
One would expect to see more from a veteran actor like Connery in this film. However, what he delivers is a similar character we've seen in several of his films: an authoritative figure with a underlying sarcastic sense of humor (see "Entrapment"). The real scene-stealer in this one is newcomer Brown. The young actor shines in his major film debut, portraying a kid from the Bronx with talent that stretches from the point of his pen to the basketball court. Anna Paquin is well cast as the down-to-earth daughter of the school director who catches Jamal's eye.
Director Gus Van Sant delivers a drama that could have spent more time in the editing room. Clocking in at a little over two hours, it takes too long to reach its resolution that pretty much can be predicted halfway into film. Watching Connery transform from a reclusive bitter man into a life-embracing softie is as cliché as Hollywood films come. Van Sant's best move was introducing the American audience to Brown and the marvelous presence he brings to the big screen. This young actor is one to look out for in the years to come.
'Forrester' finds an incredible new talent, but not a new story.