Finding Forrester by Gus Van Sant

Finding Forrester was directed by Gus Van Sant and released in 2000. The film was interesting. It showed you that anything is possible; you just need to put in hard work and effort. Gus Van Sant shows us that it does not matter where you are from, anything is possible. Jamal Wallace is an African-American boy from the Bronx who is secretly highly intelligent but he does not want anybody knowing because it will ruin his reputation at school, an example of this is when Jamal’s teacher asks him to recite a famous poem that he knows, Jamal lies and says he does not know it.

William Forrester is an old, Caucasian man who is an alcoholic and has written a famous book. Forrester spends his days in his apartment because he is scared of the public and society. The film focuses on the theme of stereotyping. A stereotype is “a widely held but fixed and over simplified image or idea of a particular type of person/thing.

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” –Oxford Dictionary. Stereotyping is shown throughout the film, some examples of stereotyping in the film are when Jamal is at his new school and writes an amazing paper.

His teacher, Crawford, does not believe Jamal wrote the paper because he is a black boy from the Bronx who is a fantastic basketball player. There is a stereotype about African Americans being good at sports (especially basketball), but here the black character is also very smart and interested in things besides sports. In fact, Jamal throws a basketball game so no one thinks he is just another black boy only good for basketball.

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Another example of stereotyping in Finding Forrester is Claire. Claire is Jamal’s first friend at his new school and we see right away that she does not discriminate but is a victim of stereotyping herself.

Claire’s father is the man responsible for making the school for boys and girls so students see her as spoiled and think the only reason she got accepted to school is because of her father but she is actually a very bright girl. Basketball is an important symbol in the film, which symbolizes that even though Jamal is a great basketball player, it does not mean he is not smart. This is shown in the film when Jamal gets a chance to play basketball at his new school. Basketball represents the real world; it’s struggles, relationships, and competition.

There are also some more very important symbols in Finding Forrester. The books in William Forrester’s apartment represent escapism, insulation from the real world, and the world of intellect. And the window which William Forrester watches Jamal and his friends play basketball is literally a window into the real world. Forrester watches the world pass by him though that window. The characters Jamal Wallace (Robert Brown) and William Forester (Sean Connery) form a friendship through their mutual interest in writing.

This all started when Jamal and his friends notice an old man, William Forrester, watching them play basketball through his window. They notice that this old man has never left his house and actually gets grocery, mail, and clothes delivered to him. One day Jamal’s friends dared him to go into Forrester’s apartment and to take something from the apartment to prove he was actually in there. While in the apartment, Jamal gets frightened by Forrester and runs out but little did Jamal know that as he was leaving he left his backpack full of all his secret journals.

After Jamal talks to his friends about his experience they go out to play basketball and Forrester drops Jamal’s backpack out the window. When Jamal opens it up he finds that Forrester has gone through and corrected and critiqued every page of every journal. Furious, Jamal takes his journals back to Forrester to ask why he would do this. After days of trying to talk to Forrester, Jamal and Forrester come to an agreement that Forrester will help Jamal with his writing. They teach each other about life. Jamal helps Forrester get back into society without being scared.

Forrester teaches Jamal that is does not matter where you come from, if you are intelligent, take advantage of that and embrace your great talent. The movie Finding Forrester was a good, quality movie with a great theme and moral. In this movie Jamal, an African American basketball player and student proves that it does not matter where you come from, or what color your skin is, if you are intelligent to need to let that talent shine. And William Forrester, an old, washed up writer gets a new look on life because a brilliant boy has faith in him.

Together, William and Jamal fight through racism and stereotyping. “Dear Jamal, Someone I once knew wrote that we walk away from our dreams afraid that we may fail or worse yet, afraid we may succeed. You need to know that while I knew so very early that you would realize your dreams, I never imagined I would once again realize my own. Seasons change young man, and while I may have waited until the winter of my life, to see the things I’ve seen this past year, there is no doubt I would have waited too long, had it not been for you. ” –William Forrester; Forrester’s letter to Jamal.

Cite this page

Finding Forrester by Gus Van Sant. (2016, Sep 13). Retrieved from

Finding Forrester by Gus Van Sant

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