Time: 136 mins.
SYNOPSIS: An afro-american teen writing prodigy finds a mentor in a reclusive author.
BOTTOM LINE: This film certainly isn't a huge departure for Van Sant from his last film (GOOD WILL HUNTING), but it's different enough to be worth a look. Sure, the plot again centers on a mentor/student type of relationship, but this is a quieter tale about trust, honor, friendship and self-discovery. It's not as in your face, yet it still has a strong message that centers on believing in oneself and living your life for you, regardless of what others think. Connery plays an elderly recluse, William Forrester, famous for writing a great novel in his youth who takes a 16-year-old African American basketball player, Jamaal (Brown), under his wing after he reads some of the teenager's journals.
He agrees to foster Jamaal's talent and intellect as long as Jamaal keeps his relationship with Forrester a secret. This unlikely friendship changes the course of both their lives. What makes this potentially trite tale shine, is the performance by newcomer Rob Brown. His quiet intensity and intelligence draw you into the story, making you believe in his talent both on the page and on the court. Connery is Connery, it's Brown who makes this film something special, who challenges your views about people and what they're capable of. I was pleasantly surprised by this flick. It's engaging, inspiring and not as simple as it looks.