Writing and basketball scholar Jamal wins a place at a prestigious Manhattan school. When he discovers that bestselling author William Forrester is living in his area, the pair form an unlikely friendship.
Although comparisons with Good Will Hunting are almost inevitable, Gus Van Sant's latest account of misguided genius and older mentor plays like a quirky cousin to Wonder Boys, given its literary roots, and underlying themes of writer's block and outsiders struggling to fit in with society. Like both those movies, it exudes Oscar-friendliness, from the smart and witty script to Connery's understated, quietly dignified performance as one-hit writing wonder William Forrester, and the sensational screen debut of 16 year-old high schooler-turned-actor, Robert Brown.
For one thing, it's hard to think of anybody who could have played the role of Forrester as well as Connery, who blends his trademark charm with wild eccentricity (this writer never wears the same pair of socks twice) and touching sadness.
It's obvious that his character's retreat from public life and hermetic existence has something to do with one of those big secrets you only ever seem to find in life-affirming movies, but far from lurching into sentimentality, the inevitable revelations are handled with restraint, making them all the more effective. In Connery's capable hands, this protagonist is more than just a mad old buffoon. Brown, meanwhile, is astonishing, all the more so given that this is his first role, and there's surprisingly good support from rapper-turned actor Rhymes.
Like Wonder Boys, the movie chugs along at a leisurely pace, always threatening to drop some amazing bombshell or lurch into some horrifying plot twist, but never quite doing so, and as such, it can't quite prevent an inevitable climactic slide into clunky, feel-good Scent of A Woman-style territory. For its flaws though, this is a warm-hearted character piece that steers refreshingly clear of ghetto movie clichés, and compensates for plot holes by focusing on the relationship between the two leads. The end result, while hardly ground-breaking, is a pleasure to watch.
If Connery doesnt get an Oscar nomination for this one, then itll be one of the biggest awards snubs of the year, for this is the best film hes done for ages. Although its familiar territory, Van Sant gives the material a new spin and the result is of