Washington wisely avoids manipulating the film's more sensationalistic elements and concentrates on the human story at the centre. This makes the film feel both classy and intensely involving, even as it milks the emotion rather shamelessly. Luke delivers a powerful performance that grabs us right at the start and carries us through; he never hits a false note, making this young man both believable and engaging. And Washington keeps a quiet distance, never upstaging him while creating a memorable character all his own. There are very heavy echoes of Good Will Hunting in the shrink-thaws-patient structure, especially in editing that makes each session look like it lasts about three minutes, never really touching on the anger management issues that started everything to begin with. And the film does get slightly preachy when it touches on important themes like African-American history, racism and abuse. But you can hardly blame it, when the material is this strong, important and true! This is an artfully made film that actually has the emotional power to get to us. Bring Kleenex.
dir Denzel Washington
scr Antwone Fisher
with Derek Luke, Denzel Washington, Joy Bryant, Salli Richardson, Earl Billings, Kevin Connolly, Rainoldo Gooding, Stephen Snedden, Novella Nelson, Yolonda Ross, De'Angelo Wilson, Viola Davis
release US 20.Dec.02; UK 16.May.03
Hi boys. Antwone introduces his girlfriend to his shrink (Luke, Bryant, Washington)....
|Lynda Marklew, Essex: "Liked the film because it was a true story, which proved you don't have to end up either in jail or on drugs just because you've had a rough ride. Gives us hope for the human race! Goes to prove you can change things for the better if you are determined enough! An inspiration!" (27.Oct.03)