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Shannon Kelsey Teaching Portfolio
Educational Movie Review

Finding Forrester


            The movie our cohort chose was “Finding Forrester”. The main concept of the movie is a poor black boy who meets a famous author who helps the boy improve his already impressive writing skills. Jamal, the poor black boy has to deal with the issues of going to a mainly rich and white private school. William Forrester, the author, helps him through the issue Jamal runs into at his new school. As much as I loved this movie, it’s sad to say the issues Jamal faces occur everyday at school to kids of other races that have the gift of intelligence. Teachers do have stereotypes and hesitation when it comes to children of other races who happen to be well educated. In the movie a teacher believes Jamal has plagiarized someone else’s work, and although I, myself will not tolerate cheating and plagiarism in my own classroom, the teacher, Dr. Crawford had bias towards Jamal and handled the situation very poorly.

            This movie, Finding Forrester, was absolutely brilliant. It showed situations that children have to deal with each and every day at school- situations of people stereotyping the children and thinking they are just like every other person of their age or race. Jamal’s English teacher, Dr. Crawford did not like Jamal. Dr. Crawford assumed he was a poor, colored kid who got lucky enough to get into the school and who only wanted to play basketball, not learn in the classrooms. Teachers should not stereotype their students, especially when based on color of skin or financial affairs. These issues have nothing to do with a person’s goals or level of smartness. It is unfair for a child to have to deal with this type of racism or stereotyping while at school, especially when the child is only there to learn, not to be criticized. Dr. Crawford expected Jamal to be like other colored kids and only care for basketball, he was very wrong.

            Another important lesson the movie taught is that everybody can learn something from anyone! It doesn’t matter if that somebody is younger, older, male, female, white, black or brown, they can always teach you something. Mr. Forrester taught Jamal how to improve his writing, and how to keep his word when he promises something. Jamal taught the older man, Mr. Forrester how important friendship is and how not to judge people by looks or attitudes when first meeting the person, but wait until you get to know that person before judging. Chances are the person you judged was not at all what you thought they were.

            Jamal liked to play basketball and people expected him to excel in it and be the best person on the team. Jamal’s coach also expected him to win games and the championship for the team. At the end of the championship game, Jamal missed his two foul shots and his team lost due to this. Many people were disappointed and probably thought that he was not a very successful athlete. A successful athlete does not always have to the best and score the most points ( same for a successful student and straight A’s), but they have to always try their hardest, keep a positive attitude, be a team leader and support your teammates. In the real world, points and A’s do not matter all that much. What does matter is if you have tried your hardest, learned something and had a good, positive attitude the whole way. These things are what make a successful athlete (and student).

            On a scale of one to four, I would give this movie four stars and more if possible! It was an amazing movie, not only was it entertaining but it can teach people so many important lessons! The movie had great examples of not listening to stereotypes and not holding biases, what a successful student/athlete is, as well as how you can learn something from anyone. I would highly recommend this great movie to anyone!

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