July 15, 2008


“Finding Forrester” is a rare gem of a film. For one it’s completely devoid of computer generated graphics and relies solely on good olde fashion story telling.


The story revolves around a teenager, Jamal Wallace, played by Rob Brown, who gains entry into a toffee nose private high school. Jamal is basically a kid from the rough and tough world of the inner city slums. Although he’s intellectually gifted, he hides his talent with enough believable street cred.


One day on a dare, he sneaks into an apartment and to his surprise, befriends a Salinger type recluse writer. The man takes a shine to Jamal  helping him to wordsmith his essays, in exchange Jamal has to keep their association a secret: the recluse William Forrester is a bit of an enigma himself, watching the film, I couldn’t help but sense there was an unspoken tragic side to his story.


Finding Forrester is really about the story of unalloyed leadership (the stuff one really never sees displayed out in the open – it present a moral dilemma where the main protagonist is struggling between what he knows he should do and overcoming his limits) and how excellence can even emerge from the unlikeliest of places; where adversity and failure gives rise to practical wisdom – it’s a story about people who are compelled for all the wrong reasons to step up to the plate and lead themselves and others out to higher ground usually compelling to come out from their respective comfort zones– we see this metaphor being played in varying degrees throughout the film – in one scene when Jamal is accused of plagiarism by a judgmental professor and the only one who can save him is Forrester, we see the latter struggling to reconcile himself with his self imposed isolation as he considers the prospects of stepping out into the light – with Jamal, we see how a young man navigates gingerly around his new oak paneled environment as he befriends a girl and slowly begins the process of unfolding the friendship into love – to me the film documents beautifully the transition from chrysalis to the marvelous completion of what it means to be a leader – the message is clear, leadership cannot be planned. You could even say it’s an accidental process. But what the film really says to me is; it draws our attention to the paradox; what we consider good leadership may not even emerge from executing all the cool runs like scoring good grades, getting into the best universities or being nominated as a Vice President of a firm before turning 30 – that good leadership may even be born from failure and adversity as it is in the mix of success and failure that a real leader really emerges.


The lives of great leaders seem to echo this theme in the film; leadership is best understood as a life journey with undulating peaks and valleys. Frequently, this requires us to look beyond the chimera of mere appearances and this especially telling when one gets to grips with the personal history of highly effective leaders; It’s not easy to sink beneath the burdens of being falsely accused and yet nurture the dream of the great come back kid (Anuar Ibrahim), having to deal with crippling illness and yet finding the courage somehow to carry on as best one can for the sake of the common good (Roosevelt), having to raise a severely handicapped daughter, yet keeping bitterness in abeyance because one needs to nurture hope to rebuild a war torn country (de Gaulle) and even having the moral fiber to believe in the promise of redemption when all the world seems to do is to moved on leaving you it’s wake (Nelson Mandela) – these are just some of the windy roads to name a few that world class leaders have successfully walked.


[This debut article was once written by Jasta 1 & Catherine The Great / It was once posted in ASICS and PBK – This article has been rediscovered by the FILB /  The Brotherhood Press 2008]


[Do you want a full 360° sweep of “Deregulating The Net?” Do consider bookmarking this excellent site to keep abreast of the  Internet Deregulation debate – FILB 2008]


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