by Gary Johnson
Gus Van Sant's Finding Forrester follows the pattern established with Good Will Hunting -- so mush so that you'll undoubtedly hear critics referring to it as Good Will Forrester. Both films are about exceptionally intelligent young men who hide their intelligence behind a seemingly ordinary exterior. And both young men discover themselves in the presence of mentors who help bring out their best qualities, and in the process the mentors find their own lives enriched. The similarities between the stories indicate a more formulaic approach for Van Sant, who throughout most of his career has been an unpredicatble director. Films such as Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, and To Die For are surprisingly original and witty. With their devotion to marginalized characters, they're definitely not typical mainstream fodder.
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