Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Antwone Fisher

Antwone Fisher is a movie that's been around since 2002 but I just got around to watching it the other day. It's inspired by a true story, although at the end of the movie there's a disclaimer that says some of the characters and events are fictitious.

The movie stars Denzel Washington in the role of Navy psychiatrist Jerome Davenport, and Derek Luke as angry Navy seaman Antwone Fisher. It was Luke's first movie role. He's good as Fisher, a young man who has experienced a tragic and seemingly endless amount of pain in his life. Fisher never knew his father (he was murdered before Fisher was born), was abandoned by his no-good mother, and was adopted by mean foster parents (who unfortunately serve the movie as your stereotypically hypocritical Christians - ugh!!).

Most of the film revolves around the relationship between Fisher and Davenport, who moves from being Fisher's shrink to becoming the father he never had. There are many touching moments as Davenport relentlessly pursues Fisher's heart and helps him open up to his painful past. I was reminded of my own journey of exploring places of brokenness and pain in my life, although thank God I never went through anything like the crap Fisher did.

There's a wonderful scene at the very beginning of the movie. Fisher as a forlorn little boy is standing in a field gazing at a barn. The doors of the barn slowly open, and inside are dozens of people waiting for him to come in. Fisher sees a long table laden with food of every description - food he's been deprived of. All these people the boy has never met are smiling at him, beckoning him inside. Then as the boy comes into the barn they touch him and hug him and clap for him and laugh with him. There's a big celebration as Antwone Fisher, who never knew love, is swarmed by people who are proud of him and enjoy him.

I don't think I've ever seen a better movie illustration of heaven than that one.

Despite this and other good scenes, I didn't just love Antwone Fisher. For one thing, I'm not a big fan of Denzel Washington, who also directed the movie. I feel like he's exactly the same character in every film he's in. Also, it had the look and feel of a made-for-TV movie for me, almost like something you'd see on the Lifetime Channel. The orchestral music throughout was just terrible, in my opinion, and made things way too syrupy sweet. I would have liked the movie better if it had been more raw. To really depict Antwone Fisher's life accurately, it probably should have been an R-rated movie.

Aside from that, as a sanitized version of a life that is broken and redeemed by unconditional love, Antwone Fisher serves it up quite well.

No comments: