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Antwone Fisher

Starring Derek Luke and Denzel Washington
Screenplay by Antwone Fisher
Directed by Denzel Washington

IN SHORT: The most jaw dropping stories are always the true ones. [Rated PG-13 for violence, language and mature thematic material involving child abuse. 117 minutes]

Every once in a while we get to sit for a film that must be made an example of. The kind that blows big sloppy raspberries at textbook writers or professors that teach how to make a professional film." The ones that specify how to build a three act structure, emphasis on backstory and parallel subplots and so fort.Or the studio suits that wouldn't be caught dead risking millions of dollars on a first time screenwriter AND a first time director. BUT sometimes they get made and sometimes especially at holiday season, a film like Antwone Fisher is greatly appreciated. While most of the events in Fisher's bio occurred, the film avoids any cliche that a hack would subject us to.

Then again, the first time director is actor Denzel Washington, who knows a bit about acting and demonstrates a sure hand in guiding newbie Derek Luke in his paces.

All the background you need to know is that Antwone Fisher's father was shot to death by a girlfriend two months before he was born. Antwone's mother was in jail when she gave birth. Mom left the prison system, and her baby, behind shortly thereafter. Raised in foster care, his loving foster family tortured him in the name of Jesus. His only way out is the US Navy, which he joins at his earliest opportunity. Eleven years later, all the rage and anger that has been building all his life comes erupting out and Fisher, impressively played by first timer Luke, faces the military boot. The officer assigned to make the preliminary evaluation is psychiatrist Dr. Jerome Davenport (Washington), who has three and only three meetings with the sailor to determine what is to be done.

Antwone Fisher may raise parallels in your mind to fictional stories of a child raised with no family who eventually finds one. The truths of this man's life almost make his eventual rehabilitation and recovery impossible to believe, but Luke and Washington pull it all off brilliantly. Yes, there are love interests for both men but this film shines when only this pair are on screen, working through all the crap. It's ending, which we won't spill, is more heartwarming than sentimental, though there wasn't a dry eye in our theater when we saw the film.

This film is the third we've sat through this Christmas season first time directed by actors. It is the only one worth seeing. Don't ask what the others were.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Antwone Fisher, he would have paid . . .


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