A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
A sailor prone to violent outbursts is sent to a naval psychiatrist for help. Refusing at first to open up, the young man eventually breaks down and reveals a horrific childhood. Through the guidance of his doctor, he confronts his painful past and begins a quest to find the family he never knew. Written by
Thanks to Commander, Navy Region Southwest; Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Navy ships USS Tarawa (LHA-1), USS Belleauwood (LHA-3), USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USS Constellation (CV-64) USS Peleliu (LHA-5). See more »
Not having seen the film in the original theater release, I was happily surprised when the DVD arrived, since this film did not have the wide distribution it merited.
Denzel Washington directorial debut and the finished product have nothing to envy other films about the same theme by more accomplished directors. The film has a very professional look. It shows that Mr. Washington has learned a lot being on the other side of the camera. He brings a different angle to this film.
One of the best things the film has is, without a doubt, the fine performance by Derek Luke. He is an actor who, with the right guidance, will go far, no doubt. His take on the troubled young man, at this point of his life, in turmoil and suffering for a bad hand life, up to now, has dealt him, is very true. His Antwone is a fine portrait of a man in pain who is basically very good and has so much to give, but no one seems to see that side of his character.
At the worst time of his despair, Antwone is sent to Dr. Davenport, played by Mr. Washington, in a very sober, if somehow subdued manner. Because of the angst within Antwone, he misses the opportunity of opening himself to this man, who wants to help, but because of the constrains placed on his office, just have three sessions and then has to dismiss his patient.
Things work out, as Antwone is able to convince the doctor to keep on working with him. Antwone's past is revealed in detail. The abuse he suffers at the hands of Mrs. Tate, his foster mother, is brutal, to say the least. The attempt at the hand of an older woman in the Tate's household of a sexual molestation, gives Antwone a bitter taste that stays with him throughout his adult life, as he has been scarred by the shame he carries with him.
Antwone finds love at last with Cheryl, who is patient enough to make him see a different world by the love she and support she gives him.
The lead performances are very good indeed. Denzel Washington's Dr. Davenport has his own problems too. He is not a happy camper either. He can help Antwone, but he cannot help himself, or his relationship with an adoring wife.
The talent in the film is incredible. Joy Bryant makes a fine Cheryl. Novella Nelson, who is a fine actress is superb as Mrs. Tate, the abusing foster mother.
The reunion of Antwone with his unknown family is a bit too sugary and sentimental, but of course, if one is to believe that Fisher finds happiness at last, one has to accept that part of the film as well.
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