Finding Forrester features several different themes throughout the film, all with a deeper meaning behind them. Some of the most obvious themes are those of writing, racism, and sports, but what about the other more hidden ones? Within the story, there are less identifiable themes such as self acceptance, racism, emotional strength, and family. The film, written by Mike Rich, incorporate several ideas which are up to us to discover. In the story, writing is obviously one of the most prominent themes, appearing throughout the movie. The writing themes holds the self acceptance theme within it. In the beginning, Jamal is reluctant to embrace that he is a good writer. He hasn’t ever really opened up to anyone about it, not until Forrester ended up reading through all his notes unwantedly. Forrester helps Jamal accept his skills for what they are, and helps him grow and develop his talents, leading Jamal to be open about his passion for writing. The racism theme, which can be seen by the way Jamal is mistreated by his teacher Crawford, who assumes that Jamal’s writing couldn’t possibly be that good, and that he must have plagiarized. Although it is never directly said, it is implied that it was because Jamal was black, and only one of the white kids at the school could really have that level of intelligence in writing. In the beginning of the movie, Forrester also challenges Jamal by mentioning Jamal’s race, and telling him why Jamal can’t let it matter, because it doesn’t. Family is the theme that isn’t really noticeable until the end of the movie, when it is made clear that Jamal and Forrester have made a connection deeper than just a mentor and his student. Forrester had lost family and had become withdrawn, and Jamal helped him remember what it was like to feel love for someone, and trust. Without that sense of family, Jamal never would have been able to claim his writing for his own for that writing competition, because without Forrester’s permission for the intro paragraph, Jamal could have potentially been expelled from the school.
The purposes behind the themes are a different idea entirely. It’s taking the themes to a whole new level of understanding; it’s figuring out why the topics were even brought up in the first place. I think that Mike Rich was trying to reach out to his audience on a deeper level, for those who could identify it. Within his many themes, his purpose seemed to tell people that they shouldn’t let what others think control them. A person shouldn’t give up on himself, and although some people may be trying to discourage them, they shouldn’t give up. I can also see that the writer of the film is against racism, and doesn’t think that it should be a barrier for people. Through Jamal’s acceptance and excelling in the prep school, we can see that Rich might also value education, even if it means being in an unfamiliar place. From what I can see of Jamal’s and Forrester’s relationship, I can tell that the film was also intending for people to know that family is important, and having those deeper bonds with someone. Without them, a person might not even be able to advance in their skills, or really move on through life once faced with challenges. The most obvious purpose I can draw from this movie was that a person must live to their full potential, even if it may be “uncool” to certain people, if it is the thing they love, then it shouldn’t matter. No matter what others tell them, if what they’re doing makes the person happy and they think they’re doing the right thing- then they shouldn’t be stopped, because every person deserves a chance to do what they believe they should be doing.