Antwone Fisher: The Directorial Debut of Denzel Washington

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I missed "Antwone Fisher" in the theaters, but when I saw it at home recently on DVD, I found it very emotionally involving. I realize the film is somewhat formulaic and sometimes overly sentimentalized, but I liked it a lot anyway. It seems to me the movie has an underlying earnestness, and it managed to bring tears to my eyes. There really is a man named Antwone Fisher, and you can see and hear him on a featurette on the DVD. Fisher is credited with writing the screenplay for the movie "Antwone Fisher" based on his life experiences. He has also written a memoir titled "Finding Fish" about those experiences. The film "Antwone Fisher" marks the directing debut of Denzel Washington, who also appears in the movie in a supporting role. The central character, however, is played by newcomer Derek Luke, and I thought he was outstanding in the title role. The title character's love interest is played by Joy Bryant, another newcomer, and I found her to be a charming and attractive actress, but the script doesn't develop her character much. In the film, Antwone Fisher (Luke) is a 24-year-old African-American enlisted man in the U.S. Navy. Antwone repeatedly gets in trouble for fighting and is ordered to see Dr. Jerome Davenport (Washington), a Navy psychiatrist. While Antwone has a series of meetings with Dr. Davenport, the young sailor begins a romantic relationship with a lovely young enlisted woman named Cheryl (Bryant), who works at the Base Exchange. All this takes place in the San Diego area, and as the story develops, we are treated to some nice shots along the California coast. Through Antwone's conversations with Dr. Davenport, we find out what has made him such a troubled young man: Antwone's father died before he was born, his mother abandoned him, and he was raised in a foster home where he was abused. The needy Antwone wants Dr. Davenport and his wife to be his surrogate parents, and I thought it was interesting the way the psychiatrist handled this...
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