Based on a true story, a biographical drama centering upon Antwone "Fish" Fisher who--once a Sony Pictures security guard--eventually gained fame as an acclaimed writer and a Hollywood producer. In the earlier part of his life, he was a sailor prone to violent outbursts. On the verge of being kicked out of the Navy for repeated fighting, he 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 rife with abuse. With the help of a Navy psychiatrist, he turns his life around and decides to embark on a search to find the family that abandoned him as a baby. Through the guidance of his doctor, he confronts his painful past and begins a quest to find the family he never knew. In the course of that search, his life changes dramatically.
This inspirational film is the rare male weepie that transcends its own sentimentality to leave you feeling released, enlightened and in deeper touch with humanity. The movie offers two auspicious debuts: Denzel Washington's as a first-rate director of actors, and Derek Luke's as Antwone, an angry young sailor who with the help of a navy psychiatrist (Mr. Washington) begins to heal many of his childhood wounds. Those wounds run deep for a character who was born in prison and brought up in a foster home where he endured physical and sexual abuse. The film takes pains to portray that abuse (which involved racial insults) as belonging to a pattern of social dysfunction instilled in African-Americans by white slaveowners and passed down through the generations. — Stephen Holden
2002-12-19 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Antwone Fisher