Antwone Fisher and Dr. Wonderful 1 Antwone Fisher and Dr. Wonderful Sam Fisher English II Professor Benandre February 16, 2009 Antwone Fisher and Dr. Wonderful 2 Antwone Fisher and Dr. Wonderful Antwone Fisher is a film about a young African American sailor with anger issues his troubled past and the Psychiatrist who helps him confront his demons. This film has many things in common with Good Will Hunting both of them feature a Dr. Wonderful character, a Psychiatrist who helps the patient deal with a demon from his past and after a few sessions voila the emotional wound is healed. It’s a film of confrontations, with the past and present. Antwone Fisher goes into the same category as great films such as Good Will Hunting, where the troubled protagonist is forced to see a psychiatrist at first resists and then opens up and the psychiatrist and patient end up helping each other make realizations about oneself and making changes to better themselves. Both movies suggest rather than putting in hours of hard work, that psychological problems can be solved simply by confronting ones painful past and having a good cry as both movies portray in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams character tells Matt Damon its okay its not his fault gets him to cry and voila there is an epiphany Damon’s character realizes what he needs to do to be a successful human being. A similar scene in Antwone Fisher at Antwone’s graduation of his Japanese classes when Dr. Davenport tells Antwone its time to move on and come to terms with his past, Antwone reacts by getting angry because he at first feels that Davenport is abandoning him. Antwone cries Davenport tells him it is okay and explains that he needs to go and find his family in Cleveland, and voila epiphany Antwone goes on a search for his family as a well-balanced individual. Films like these are dangerous, in both films but more in Antwone Fisher the Doctor Patient Antwone Fisher and Dr. Wonderful 3 relationship is violated, Antwone meets at Davenport’s house, goes to his thanksgiving dinner, Davenport becomes more of a father figure than a Psychiatrist to Antwone. Survival, Antwone survives throughout the entire film, he survives being beaten the foster home, survives after being abandoned by his mother. Antwone chooses ways to survive, after his best friend Jesse is killed robbing a store he survives by joining the Navy, after being abused he runs to his friends house where he finds some asylum. Family and roots, the film shows that part of Antwone’s self discovery is connecting with people. Throughout his years he built a protective barrier around himself so he could not be abandoned and kept himself away from human interaction through touching. That’s why hands are so important in the Thanksgiving scene at Davenport’s house, in the prayer before the meal everyone at the table is holding hands they are connected to one another and all comfortable as the camera pans around to each set of hands and then to Antwone’s face to show that he is unsure of what to think, but then feels comfortable inside of the circle, realizes that inside the circle he is safe. Like the opening scene when little Antwone is alone and then led into a room full of all his relatives past and present and is given pancakes, because if there is the smell of pancakes he is safe. “If it smelled like pancakes I was okay” (Washington 2003) this leads to the final scene after confronting his mother he steps into his uncle’s house and is greeted with open arms by his whole extended family, then the matriarch of the family takes Antwone’s hands into hers and says welcome creating that safe environment of love and understanding, and he knows its okay because there are pancakes. Antwone Fisher written by Antwone Fisher the film is based on his life although some of the characters and situations are false. The film was directorial debut of Denzel Antwone Fisher and Dr. Wonderful 4 Washington who skillfully coaxes great performances out of his entire cast including himself. In his first film Washington does not take the subtle route, his gestures in the film are large, such as the opening scene of Antwone’s dream where he is standing alone out in a field subject to the winds without any protection, which is what the adult Antwone feels he does not have any family to fall back on, so in the dream Antwone is led into a room full of relatives as the music starts into a minor chord which becomes sweeter and more melodic as he see’s what is on the table and his families joy of having him. Of course there are pancakes but before he can feel safe he is startled awake by the things that changed him a woman’s face a gunshot wound and a cowbell, those represent the ways Antwone was abandoned and why he is angry at the world. The lighting in the film is very contrasted in parts of the film where terrible demons are confronted the lighting is dark and the camera focuses on Antwone such as the scene in the brig where Antwone is beginning to recount the tale of his sexually abusive babysitter. Or in the Davenport’s office it is usually very light where growth and reflection is happening. The Actors of this film do a great job directed by one of the greatest actors of the past few years Denzel Washington his great knowledge of screen acting clearly shows in the way he handles his cast. Derek Luke who plays Antwone Fisher, when we first meet him, the character coiled like a spring ready to defend himself from the hostile world, his walk is part of his defensive shell a kind of alpha male strut yet something that does not attract to much attention his costume is mostly his military uniform except for the emotional zenith of the film when he confronts his mother and discovers his fathers family where he is wearing a light blue sweater similar to the color but on newborn male babies to symbolize that he is new that world is alien to him. Denzel Washington who Antwone Fisher and Dr. Wonderful 5 plays Dr. Jerome Davenport, the good doctor who has a stiff upper lip until Antwone makes him look deeper into himself. Washington plays Davenport convincingly making the audience believe that is his life day in and out. His costume, which generally consists of officer’s khaki uniform, and something that distinguishes him as a learned man a cardigan or pair of reading glasses perched on his nose. Antwone Fisher is not a film that breaks genre boundaries but a film that fits into the good doctor movie and the facing ones own demons. Though it is dangerous what the movie does by possibly convincing the public that personal problems can be solved when the psychiatrist bends the rules and breaks the doctor patient relationship that the persons problems will be solved incredibly quickly sadly that is not the case. Denzel proves he can direct as well as act in this sweeping emotional film that leaves with a lump in their throat at many points during the film. Antwone Fisher and Dr. Wonderful 6 References Holden, Stephen (2002, December 19). A Director and Hero Find Answers in Detail. The New York Times. Mcfarlane, S. (2004). Antwone Fisher: How dangerous is “Dr. Wonderful”?. Australasian Psychiatry. 12(2). 176-178. Washington, D. (Director). (2003). Antwone Fisher [Motion Picture]. US: Fox Searchlight Pictures.