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ANTWONE FISHER

An emotionally volatile sailor in danger of going off the deep end is rescued by a shrink who senses the pain beneath the young man’s hostile behavior.

(Now in stores)

CAST: Derek Luke, Denzel Washington, Malcolm David Kelley, Cory Hodges, Joy Bryant, Salli Richardson, Leonard Earl Howze, Kente Scott, Kevin Connolly, Rainoldo Gooding, Novella Nelson

DIRECTOR: Denzel Washington

"'Antwone Fisher,' the story of a troubled young African-American sailor whose sessions with a Navy psychiatrist prod him to embark on a scary but ultimately healing journey of self-discovery, is a movie so profoundly in touch with its own feelings that it transcends its formulaic tics...As a director Mr. Washington shows a confident grasp of cinematic narrative in a hearty meat-and-potatoes style. But the most remarkable aspect of his behind-the-camera debut is his brilliantly surefooted handling of actors...from Derek Luke, the newcomer who plays the movie's title character, he has elicited a compelling and complex character study that strikes a universal chord. Mr. Luke's performance is hands down the year's most auspicious screen acting debut." -- Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"‘Antwone Fisher,’ based on the true story of the man who wrote the screenplay, is a film that begins with the everyday lives of naval personnel in San Diego and ends with scenes so true and heartbreaking that tears welled up in my eyes both times I saw the film…Hard to believe Derek Luke is a newcomer; easy to believe why Washington decided he was the right actor to play Antwone Fisher." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"... an assured directorial debut that goes straight for the tear ducts...Even though 'Antwone Fisher' aims unequivocally for that 'Beautiful Mind' category of filmmaking, in which difficult human complexities meet stand-up-and-cheer solutions, it's very affecting...As Antwone, newcomer Luke aches with vulnerability." -- Desson Howe, The Washington Post

"Not only is it unusual that this emotional story of how a damaged boy became a whole man made it to the screen at all, it is a measure of its strengths that it overcomes storytelling flaws that would have disabled a weaker project...If 'Antwone Fisher' works in fits and starts, that cannot be said of Luke's performance in the title role. The young actor has great presence on screen, bringing this character with a formidable chip on his shoulder alive in an unforced way...Much of the credit for this goes to Washington, who has wisely avoided getting distracted by technical fripperies and has instead concentrated in his directing debut on infusing his distinctively natural style on his young cast." -- Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"Denzel Washington, in his debut as a director, delivers a solid piece of craftsmanship... Newcomer Luke cuts to the heart as Antwone, Joy Bryant shines as his girlfriend, and Novella Nelson is scarily good as the foster parent who raised Antwone when his mother abandoned him. The uniformly fine performances are a tribute to Washington, who plays the shrink with his customary command." -- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"To dismiss 'Antwone Fisher' as derivative would be to deny its considerable emotional power as well as its ability to use these familiar elements to tell a story about African-American families--and families in general--that feels new after all. It earns the tears that it jerks...'Antwone Fisher' most of all celebrates family in a way that's deeply felt by the director and screenwriter/subject and no doubt will be shared by viewers of any ethnicity. The movie is in touch not only with the deadened nerve endings that accompany isolation but also the rejuvenating powers of a warm embrace." -- Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

''‘Antwone Fisher’ succeeds not as Washington's vanity project (he's very good as the shrink), but as a rich, solid, well-mounted feat of storytelling…Antwone Fisher -- as lit from within by Luke, who has a pure smile that has never before been seen on a black actor in the movies – is a good kid who has had a rotten life. For sure, ‘Antwone Fisher’ is corny. But it's corny in a way that a Hollywood movie about a boy who just wants to go home ought to be corny." --Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

"In his directing debut, Denzel Washington applies the same authenticity he's demonstrated as an actor to this true-life story of a troubled young man's remarkable triumph over adversity. ‘Antwone Fisher’ is an Oscar-worthy, emotionally honest, feel-good saga with a universality that stands out in a season of singularly depressing and cynical Hollywood product." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post