"It don't matter what you tried to do, you couldn't destroy me! I'm still standing! I'm still strong! And I always will be."- Antwone Fisher
"Antwone Fisher" is based on the true story of amn by the same name, which is what makes this film so compelling. Mr. Fisher was working as a security guard on the Sony Studio Lot and when people heard his life story, everyone told him it would make a fantastic screenplay. They were right. This film was directed by Denzel Washington, and gives us Derek Lukes' first role on the big screen. You may also know Derek Luke as "Boobie" Miles in "Friday Night Lights".
Antwone Fisher was born in a women's correctional facility in Cleveland, Ohio, and given away to an orphanage where he was taken in at two years old. His father died before he was born, so he really had no one. The woman who takes him in is an evil, vile, woman who physically and mentally abuses the young boy in terrible, disturbing ways. His older foster sister abuses him as well, and Antwone suffers through this until he moves out as a teenager. Back to the shelter, then out on the streets. After a short time with no direction, Fisher joins the United States Navy, and is stationed on a battleship in California. He struggles constantly with what I felt was post-traumatic stress, and the slightest disrepect toward him is met with furious outrage, which lands Fisher in a Naval Psychiatrists office. Dr. Jerome Davenport (Denzel Washigton), is dealing with issues of his own in his marriage, and when these two meet, it is life changing for both of them. After a very stubborn battle of silence by both men over weeks of appointments, Fisher begins to unravel his terrifying tale of youth. The two men form a very strong bond over time, and Dr. Davenport finally decides that it is time that Fisher seek out his birth mother, and find out if he has any other relatives to speak of. Fisher and his girlfriend (Joy Bryant) travel to Cleveland to see if they can find Antwones' family.
This story was so touching. In a way, it reminded me of "Good Will Hunting", in that the two storylines are fairly similar, and I was very impressed with the performance of both Derek Luke, and Malcolm David Kelley, who played Fisher at age 7. Kelley plays Walt on the popular t.v. series "Lost", and he shows decent range here in a very challenging role for such a young man.
The growth we see in Fisher from a scared, antisocial ball of anger, into a charming, caring young man is truly inspirational. If this man, who fought so many demons and went through more hell than most of us could ever imagine, can reinvent himself and find hope and joy in this life, then there is hope for all of us.