December 2002
Antwone Fisher

Reviewed by Chika Chukudebelu

Antwone Fisher

Antwone Fisher Movie Poster
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Director: Denzel Washington
Screenwriter: Antwone Fisher
Producers: Todd Black, Antwone Fisher, Randa Haines, Nancy Paloian, Chris Smith, Denzel Washington
Cast: Derek Luke, Joy Bryant, Denzel Washington, Salli Richardson
Running Time: 120 mins
Official Site:

Derek Luke in Fox Searchlight's Antwone Fisher - 2002

Derek Luke and Joy Bryant in Fox Searchlight's Antwone Fisher - 2002

Derek Luke, Joy Bryant and Denzel Washington in Fox Searchlight's Antwone Fisher - 2002 


Denzel Washington offers us a Black manís coming of age story with the grace and honesty that any of his peers would be hard pressed to match. For his directorial debut, Washington chose the heartwarming story of Navy Seaman Antwone Fisher (played by Derek Luke) who, as an adult, faces the demons that haunt him from his childhood. As a result of Fisherís anger management problems, he is forced to seek the psychiatric help that will change his life forever.

Antwone Fisher is a man who suffered many abuses as a child: verbal, physical, sexual and emotional. Raised in the foster system, Fisherís care was never on the top of anyoneís priority list until he meets naval psychiatrist Jerome Davenport (played by Denzel Washington). Ordered to receive psychiatric treatment, Fisher initially refuses to open up to the man who probes the surface of his angry exterior. The laws of self-preservation have taught him well and trust is not something that he easily places in others. Davenport, realizing that this is not an issue that can be forced, uses patience as his weapon of choice in breaking down Fisherís defenses. Eventually Fisher allows Davenport into the world of his childhood and the many unresolved family issues that are manifesting themselves in his adulthood. Encouraged by Davenport and his sweetheart, fellow Seaman Cheryl Smolley (played by Joy Bryant), Fisher sets out to find the biological family he always dreamed about but never knew.

In a time period when Black men are rarely allowed to express vulnerability, Washington deftly explores the catalyst behind one manís seemingly violent exterior. Absent are the easy attention getters: unnecessary violence and gratuitous sex. The story that real-life Antwone Fisher has woven together confronts the issue about the emotional state of todayís young Black boys and questions our communityís commitment to their well-being. Lukeís performance is delivered with such compassion that there wonít be a dry eye in the house.



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