Quiet, small-scale, and self-contained dramas such as Antwone Fisher can be powered in one direction or another by the smallest detail. For title character (and real person) Fisher (Derek Luke), a sailor serving in the U.S. Navy, it's an ill-advised fistfight with a fellow officer that sparks his emotional odyssey. The outburst is sudden, swift, and virtually unprovoked. The resulting path to redemption is alternately slow, painful, inspirational, and satisfying for Fisher as well as the audience.

Following his scuffle, the Navy hustles Fisher into therapy, where the man's true demons - and the film's true purpose - can be explored. Fisher is observed by superior officer Dr. Jerome Davenport (Washington), who is given three sessions to dig up the root of his new patient's moody swings. The normal teacher/student routines set in, largely characterized by Fisher's initial resistance and Davenport's tough love.

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