Forrest Gump

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Its been more than ten years since I last saw this movie. I finally got around to getting it on DVD. Seeing it again made me remember how much I liked it the first time I saw it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comForrest Gump has to be my favorite feel good movie of all time. The movie came out in 1994, and is loosely based on a novel written by Winston Groom in 1985. It starred Tom Hanks and was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who is also known for his directorial work in the Back to the Future trilogy. The movie garnered six Academy Awards, noteworthy of which were the Best Picture and Best Director awards.

It is a little known fact that Groom's book had a sequel named Gump and Co., but he refused to sell the film rights to Paramount, and as such, it has never been made into a movie. It may be just as well. Forrest Gump the movie differs significantly from the book in characterization, historical background, plot lines, and various small details, despite sharing similarities in the overall story.

The movie is about a person named Forrest Gump, who was born in Greenbow, Alabama. He was born with a deformed spine ("as crooked as a politician" according to his doctor) as well as a low IQ. While his spine was eventually straightened out, his low IQ stays for the rest of his life, and it is this "disability" of sorts which gives him a very simplistic, yet sometimes poignant view of the various events which take place during his life, including certain incidents with historical significance.

As a movie it is very entertaining, though historically it is quite inaccurate. This is not the liability that it may seem, since the movie was never intended by the makers to be a documentary. It is, however, presented as a modern day fable, albeit set in the post-war "Baby Boomer" generation. It attempts to impart certain values and moral principles to the viewer which are highly simplified when viewed through Forrest's eyes. At the same time, it makes the viewer aware of certain key events in history.

Forrest's child-like innocence creates a fresh perspective on various subjects ranging from the fundamental, such as love, friendship and loyalty, to the political, such as racial integration, the peace movement, and the war in Vietnam. It also offers some insights on parenthood, death, fate and destiny. The movie succeeds in conveying all of these to the viewer without being too preachy in any way, a tribute to excellent writing.

Not everyone likes this movie though. Some think Forrest's ignorance and naïveté are too richly rewarded, and it is indifferent to some dark chapters in history. To me its not much of an issue though. Forrest's character may not serve as a good intellectual example, but it nonetheless encourages us with the notion that most people are inherently good on the inside, particularly when stripped of all the intellectual baggage responsible for creating malice. As for its historical indifference, the movie gives plenty of leeway to the viewer to come up with his or her own views and opinions regarding these events, perhaps even the curiosity to learn about these events for him or herself.

The critics may have their criticisms, but it does not take away from the fact that this is still a pretty good movie, very enjoyable, and highly entertaining. By the time the end credits roll, you're bound to feel better about yourself. And perhaps, look at life's challenges in a less complicated way.

My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

- Forrest Gump


Trivia:

This is one of the three Tom Hanks movies (along with Saving Private Ryan and Apollo 13) where socks play a role in the plot. During the war, Lieutenant Dan's main advice to Gump is for him to keep his feet clean and dry, and change his socks often. (In Apollo 13, Sinise's character walks the Hanks' crew through a crucial process involving socks, and in Saving Private Ryan, Hanks and his men use socks as containers for improvised explosive devices used to destroy German tanks.)

Reference:

Forrest Gump - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Comments

rain said…
run forrest, run! loved this film :-)
Ronald Allan said…
I can actually imagine you say that: "Run Forrest! Run!" :-)
evi said…
good trivia. this is the reason why i love to come here because it is not merely a blog of thoughts but more of a blog of information.
Ronald Allan said…
Really? Thanks. :-)

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