Last Updated on October 2, 2021 by Sean Donlevy
Given what a huge success “Forrest Gump” was when it was first presented in movie theaters in 1994 and given how many Oscars it won, one would have easily thought that Hollywood had found a new golden theme to make a movie on. In fact, it did not. The following year did not offer films with surviving heroes or the same reverence for American domestic political history that there was obviously a big craving for.
This may not be something to mourn, as it is not uncommon for Hollywood to exploit good ideas, but we hardly believe it is the goodness behind it, but rather that “Forrest Gump” has a rather unique script at its core.
The script, in turn, is based on a novel by Winston Groom. Tom Hanks was a star even before “Forrest Gump” but it should not be denied that the film gave him another powerful push up to the sky and brought him to the top amongst actors. Despite the number of computer effects that the man is forced to work for, he does every move and articulation in a totally convincing way. The film follows Forrest through his life where Mum and his childhood friend and later love interest Jenny play the biggest roles. Forrest slides through life and, apparently, accidentally gets to go to college, ends up in the army, becomes a ping-pong professional, shrimp captain, and more. Through an epic storytelling style, we get to follow Forrest and those closest to him and see how fate shapes his life.
There is no doubt that the film is a storytelling genius. It skips all conventional dramatic conventions – for example, there are no major twists in history and one can never be entirely sure what happens next. A story is often predictable because, as a spectator, you have learned to interpret the usual dramatic structure, where we usually have our protagonist and our antagonist and the moment when the two schools meet. “Forrest Gump” sneaks past the conventions and captivates the viewer in a way that is quite fascinating as well as unusual and it is of course that “Forrest Gump” is not a cheat building – here is a story and it can be told in whatever way it is told on.
“Forrest Gump” was also a sobering step forward for special effects in the film. As one of the first films, they actually fool the viewer in a rather unexpected way. Since we know that Tom Hanks never met John F. Kennedy, we see the trick scene where he does it with some skepticism, just as we have always seen special effects before. However, when we see Gary Sinise with amputated legs, we do not think for a moment that this is done in a computer and it is precisely in these scenes that the effects in the film are so groundbreaking. Effects need not be explosions and monsters, it may as well be a man’s amputated leg.
The actors are top-notch, the effects brilliant and the storytelling technique impeccable. The very essence of the film is random – from the first scene with the swirling feather to the last, the film tries to show us how randomness governs our lives and that one should seize the chances when it comes. Now, though, if you take a closer look at the movie, it is not at all by chance that governs Forrest’s life, but Mom, God, and the government. It is also thanks to these three elements that things are going well for Forrest in life.
If we take a closer look at the girl Forrest loves, Jenny, then they are each other’s complete opposites. Jenny is impulsive and intelligent and questions her existence and governing power while growing up with an intense hatred of her destructive father. What happens to this seemingly healthy girl in life?
She gets stripped, gets beaten by her boyfriend, gets stuck in the crap, and finally dies in AIDS. The message in the movie, in the light of this reasoning, becomes pretty clear – do what Mommy, God and the State say to you, it will go well for you in life, no matter how stupid in your head you are. Personally, I think it’s a pretty awful message, but the worst part of all is that the film pretends to say something different and I find it both unnecessary and old-fashioned when the film is so groundbreaking in other ways.
If I had to choose one of Tom Hank’s films as his best, it will undoubtedly be Forrest Gump. He has done many different roles and usually succeeds in interpreting odd characters. Admittedly, you can say that Forrest Gump is odd, yet he somehow personifies the best in us all.
Forrest is not very smart. He is on the lower side of the scale in terms of intellectual ability. But instead, he is a champion at EQ. We meet him the first time he sits on a bark bench and reflects on his life.
There is also a lot of humor and Forrest has the ability to take care of the universe, while taking care of everything and everyone. Not least his best friend Jenny Curran (Robin Wright), whose sad history makes her feel comfortable with Forrest. Besides, she understands him better than many others, even though his mom (Sally Field) does everything for him.
The best thing about Forrest Gump is that there is such a clear red thread throughout the story. The theme is clear and it is a theme that is needed more than ever today. You don’t have to be the smartest or best at math, everyone is needed and everyone can make a difference. Watch Forrest Gump today and be reminded of how important it really is to be kind.
That said, the movie is well worth its Oscars in respective areas. Still, every thinking person should be a little suspicious of what the movie really is trying to mediate.