Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump 1994

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Tom Hanks, Sally Field and Robbin Wright

I remember seeing this film with my dad and my sister, and I absolutely fell in love with the movie. For me, I loved the combination of this fictional character taking us through the history of the United States. By 1994, I was interested in the stories and events of the 60’s and 70’s because I discovered The Beatles and other great artist from that era, and in this movie covers a lot of those important events. Winning the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Tom Hanks, this movie stands the test of time to remain one of the greatest films ever, in my opinion. 

Based on the novel by Winston Groom, the story centers around the life of Forrest Gump. We begin at 1981 at a bench as Forrest is waiting for a bus, he starts telling his story to the people that sit next to him. His story starts as his mother takes him to the doctor to get leg braces to fix his back and tries to get him to a regular school in spite the fact that due to his mental intelligence the school believed he would be better at a special school. The key part of the story is that there he met Jenny, who would become his friend and the one he would love. As he grows we see him do extraordinary things like running fast and earning a football scholarship, become a war hero, a ping pong star and a shrimp boat captain. Along the way he meets Elvis, John Kennedy and John Lennon, and we see him being part of important events in history. 

One of the amazing things in the movie is how they were able to put Tom Hanks in new footages, tv shows as if he was actually there. There is a scene where a football team meets the president and they make it look as if Kennedy shook Forrest’s hand, and in the Dick Cavett Show he replaces Yoko Ono to sit next to John Lennon in an actual interview he did. 

The effects are great, but the heart of the movie is the characters. The first important character is Forrest Gump after all the movie is seen through the innocence of his point of view. We get to see, in this not so “smart” man, how important it is to treat other people and to do good. Another important character is Forrest’s mother, she always taught him to believe that he was no different and really fought for her son to have the same opportunities as the rest. The other main character is Jenny, the love of his life and his first friend. Jenny is the character who goes through a lot, as for me she represented the dark side of the drugs and freedom of the hippie culture. She is taken to dark moments as she never seemed to recover from her childhood until the end when she marries Forrest. The other main character is Lieutenant Dan Taylor, who he met and saved his life in the war. He is an important character as his life is changed through his relationship with Forrest. He has a hard time after being paralyzed in the war, especially when he felt his destiny was to die in the war like all his relatives. 

Another important element in the movie is the music, the soundtrack is diverse and covers a lot of music from such a great era. With songs from artists like The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, The Doors, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops and many others. The soundtrack is a great collection of songs including some that were not used in the film. 

The performances are so great in the movie, but for me, two performances stand out. The first, obviously, is Tom Hanks in an Oscar-winning performance is simply on top form as Forrest. And the other is Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan, that scene in the storm where he is fighting with God is so great and how in the next morning we see how the character has made peace with his life, is an amazing piece of work. Sally Field also gives a great supporting performance. 

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