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Forrest Gump

December 20, 2010

869. Forrest Gump
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
USA, 1994
IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Rachel
First viewing


Forrest Gump sits on a bench in a busy town and tells his life story to whomever is sitting next to him. Despite being rather simple, Forrest has had some incredible successes and has been present at many of America’s historic moments. But all that matters to Forrest is his childhood best friend Jenny, and the friends he has made during his unique life.

Essential Scene:

Forrest is part of the “All America” football team, which is granted the honour of meeting President John F. Kennedy. (Kennedy and Forrest meet thanks to a very clever combination of old footage and CGI.)

Forrest: [voice-over] Now, the really good thing about meeting the President of the United States is the food. They put you in this little room with just about anything you’d want to eat or drink. But since, number one, I wasn’t hungry, but thirsty, and number two, they was free, I must have drank me about fifteen Dr Peppers.

One by one, the team meet and shake hands with the President. Forrest hops about uncomfortably from leg to leg.

JFK: Congratulations, how does it feel to be an All-American?

Man 1: It’s an honour, sir.

JFK: Congratulations, how does it feel to be an All-American?

Man 2: Very good, sir.

JFK: Congratulations, how does it feel to be an All-American?

Man 3: Very good, sir.

JFK: Congratulations. How do you feel?

Forrest: I gotta pee.

JFK: [laughs] I believe he said he has to “go pee.”

Forrest: [voice-over] Some time later, for no particular reason, somebody shot that nice young President when he was in his car. And a few years after that, somebody shot his little brother too, only he was in a hotel kitchen. It must be hard being brothers. I wouldn’t know.


Forrest: I’m not a smart man… but I know what love is.

There has been some debate over whether Forrest Gump is an advertisement for conservatism. Forrest’s love interest Jenny fails at life when she goes down the hippy route; with its drugs and unprotected sex. Meanwhile, Forrest has good turn after good turn after playing sports for his college, serving in Vietnam and avoiding the vices that trapped Jenny.

I‘m still torn over this debate. I think Forrest Gump rises above politics. Forrest is neither for or against the Black Panthers when he meets them. He isn’t taken in by the numerous presidents that he meets over the years. Social politics has no meaning to him. Like Chauncey Gardiner in Being There, Forrest Gump has very simple wants, needs and loves.

He may not be intelligent, but he has his own personal sense right and wrong, he has a lot of love in his heart, and he will never knowingly hurt another person. He treats everyone as an equal, and is dedicated to anyone who treats him with kindness.

Then again, Forrest is someone who doesn’t question and automatically goes down the conservative path his upbringing gave him — which seems to reward him greatly. But his humanity and distinctiveness is what gave him success, not necessarily his straight-laced approach.

However you look at it, Forrest Gump is a magical example of the journey of life. Okay, we most probably won’t have a life like Forrest’s; but if we take a minute to look back at how things fitted in and how people appeared, it’s pretty fascinating. If you haven’t taken a pensive moment to think about such things, this film will make you do so. It’s a little schmaltzy but… I forgive it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 21, 2010 2:35 pm

    Life is like a box of spanners. Or bees.

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