Friday, February 22, 2019

Movie Review: "Forrest Gump" (1994)

Forrest Gump 1994 movie poster
Image Source
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Year: 1994
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes

A simple man from Alabama leads a wondrous, almost unbelievable life.

Forrest Gump 1994 Tom Hanks Sally Field
"Mama always said there's an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes, where they're going, where they've been." (Image Source)
"Forrest Gump" may be super corny at times, but it is also a sweet film, and we will die on a hill defending it. It is directed by Robert Zemeckis, who is known for directing movies like the "Back to the Future" trilogy, "The Walk," and "Used Cars." The screenplay is written by Eric Roth and is adapted from the novel by Winston Groom. The story focuses on the life of titular character Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), a man from Alabama who is considered of below average intelligence. It is told from his perspective as he gives a highlight reel of his amazing adventures to anyone who happens to be around him, whether they are interested or not. It begins in his childhood and shows his mother's (Sally Field) willingness to do anything to make sure her son has the same opportunities as everyone else. He recounts the tale of how he met Jenny (Robin Wright), his life long best friend and the person who in his mind is the love of his life. Forrest talks about how as an adult, he pursued his love of running, and he tells of how it carried him through many opportunities in life. He also speaks of the famous people who he has come in contact with throughout his life and shows how he inadvertently influenced history on more than one occasion.
Forrest Gump 1994 Gary Sinise
"He must be the stupidest son of a bitch alive, but he sure is fast." (Image Source)
"Forrest Gump" has gotten a lot of hate from many online communities over the years, not because it is a bad movie, but because it had the honor of being dubbed Best Picture in a competitive year against two films many would consider some of the best ever made: "Pulp Fiction" and "The Shawshank Redemption." Those two features sit at #8 and #1 respectively on IMDB's top 250 movies of all time. We love both of these films, but we ultimately believe the amount of hate "Forrest Gump" has gotten is unwarranted because it is actually a fantastic movie in its own right. It may be one of the greatest feel-good movies in all of cinematic history. It is an endlessly charming drama that takes a slightly altered look at U.S. history through the eyes of a kind-hearted man with an IQ of 75. There is a certain innocence to Forrest's perception of the world as he is locked inside his own microcosm and doesn't concern himself with the grander picture, only with what is right in front of him at each moment. Despite his somewhat simple but hardworking nature, Forrest manages to excel in every aspect of life, which just goes to show that luck and opportunity factor into a person's success, too (well, at least in the movies). His life is juxtaposed with Jenny's, and unlike Forrest, she knows all too well the horrors of the real world. She is unsheltered and has been the survivor of abuse, which has led her down an entirely different, much more rocky path than her childhood best friend. Still, they always seem to find each other in the end, even if it's not what either of them need right at that moment. The same can be said for Forrest's adult best friend, who he loving refers to as Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise), who blames Forrest for the life he has been forced to lead post-Vietnam but will eventually see that Forrest's Gump-tion helped him become the person he was always meant to be.
Forrest Gump 1994 Robin Wright
"Nothing just happens. It's all part of the plan." (Image Source)
Robert Zemeckis is known for creating glossy looking Hollywood films, and "Forrest Gump" is no different. What really makes this movie as good as it is is a fantastic, endlessly endearing effort by Tom Hanks. Hanks's performance is brilliantly nuanced and is sure to take audience members through a vast range of emotions. Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field, and Mykelti Williamson also give excellent performances in a terrific supporting cast. This is a fantastic film that was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and took home five, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It sits at #12 on IMDB's top 250, which isn't far behind its two former competitors, and was just voted Golden Derby's top Best Picture winner of the '90s. Sure, this film has its flaws, but there is so much to love about it that for us, most of those flaws go unnoticed. Sometimes, we just want to have an entertaining experience that will move us, and "Forrest Gump" certainly does that.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 9.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.8/10
RT Rating: 72%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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