Wednesday, January 8, 2014

241 of 1001 Movies: Forrest Gump (1994)

Most people have seen Forrest Gump. Either as adults around the time it was released, or even the kids I grew up with. I didn't see Forrest Gump till this past weekend at the age of 25 for the first time. I was a late bloomer. It lived up to every bit of expectation that people held to the movie though. It was tearful, funny, romantic, and a feel-good movie. Somehow it jumbles a lot of emotions into one movie, and it left me still enjoying all movies I've seen from Robert Zemeckis so far.

Summary: Forrest Gump has a low I.Q. making his life seem it will have it's limitations, but with his persistent mother who will stop at nothing to get her son into school so he can have a normal education, Gump has a chance at succeeding. Meeting Jenny on a bus to school will forever change his life though as gaining her love becomes his sole mission.  Despite the fact that Forrest Gump seems to be present at the most historic moments of the 60's and 70's though she continues to allude him. Even though he will experience everything from football stardom to the tragedies of war, his feelings for Jenny always remain the same.

Acting: Tom Hanks is the lead as Forrest Gump, and portrays the character perfectly. He makes someone who probably shows very little emotionally to others so likable and welcoming to others. The way he draws people in the movie is imaginable just by what you get through the screen from Hanks' portrayal. I was told that Bill Murray was up for this role before Tom Hanks, and while Murray would have fitted, I think there is only something about Hanks that could make this role as sweet and charming as it was. Robin Wright portrays Jenny, and I think Wright does a great job of showing the vulnerable side of Jenny, and exploring the idea that she seems to be escaping her past. For some reason I felt I was supposed to pity Jenny, but I just couldn't. The dynamic that was more so interesting was how Jenny's world was so dark yet Forrest is so in love with her, yet doesn't really know her. Gary Sinise is Dan, the lieutenant in the army that Forrest becomes friends with, and I think he was one of my favorite characters. I just loved the growth and development of what the character had to over come. Sally Field also stars as Forrest's mother, and for a woman who probably wasn't a whole lot older than Hanks at the time she brings a lot of maturity to the role to show how the women matured and aged to be the woman she was over time.

Filming: There hasn't ever been anything over the top about Zemeckis directing. He uses good music in the movie to capture the vibe of the scenes that are showing, and he takes spectacular shots of moments to convey how Forrest sees the world. Something about the way that Zemeckis shows a story obviously has been a long time thing of pulling people in, and giving them characters they really like. His recent movie Flight was a return to what many people enjoyed about his movies.. Movies like Back to the Future and Romancing the Stone though have proven to be long standing movies people have enjoyed from him though. Without any noticeable qualities, he still directs a movie in a way that balances the light and the dark aspects of humanity that resonate in the story. The highlight of Forrest Gump though is how he meshes in Tom Hanks

Plot: The most interesting aspect of the plot is watching how Forrest perceives the world versus someone like Jenny. Forrest has had his shares of bad moments. He has been bullied, he has suffered through the loss of someone he has cared about, and he's witnessed people have life changing tragedies. Yet Forrest don't seem to let these things hinder him from carrying on. There is no clear focus of Forrest's life. He seems to just live day to day and drop in the most historic of places to live an extraordinary life to those around him.

Forrest Gump is likable because the lead character seems real yet he is unreal. It's a very well written story that will leave most in tears, or with some good feelings after they have watched the movie. I love the progression and how even though this seems to be going feel good, it also never feels sappy. I can't imagine what this movie would have been like if it has been a Spielberg film.

Rating 9.5 of 10.

Forrest Gump (1994) on IMDb

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