Patriotic Movie Review: "Forrest Gump"

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Rating: PG-13
Length: 142 minutes
Release Date: July 06, 1994
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Genre: Drama / Romance

"Forrest Gump" follows a humble man as he goes on a series of unexpected adventures. From being a war veteran to meeting the president and living in an Alabama boarding house, it seems that Forrest Gump gets to do it all in his very long and rather adventurous life. Being the simple person that he is, Forrest Gump takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride through a great work in cinema. The film takes all of these strange circumstances and makes them work. Rather than randomly placing Forrest in various interesting places, the film assures that every unlikely experience of Forrest Gump makes perfect sense. Of course, a lot of credit goes to the efforts of film director Robert Zemeckis, who has no problem delving into the realm of unique storytelling and characters as seen in his other films like the "Back to the Future" films and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

"Forrest Gump" is essentially an autobiography of a man of the same the name. The film begins with him telling his life story to strangers on a bench. He explains how he wore leg braces as a child and that because of that, he was bullied. One day, Forrest met a girl named Jenny (Robin Wright) and he instantly fell in love with her. While walking with her, Forrest met some bullies and started to run, which made him realize that he could run very fast after his braces fell off.

After this moment, the film seems to spiral into a story of Forrest Gump meeting several historically relevant people by complete coincidence. His ability to run leads him to college, which leads him to meeting JFK. The film never seems to stop placing Forrest in such situations. Throughout this time, it is very apparent that Forrest is appreciative even though he doesn't care much for all the attention. As his mother says early on in the film, "Stupid is as stupid does." Simply put, Forrest is a simple fool with a heart of gold.

This is what makes the film so great. Whether he is showing his buttocks to the president, going out for a run or just playing a game of ping pong, the viewer enjoys how ridiculous and amazing the character is. Some people may see Tom Hanks' portrayal of Forrest Gump as poorly done, but in truth, it points out some of the greatest aspects of humanity such as loyalty, bravery and kindness.

In the film, Forrest never seems to experience any negative emotions, and in fact, it seems as though he is rather confused most of the time. That is probably because he is, but the viewer finds it hard to blame him. While living in the 20th century, Forrest comes across some of the greatest changes in American history, and for the most part, he takes it all in stride.

Another interesting aspect of the film is Forrest's love for Jenny. When seeing all of the things that Forrest has done in his life, it's hard for audiences to imagine that this movie has a spark of romance to it. As the viewer, it's entirely possible to even forget about Jenny for a while, but as soon as she starts to be forgotten, she suddenly appears out of nowhere. Despite everything that has gone on in his life, it is very sweet to see Forrest still pursuing the love of his life and that his love never falters for her despite how much time they spend apart.

Of course, one of the best aspects of this classic adventure is not just the writing of the film, but the way it is portrayed. The visual effects of "Forrest Gump" are definitely nothing to ignore. Using the perfect mixture of realistic visual effects, Ken Ralston and his team make it possible for Forrest to meet several people postmortem and even shake their hands and speak to them. One of the most notable scenes is the one where Forrest meets President John F. Kennedy, which is a feat that could only be accomplished with a blend of special effects and archival footage.

"Forrest Gump" is a film that will certainly not be easily forgotten, giving it a permanent place in cinema's rich history. Tom Hanks does a phenomenal job as the simple Forrest, and despite the film's long run time, the story never seems to get boring. Instead, the viewer is simply left wondering what will happen next. At the end of the day, "Forrest Gump" is as sweet as a box of chocolates.