FORREST GUMP


1994

DIRECTOR: ROBERT ZEMECKIS

NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION

May Contain Spoilers!

Will we be adding this to our collection?  NO

The 1994 Oscar-winning tale of a man with learning difficulties who manages to not only overcome adversity, walking difficulties and social prejudice, but also manages to change the direction of U.S. politics and culture forever, in a minor way, at least! Tom Hanks, who is obviously a great actor, plays the part brilliantly, but the part is cypher, who’s only role is help along the fantasy of a truly “Good” and “Accepting” America, though the truth is the exact opposite.

The mere fact that Gump is forced to contend with such adversaries, racists and bigots only goes to show the true nature of the film’s heart, a wistful tale of how the world and America should be rather than how it really is.

And it is this fantasy which propels this story and its awards gravitas, spoon-feeding us the ideas but at the expense of any real narrative development. Forrest sees the world and finds himself at the heart of the 1960’s most iconic moments, meeting presidents, celebrities and sociopolitical icons.

Because that’s what people do. But I do smell a real stench of cynicism, as their attempt at conveying the magic of the common man’s abilities to achieve greatness is told through the eyes of a man who is a cliché of a “simpleton”, cute and humble, rather than someone who should be respected. He is put on a pedestal, and revered but still held at a distance.

But would you be happy for someone like Forrest Gump to date your daughter? That seems to be a nasty question to ask but I believe that this is the core problem with Forrest Gump. He is like a pet, rather than a fully rounded human being. He is someone to be mothered, and even though he achieves to so much, he still ends up on that park bench looking adorable.

Granted, this is probably the only way to tell a story like this and make it work, but in the end, it doesn’t work for me. I feel like I’m been forced fed a series of ideals that the American right would love for a U.S. citizen, and folk like me, to embrace, but I don’t.

The character is good. The world is murky but filled with decent people at its heart. That is the message of Forrest Gump. Well, thank you for spelling that out for us SO clearly…

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