Robert Zemeckis (1994, Paramount Pictures)
Starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinese, Sally Field, and Robin Wright
The second half of the Twentieth Century leaves its mark on a mentally
challenged man, from war to true love.
View Count: 5 times
December 14th, 2002
A totally emotional movie, with
incredible characterization, a plot that keeps us interested, and subtle
but amazing special effects.
This is one of my favorite movies. It is satisfying in every sense of
the word. I don't think there is another movie that brings tears to my
eyes every time two characters meet on-screen. I don't remember crying
the first time I saw this film. I guess growing into a loving
relationship has brought it closer to home.
The main focus of the movie is Forrest's relationship with Jenny, and it
is here that the movie really shines. The other stuff, interacting with
history, was neat from a technical point of view, and was good for a
laugh, but this is really a love story.
Their relationship is one of understanding right from the beginning.
Forrest has an outside perspective on everything in life. It is either
good or bad, with no in-between. This is why he doesn't accept excuses
when Jenny is being hurt, and why he won't leave Lt. Dan to die in
Vietnam. Jenny, on the other hand, has a troubled life, drifting from
one home to another, from one guy to another, searching for she
doesn't know what. From being sexually abused by her father (we never know
what happened to her sisters), she accepts that as normal behavior from
the other men she meets. She takes refuge in drugs and a life of
"freedom". It takes her a very long time to see that she actually needs
the stability that Forrest provides.
Forrest is a constant, never changing, always doing the good and moral thing,
doing what he is told when it makes sense to him. He follows
instructions amazingly well. So when he tells Jenny that he is being
sent to Vietnam, the heart just breaks! It breaks again every time they
meet; why, I don't really know. Maybe it's the knowledge of what happens
later. When introduced to little Forrest, the heart simply melts,
because the reaction is so beautiful.
The in-between stuff is what brings balance to the movie. While
Forrest's relationship with Jenny is so sad, what he experiences in life
is so funny, because he sees it differently from everybody else.
Meeting all the famous people, where Tom Hanks was digitally placed in
the picture, was played for as many laughs as we could get. Even much of
Vietnam was funny, especially with Forrest spending time with Bubba. Afterwards, when Lt. Dan
realizes that he has something to live for, after being touched by
Forrest, we get more laughs. I loved Dan staring into the face of God on
the mast in the middle of the hurricane. It was so funny! It was really
touching when Dan appeared at Forrest and Jenny's wedding, with his new,
Forrest's mother was amazingly played by Sally Field, so loving and
tender. I love the way she was determined to have Forrest live as normal
a life as possible, and was willing to do anything to see it through. I
think she died satisfied that they both did the best they could, and
that Forrest, though he was different, had enough life experience to
live the rest of a normal life.
I think the movie was amazing for what it did. But it was also amazing
for what it didn't do. I think portraying Vietnam through the eyes of
Forrest only was a great idea, so that we didn't get bogged down through
politics or other points of view. I am also glad that we didn't get any
death scenes. Bubba came close, but at least we didn't see Jenny or
Mamma slump over in their beds. We saw them before they got to their
worst, which was an excellent directing choice.
There is so much that I could say about this movie, but I don't think it
is necessary. I really don't know why I waited so long to watch it
again, but perhaps it was worth it, because I had forgotten a lot of
what went on, which possibly made it even more potent. Having it on DVD now secures it in my collection for a
The extras on the DVD are about two hours long. They are not terrific,
but are very respectable. The first feature is really more like an
advertisement for people who haven't seen the movie. People tell us
their opinions of what Forrest and Jenny are like. :earning about the
invisible ping-pong match first hand was really fun, though. The visual effects featurettes were extremely well done. Ken Ralston, from ILM, is a great
speaker, and introduces us to several sequences, including two that
didn't make it into the movie. The sounds were equally interesting, but
the speaker was rather annoying in his monologue. Finally, the trailers
were actually very representative of the film, and while long, didn't
give too much away. I was impressed.
As usual, I have not listened to either of the commentaries, which I
assume will be very interesting whenever I get around to it.
This is a film that I will return to again and again. Its emotional core
resonates with me, and it is well balanced by the comedy and the musical
soundtrack, making it an incredible experience, even so many years
later. It really did deserve every single Academy Award that it won, and
many that it didn't.