Time and time again I have been faced with that quizzed look and almost disgust at the fact that I had not seen Forrest Gump. We were having a casual discussion as a staff and suddenly the pitch forks came out at the realization that someone who claimed to be cultured in movies had never seen this classic.
I walked into this completely blind. How I managed this I’m not sure, but I have never known what this movie is even about beyond the box of chocolates quote and Tom Hanks.
If you’re anything like me and have no idea what this movie is about I’ll give you a quick summary.
Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) introduces himself sitting at a park bench. His time spent sitting at this bench is him sharing his life stories with whatever stranger decides to listen. We hear about his mom, the love of his life, Jenny Curran, his talented skill of being a fast runner and how that gained him a scholarship to play college football for Alabama, enlisting in the Army. and going to Vietnam where he meets his best friend Bubba (who sadly passes away during the war), and his longtime friend Lieutenant Dan, who loses his legs and is saved by Gump while overseas. Gump wins a heroic medal due to his time, having saved Dan and others when they were attacked. We also hear about his successful life when returning to the states after he completes his duty where he buys a shrimping boat in honor of Bubba. as promised while they served for the Army, becomes a ping pong champion and oh yeah, ends up extremely rich. He also decides one day to go on a run that somehow doesn’t end for 3 years?
Here’s my overall thoughts on how I feel,
Forrest is a lucky charm
It was so fascinating to me that the structure of the movie revolved around Forrest and the luck that followed him. Although he was completely unaware of what a lucky man he was he seemed overall, just happy to be where he was and grateful for the little things like enjoying the stars at night while in Vietnam. Forrest’s character personality made me not hate it though. I still didn’t love it because it’s just so far fetched. A man somehow is such a good runner from having ran from bullies as a kid that he gets a scholarship to play football for Alabama, goes off to war and becomes a hero, comes back and somehow is a ping pong champion who plays in China, then comes back to the U.S. and is a successful shrimp boater, ends up rich and successfully runs around the world for 3 years because he felt like it?
ALSO, have your childhood best friend (Jenny) basically be in love with you……kinda? It was feel good because you couldn’t help but love him, but everything else kind of annoyed me. He’s also the one telling the story looking so precious on the bench telling any stranger that’ll listen his life story….. how do you not fall in love with him?
America’s history lesson
To piggyback off of Forrest’s luck in the world I think what makes people just be so crazy about this movie is that just about any major person or event in American history is talked about in this movie. How could you possibly dislike a chance at reliving some of the best and worst moments in our great history? If you need a good reminder just turn this movie on and you’ll be reminded of some things through the eyes of Forrest, which makes it that much better.
Jenny can eff off
I thought she was a cute kid and I love the “Run Forrest Run” deal of her encouraging him to escape the bullies I still quickly hated her. I was unaware of her abusive childhood, which makes sense why she’d basically grow up to do a lot of drugs, travel around with strangers and at one point became a nude singer? BUT that doesn’t make it okay to have left him after he finally bought this beautiful house and wanted to marry her. To run off and do whatever she did, and then call him later like hey….come over? SURPRISE YOU’RE A DADDY TO A FIVE YEAR OLD.
WHO DOES THAT? JENNY. Well I have a few words for you JENNAAAAYYYY, YOU’RE SELFISH AND I HATE YOU.
She runs off and ruins her life, time and time again. She almost dies at one point when she’s trashed and becomes a hippie. I swore she was going to blow something up at some point, but to come back out of nowhere and drop that bomb on FORREST!!!! Of course, with Forrest being the good and genuine man he is, how could he walk away from his son and the love of his life? Sure, she loves him too, but she’s troubled and I just still don’t like her.
There’s a beautiful lesson to learn from Forrest
My favorite thing about this movie is his character’s view on life. Although “stupid” and so unaware of social norms, he is the most humble and genuine human being. He’s asked what war was like his answer wasn’t sad, morbid or haunting. He went on to describe how some parts suck, but then described how beautiful it was to finally see the stars.
His love for Jenny was never altered because he didn’t waste his time picking apart her wrongdoings and mistakes. He loved her deeply for the good parts and loved her through all the bad. Even though I hate her and I think he should’ve moved on with his life before sleeping with her, he stuck around and loved her until she was the best version of herself – never losing hope or love for her. He never walked around angry at the world or bitter, he made the best of it. When he buries her at their tree and has her childhood home bulldozed……….yes………I cried. My heart was so full because his love for her was so so great. My fragile heart couldn’t help but get emotional.
Although he was bullied and constantly made fun of for not being very smart, nothing truly brought that man down except (spoiler) when his mom and Jenny died. If something did happen to cause a little sadness he managed to bring it back and be strong and optimistic. Everyone could learn from a kind soul like Forrest. Life is too short to dwell and feel sorry for yourself. I’m a firm believer that without Forrest, Lieutenant Dan would not have become the man he did after being saved from the war (by Forrest) and losing his legs.
What is with all the running?
While the running is clearly a prominent theme in the whole story, making him run for 3 years after Jenny decides to run away from his marriage proposal, was too much. I was holding on pretty well up until this point. Sure, the running in college and at war worked, but to run across the country and somehow become famous for it – and rich, plus all the things that happened while he was running? Unnecessary fluff to the story in my opinion. I was not impressed.
“Life was like a box of chocolates…”
I’d heard the quote before watching the movie, but I can’t help but love Forrest and his relationship with his mom. Although some sketchy stuff was going on as Forrest grew up in their home, his mom sure kicked ass at being a single mother, raising and caring for him. I appreciate her role and strong character. I loved every time he had a quote ready to whip out at people about something his mother had said. The box of chocolate quotes has to be one of the most quoted movie quotes ever in my opinion. Forrest was such a momma’s boy, and he probably didn’t even really realize what that meant, but I appreciate that he was a fine man who was raised by a single mom who did what she could for her son. #NeverForget when she refused to budge about getting him into a normal public school no matter what they tried to tell her.
I don’t regret watching this movie, but I can’t say it was what I expected. I’m just glad I can go about the rest of my life knowing I have become apart of this club that can say they’ve watched this movie. Sadly, I can’t say it made my top 10. I’ll always hold Forrest’s kind soul with me though, how could you not?
My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump
Stupid is as stupid does. – Forrest Gump
“Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?” – Lieutenant Daniel Taylor
“I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.” – Forrest Gump
“I’m not a smart man…but I know what love is.” – Forrest Gump
“Yes. Well, I-I don’t know. Sometimes it would stop raining long enough for the stars to come out… and then it was nice. It was like just before the sun goes to bed down on the bayou. There was always a million sparkles on the water… like that mountain lake. It was so clear, Jenny, it looked like there were two skies one on top of the other. And then in the desert, when the sun comes up, I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the earth began. It’s so beautiful.” – Forrest Gump