[film-book-review] Forrest Gump
"Bein' a idiot is no box of chocolates," but "at least I ain't led no hum-drum life," says Forrest Gump, the lovable, surprisingly savvy hero of this wonderful comic tale. When the University of Alabama's football team drafts Forrest and makes him a star, that's only the beginning! He flunks out - and goes on to be a Vietnam war hero, a world-class Ping-Pong player, a wrestler, and a business tycoon. He compares battle scars with Lyndon Johnson, discovers the truth about Richard Nixon, and suffers the ups and downs of true love. Now, Forrest Gump's telling all - in a madcap, screwball romp through three decades of the American landscape. It's Gump's amazing travels... and you've got to hear them to believe them.
The film (produced in 1994) is based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Wonston Groom. Main actors in the film are Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Sally Field. And by the way: it is my most favourite film, and now I want to tell you why!
Six foot six, 242 pounds, and possessed of a scant IQ of 70. Forrest Gump sure isn’t the smartest man, but he is kind-hearted. In 1981, he is sitting on a bench with his briefcase and recounts his life story to strangers who sit next to him on this bench in Savannah, Gerogia.
When he was a young boy, Forrest was unable to walk properly due to leg braces fitted to correct a curved spine. These are his magic shoes and they’d take him anywhere. His Mama tells him, that there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going, where they’ve been. But Forrest seems to be different than the other kids, not just because of his physical handicap. So when he had his first day of school in the 1950s, he has problems in finding friends. But Forrest is a lucky man and in the bus to school he makes the acquaintance of Jenny Curran, a little girl at his age, who seems also a little bit different. (–> Watch this scene here)
Forrest: You know, it’s funny what a young man recollects, ’cause I don’t remember being born. I don’t recall what I got for my first Christmas, and I don’t know when I went on my first outdoor picnic, but I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the wide world. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. She was like an angel.
From that day on, we was always together. Jenny and me was like peas and carrots.
Jenny taught Forrest how to climb and motivates him by saying things like ‘Come on, Forrest, you can do it.‘. Forrest showed her how to dangle. She helped him learn how to read, and he showed her how to swing. And sometimes they just sit out and waited for the stars. For some reasons, Jenny didn’t never want to go home. Forrest didn’t know why, but after she was begging him to stay a little longer, he rested at her side. One day, when Forrest wanted to visit her, young Jenny’s father was chasing her through the fields to beat her, when she stopped and hided in the corn field. She asked Forrest to pray with her and said: ‘Pray with me, Forrest. Pray with me. Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far, far away from here. Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far… ‘ Forrest: ‘Mama always said God is mysterious. He didn’t turn Jenny into a bird that day. […] Some nights, Jenny’d sneak out and come on over to my house, just ’cause she said she was scared. Scared of what, I don’t know. But I think it was her grandma’s dog. He was a mean dog.’
His Mom indeed is busy caring for the gradual education of Forrest. The principal Mister Hancock attests him an IQ of 75, which is a problem because of the state requiring a minimum IQ of eighty to attend public school. Mrs. Gump replies to the Principal that ‘We are all different’ and prostitutes herself by sleeping with the Principal, so that Forrest does not have to go to a special school.
I don’t want to tell here the whole plot of the film or the book, because if you want to know this, there are plenty of other articles telling it in detail. Or you can respectively watch the movie yourself. Like I introduced, I want to show you why I do love this film so much:
I saw it a hundred times and still discover new things in it.
- Did you know where his name comes from? When he was a baby, Mrs. Gump named him after the great Civil War hero General Nathan Bedford Forrest. She said they were related to him in some way. What he did was he started up this club called the Ku Klux Klan. Mrs. Gump said the Forrest part was to remind him that sometimes we all do things that, well, just don’t make no sense.
- The young truck driver who stays at the boarding house that Forrest lives in with his mother, turns out to be Elvis Presley who, while playing guitar for him, becomes enthralled at the jerky hip thrusting movements the hobbled Forrest makes, while trying to dance. Later on, Elvis becomes famous by imitating the dance.
- In 1972, Forrest meets president Richard Nixon and is put up in the Watergate hotel, where he accidentally reveals the Watergate scandal, ultimately forcing Nixon to resign.
- Forrest uses the earnings of his company that makes ping pong paddles to buy a shrimping boat, fulfilling his promise to Bubba. Taylor joins Forrest in 1974, and although they initially have little success, after their boat becomes the only one to survive the Hurricane, they pull in huge amounts of shrimp.
- They use their income to purchase a fleet of shrimp boats. Dan invests the money in Apple Computer (which Forrest naively thinks is “some kind of fruit company”) and Forrest is financially secure for the rest of his life.
- With over 32 songs on the official soundtrack and more used in the movie – including one song from The Doors on the soundtrack and four others in the film – all of the bands featured in the film were American, and that was not a coincidence. “All the material in there is American,” Joel Sill, the film’s executive music producer, told The Los Angeles Daily News.
- In the script for an unproduced sequel, Forrest meets O.J. Simpson and Princess Diana. Forrest would have chatted up both Mark Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins about how it would be nice if you had a book that would show a person’s face and make a friend, and that Forrest would’ve helped out in Hurricane Katrina. Forrest would be the reason that the Navy SEALs find Osama bin Laden.
- The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., which was invented for the movie, is now a real restaurant chain with 39 locations around the world.
- Both Tom Hanks’ daughter, Emily, and Robert Zemeckis’ son, Alexander, are seen in the school bus scene. She’s the red-haired girl, he’s the first boy who won’t let Forrest sit down.
These were only facts. Interesting ones, but not the ones with depth.
Forrest seems to be a stupid man for all the people except for his Jenny who sees into the deepest part of him. There she sees a selfless man who does everything to make others happy and who keeps his promises. And he does this as a matter of course. He thinks all the time about his Jenny and when she asked him why he is so good to her, he simply answers: ‘You’re my girl.’ He does not expect anything in return. She’s just his girl, without doing anything for it but being herself.
Jenny indeed seems to be a woman who takes many men and lives a selfish life. But Forrest knows her to be different, that’s why he loves her. He loves every part of her, even the dark piece which is destroyed by her father who abused her.
Stupid is as stupid does!
I don’t agree with the critics, that Jenny does treat him in a bad mannor. She does not refuse him because of his stupidity, but because she thinks she does not deserve him. She believes to have a bad influence on him and since she ain’t got her life under control, she can’t be there for him like she would like to. She refuses him because she loves him. This becomes clear by her answer after being asked to marry him: ‘You don’t wanna marry me Forrest!’ The only person who deserves you, is the one that thinks he/she doesn’t. It’s only when she got clean from the drugs that she is ready to marry him.
She keeps him wild, he keeps her safe. Although they do live their whole lifes in different worlds, they never seem to be torn apart. They care for each other and they do feel the presence of the other. They need each other and always get back together. Like a rock in the surf. And as she wished that she could have been there (on his adventures) with him, he explains her that she always had.
Because of the big love story, I sometimes wonder if the relationship to his mom should be more into the focus. It is absolutely impressive what she does for her little son, and her life sure wasn’t easy with all her worries about her son’s future. I am sure every parents life isn’t easy having a handicapped child. Nature is a funny thing that we are capable to put our personal belongings far behind the belongings of another human being just because of our feelings. Is this nature or is this something higher we can’t describe?
In a world where everyone wears a mask, it’s a privilege to see a soul. And you don’t have to be wise or intelligent or even pretty, to have a heart full of internal beauty. Although they are ill favored in life by Forrests disability/idiocy and Jennys prehistory childhood, they do have a good heart and isn’t it this, what really counts?
The film shows that it is possible being loved by someone even with our dark sides and that true love surpasses every problem and will always find its way. You just have to believe.
My Mama always told me that miracles happen every day. Some people don’t think so, but they do.
My favourite quote of the film sure is this one: Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. It’s my truth of life, we all have to figure out for ourselves what is our destiny, and we never know, what life will be like in the future. But we are able to write our own story and we should not let other ones hold the pen for it.
To never forget this, I made myself a little Forrest, a special Tattoo nobody understands without knowing its meaning:
Thank you, glad you liked it.