Forrest Gump: The man who doesn’t know he isn’t stupid !

The classic — Forrest Gump (1994) that never fails to make us self-reflective, is seen anew in this review by Samin Sakib.


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Forrest Gump is a great modern fable, a fable in the dictionary is defined as a brief fictitious story that teaches a moral. There are many morals defined in this film but foremost is integrity and a simple goodness. This near-perfect recipe having ingredients of romance, comedy and drama has traversed its way long, touching the chords of countless viewers, all the way to winning accolades at the Academy Awards!
The film is wonderfully directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film is his opus and is acted by a great cast on all levels, leaves no wonder why the film has managed to secure six Oscars. From the children who were Forrest Gump and Gump Jr by Haley Joel Osment, I feel Tom Hanks aptly deserved the Oscar award for his amazing masterpiece. Gary Sinise is synonymous with Lieutenant Dan whenever you hear those words. Sally Fields is the loving dutiful mother in her challenging situation. Mykelti Williamson as Bubba gives us a real sense in the story that Gump had a genuine friend, he moves each and every one of us with his character. Words don’t grasp the full performance of Robin Wright Penn as Jenny. Jenny’s tenderness and pain are palpable as exhibited by Wright. The setting is central to this story; it lets the tale unfold tying together the factual events with the fable right before us.

Forrest Gump, the icon of this beautiful art is not stupid. Although his IQ is 75, he sees the world far clearer than most. Through his innocent, childlike eyes, we too see things in a less confused and muddled way. Furthermore, what makes it so agile for the audience to accept Tom Hanks’ disarming portrayal of Forrest Gump is that he is easy to identify with. Hanks’ portrayal of him as a kind hearted and honourable simpleton is what does the trick. The movie spans years and invites us to embark upon Gump’s journey from a below average IQ boy to a war hero and then a self-made billionaire.

Speaking more closely about the main characters, it is worth mentioning that Forrest himself is the central one, and he is mostly surrounded by Jenny, Lieutenant Dan Taylor and Bubba throughout the film. Forrest Gump is depicted as a persistent, serious and unemotional personality, so his character has raised much criticism and disagreement — whether his achievement was due to his internal force and ability to love life, make objective judgments and keep the right path or due to his low intellectual level and plain luck. He is never happy or sad about any events of his life, which supposes his indifference. Jenny Curran is his soul-mate, his partner from childhood to whom Forrest feels sentimental feelings and thinks he loves her. But, she has chosen the path of experimentation and rebellion. She was once seen with her anarchist friends and boyfriend by Forrest during one of their encounters. However, she manages to prove her genuine feelings to Forrest by having a child from him and marrying him at the end of her life. Bubba is an honest and naive young man who has a dream but has no time to make it true, so Forrest who has no dreams of his own pursues Bubba’s wish and does not leave Bubba’s family after his friend’s death. Dan Taylor is a real warrior, cynical and down-to-earth, but he proves how well he treats Forrest by collaborating with him on the boat and achieving success together despite the fact that he became crippled after the war.

The major conflict of the movie is the stereotypical perception of mentally challenged people as crippled. Forrest Gump is not a smart man in conventional standard and he understands this from the very beginning of his life. However, Gump manages to live a decent life, to achieve success that may be never achieved by normal people and becomes a hero of the United States, then a tremendously rich man and finally a happy father. There is hardly anyone who can boast such achievements within one life, and the only wisdom Forrest follows is very simple: ‘You have to do the best with what god gave you.’ Thus, the conflict of expectations from a challenged person and the reality of his life are sketched as the foreground of the movie.

I feel that much of Gump’s appeal is his downright sense of doing the right thing regardless of the people and situations around him. That being the case maybe we all wish we could be just a little more like that, trying to maintain innate goodness and not the trade-offs we often make as we go down life’s highways. It is a movie that overall inspires hope even in the face of greatest odds. There are a number of other amazing and remarkable things about this movie; the performances, the special effects, the almost poetic simplicity of the story and the way it is told.

This multiple Oscar winning tearjerker will take you through a roller-coaster of life but all the while you will have the brave, loyal and endearing Gump for company. So if you have not seen the movie, see it soon because you are in for a real treat. If you did not like it, give it a try again and hopefully you will see it for the great story it is!
Samin Sakib is a student of Bangladesh University of Professionals
 

 

 

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