Tom Hanks is undeniably an incredibly gifted actor, and this is his best performance. In Forrest Gump, he creates an unforgettable character. Gump is a good natured guy who only has one weakness: he’s a little slower than average. But in many ways, he’s superior to most so-called normal people. You rarely see a man with so much enthusiasm and good will! His great personality added to the undying love of his mother (Sally Field at her best) help to give him an unbelievable life, filled with memories. And as the film begins, Gump, sitting on his bench with a box of chocolates, tells strangers his fascinating story. The film’s ingenious script has him involved in every major American event from the ’50s through the ’80s. He meets everyone from Elvis to John Lennon, from Kennedy to Nixon. Star quarterback in college and world champion of Ping-Pong some years later, he even finds the time to go fight for his country in Vietnam. Perfect example of the American Dream, the simple little boy even achieves to become a godzillionaire!
Just then, director Robert Zemeckis and Hanks would have accomplished a great task, namely telling their country’s recent history through the eyes of a simple man, putting everything under a new, uncynical light. But the film also contains one of the most touching of love stories between Forrest and his lifelong love Jenny. She might have been a “normal” kid, but she didn’t have it as easy as her buddy. After a traumatizing childhood thanks to an abusive father, Jenny goes through all the downsides and fake hopes of that same Dream, from strip clubs to thankless waitress jobs. And in the midst of that, she follows the steps of Tim Leary and gets into San Francisco’s acid culture, goes hippie and protests the war and snorts coke in ’70s discos. But Forrest still looks after her, and they have the sweetest moments together…
Zemeckis sure can be proud of his work. While telling a deeply involving story that walks the thin line between drama and comedy, he shoots countless references to events and people. Even though none of them last much more than 15 minutes or so, each of Gump’s adventures feels like a great movie of its own. Just take the riveting war sequences, or the man’s 3 year long run. Zemeckis directs his cast perfectly. Beside Tom Hanks, there’s Robin Wright as the lovable if “messed up” Jenny, Gary Sinise as the intense Lieutenant Dan and Mykelti Williamson as Forrest’s hilarious shrimp-lovin’ war buddy Bubba. The soundtrack by itself is incredible, covering pretty much all the important music over 30 years, and Alan Silvestri’s score is restrained but effective at underlining the film’s emotional core.
There’s only one word to truly describe “Forrest Gump”: magical. This is one of my very favorite movies. What this says about me I’m not sure, but I know that even though I’ve seen it more than a dozen times, it still makes laugh and cry from start to end.
“She was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
“We was like peas and carrots.”
“It was the happiest time of my life.”
“You mah girl!”
“I would never hurt you.”
“I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.”