30 April 2016 | Michael_Elliott
Even After Twenty Years the Film Still Holds Up
Forrest Gump (1994)
**** (out of 4)
Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), a slow but simple man from Alabama takes us through decades of his life, which includes various historical settings but all the while his heart is on Jenny (Robin Wright Penn), a childhood friend.
FORREST GUMP was released and quickly became a huge hit and ended up winning many Oscars. Today, for whatever reason, the film seems to be hated by many people because of the movies it beat out. I've never really understood putting too much importance on Oscars or any other award show and I really don't understand why one movie must take a beating just because of what films it beat out. ORDINARY PEOPLE takes a beating because it beat RAGING BULL. Something like DANCES WITH WOLVES takes a beating because it beat GOODFELLAS. Then there's FORREST GUMP that takes a beating because it beat out PULP FICTION or THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.
As far as the film itself goes I think this is a great one. I've always liked how the film took a look at a simple person's life and a simple person who is always in very big situations yet never really understands it. There are countless bits of dialogue that are remembered by mans and they've entered the public IQ but the one dealing with knowing what love is is the one that always caught my attention as far as what this film is about. To me Gump goes through all these historic things yet it's always his love for Jenny that is the heart of the picture.
I thought the story itself was quite great and especially how we take a look at American history through the 60s, 70s and 80s. I know some people make this a political movie but I've always found that to be rather foolish. The film has a wonderful soundtrack to highlight the various eras that are shown and we also get some clever use of CGI to put Gump in the presence of people like JFK and Richard Nixon. The screenplay hits all the right notes and there's no question that technically speaking the film is impressive.
Then there are the performances that really make the movie. Hanks picked up his second Best Actor award and while I personally would have given it to Paul Newman for his performance in NOBODY'S FOOL, there's no question that Hanks is great here. He certainly nailed that "simple" man and there's not a false moment in the performance. Gary Sinise is wonderful in his role as is Mykelti Williamson in his small bit. Robin Wright Penn is the perfect opposite to Hank's character and Sally Field is good as well.
No matter what people say, FORREST GUMP is still a wonderful little gem that has a lot of great things in it.