Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field This was flat out one of the best movies of 1994. It won best picture for a reason, along with a few other Academy Awards. I think one of the tag lines for the movie was, "The world will never be the same once you've seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump." How true. The movie is basically one simple man's journey through life. And what a journey.
The movie opens with Forrest (Hanks) sitting at a bus stop, waiting to go see Jenny (Wright) after being apart from her for years. Who is Jenny, you ask? We'll get to that in a minute. Forrest strikes up a conversation or two with the people that come and wait for the bus with him. Or, more accurately, he keeps talking regardless of whether anybody is listening or not. The movie plays out as a flashback, with Forrest taking us through all the major events of his life and narrating them.
The flashback starts when Forrest is a little boy, about six years old or so, just at about the age where he should be starting school. We get to take a look at Forrest's childhood as he gets leg braces to straighten out his back, as his momma (Field) fights (and does a few other things) to get him into public school, and as he meets for the first time the love of his life. Jenny. He meets her on the way to school, sitting next to her on the bus, and they strike up a friendship immediately.
Eventually we progress to the point where Forrest and Jenny are in high school, and we travel along with Forrest as he makes it onto the football team and gets to go to college. Forrest and Jenny never date, but he's always there to protect her. Anytime he thinks she's in trouble, he rushes to the rescue, ready to beat the ever-loving snot out of anyone who even looks at his Jenny wrong. I think one of my favorite scenes in the movie is when someone is dumb enough to slap Jenny. The film goes slow motion, Forrest's eyes go wide, and he starts charging at this guy like a runaway locomotive, and has the striking force of one too. Watching him beat the crap out of that guy is hilarious.
As Forrest grows up and goes through school, college, the army, a Vietnam tour, becomes a ping pong celebrity, a shrimp boat captain, and eventually one of the richest men out there, he also gets to take a few stops in history as the filmmaker gives us his own spin of how he thinks history would have happened if Forrest Gump were there. He gets to meet the President three times, he's the man who exposes the Watergate scandal, he's at the school doors when Governor George Wallace tries to get some Negroes into a white school, and so on and so forth. It's really funny the way they manipulate historical footage to insert Forrest into the events of the past.
This is truly a great movie. You'd be a fool to miss it.
Bottom Line: 4 out of 4 (own this movie)