27 - Forrest Gump
“I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is”
I’ll never forget the first time I watched Forrest
Gump. I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt
so simultaneously delighted, confused, sad, and happy all at the same
time. Given that I was in my early teens
I had little understanding of the historical and emotional significance of most
of the plot, which is thick with worldwide conflict and fascinating commentary
on humanity. What I did know was pretty
Forrest Gump is easily one of the most inspiring characters in film.
Movies often live off stacking the deck high against the protagonist, but Forrest runs through (“I was running!!”) that deck with such a child-like innocence that it is a joy to see. The simple joy he expresses, played by Tom Hanks in one of the best roles of his career, makes the moments of emotional impact hit that much harder. The audience is broken out of the fantasy along with Forrest, ripped from the whimsy of ping pong tournaments, Dr. Pepper, and shrimping by the realities of racism, AIDs, and drug use. What makes Forrest so inspiring though, is how he keeps moving forward and loving those around him, no matter whether they do the same in turn. Forrest Gump dares us to dream sure, but it also shows us how to love each other.
And of course, it shows us that life is just like a box of chocolates.
~ Stephen Russ