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Forrest Gump

Updated on February 27, 2019
James A Watkins profile image

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

JENNY & FORREST GUMP
JENNY & FORREST GUMP

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is my favorite film of all time. I love everything about it. The acting is extraordinary; the direction and cinematography superb; the script, the characters, the dialogue sublime; the musical score and soundtrack preternatural.

Forrest Gump was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won in six categories including: Best Picture; Best Director, Robert Zemeckis; Best Actor, Tom Hanks; Best Screenplay, Eric Roth; Best Film Editing, Arthur Schmidt; Best Visual Effects.

The film takes us through American history from Elvis to Apple. Forrest is cleverly inserted into real footage of famous people and historic events. The film clearly shows the results of the choices we make in life; and that some people are greatly underestimated with whom we may come in contact, if we only look at the superficial, not the underlying character. Adding to its greatness is a plethora of fine character actors, in particular the drill sergeant at basic training.

The soundtrack album is awesome, but does not include some of the great tunes in the movie such as "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix, and "Running on Empty" by Jackson Browne.

On the album are 32 iconic songs, e.g., "Fortunate Son" by CCR; "For What it's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield; "San Francisco" by Scott McKenzie; "Turn, Turn, Turn" by The Byrds; "Everybody's Talkin'" by Harry Nilsson; "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynrd Skynrd; "Against the Wind" by Bob Seger; and "Get Together" by the Youngbloods.

JENNY AND FORREST GUMP
JENNY AND FORREST GUMP

Get Together

Love is but the song we sing,
And fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why
C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try to love one another right now
Some will come and some will go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moments sunlight
Fading in the grass
C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try to love one another right now
If you hear the song I sing,
You must understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command
C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try to love one another right now
Right now
Right now!

BUBBA DIES IN FORREST'S ARMS
BUBBA DIES IN FORREST'S ARMS
LIEUTENANT DAN & FORREST GUMP
LIEUTENANT DAN & FORREST GUMP
FORREST GUMP AT JENNY'S GRAVE
FORREST GUMP AT JENNY'S GRAVE

Forrest Gump

Michael Connor Humphreys plays Forrest Gump as a boy; in a performance I believe ranks right at the top of child acting history. Sally Field plays his mother magnificently.

The relationship between mother and son is a highlight of the film. They clearly love each other as deeply as possible, and while she is protective of her son, what with his IQ of 75, she also teaches him that he can stake out his own place in the world despite his limitations, saying, "Do the best with what God gave you."

One thing I love about Forrest is that he is a great listener. When people speak to him, he is not distracted or thinking of what he is going to say next. He is truly listening, and he takes to heart the words of the people in his life; often recalling them as they apply to a new situation in which he finds himself.

Forrest develops a close friendship with another misfit after joining the army. Mykelti Williamson gives a masterful performance as "Bubba" Blue. They go to Viet Nam together, where Forrest shows his love for others by carrying many wounded men, one at a time, through the jungle under heavy fire to safety—winning the Congressional Medal of Honor. Bubba dies in his arms and he says, "If I would have known I 'd never see Bubba again, I would have thought of something better to say."

Bubba's dream in life was to become a shrimp boat captain after his military service. Forrest honors his friend after his death by living out his dream for him. He gets rich in the shrimping business and shares the wealth with Bubba's family. He also takes on a first mate, his old lieutenant from Viet Nam, Dan Taylor, played with aplomb by Gary Sinese.

Lieutenant Dan has many memorable scenes in the film. He curses Forrest for saving his life in combat because he believes it was his destiny to die on the battlefield, and he doesn't want to live after both legs are amputated due to his injuries. He is so angry that he sits in the crow's nest during a hurricane shouting at God, "Is that all you got!?"

He belittles Forrest in such a way that Forrest doesn't get it, but if anyone else treats Forrest disrespectfully he protects his friend fiercely. In a moving scene, Dan finally thanks Forrest for saving his life. When he gets titanium prostheses, Forrest exclaims, "Lieutenant Dan! You've got legs!"

Robin Wright plays the love of Forrest's life, Jenny. She tells Forrest he doesn't know what love is as she careens through life exploring one self-destructive behavior after another with a trail of men who are users and abusers. In the end she has a child with Forrest, after initiating him into love making, though she does not disclose this until he is a little boy.

When she invites Forrest over to meet the lad, he says the boy is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. Then his eyes well up with tears and he asks, touchingly, "Is he smart?"

Forrest and Jenny marry while she is slowly dying of AIDS. Forrest buries her in his yard under the tree they played in as youngsters. Near the end of the film he speaks to her grave and then backs away rather than turn his back to her—something he has been doing all his life.

Jenny was wrong. Forrest Gump knew what love is better than most.

FILMMAKER ROBERT ZEMECKIS
FILMMAKER ROBERT ZEMECKIS
working

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