Friendship Doesn’t Judge
Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump is funny, sweet, and serious. Zemeckis’ works are that of unconventional comedy (Back to the Future) and serious with Forrest Gump. He uses a protagonist who is inspired by real life people as well as real life events.
Forrest is raised by his momma (Sally Field), who did whatever she had to in order to give Forrest the absolute best. Forrest loves his Momma more than anything in the world. As any mother would when he gets called stupid she tells him, “Stupid is as Stupid does”, and by that saying he lives by. This movie is wonderful for those of us who feel a deep connection with a mother figure and even those who wish they had that in their lives. Momma shows us how important it is to push your child in the right direction and because of all her pushing, Forrest becomes one of the best; from getting a football scholarship and becoming the football hero who never stops running, which then leads to winning a Medal of Honor in Vietnam and being a shrimp boat captain all the way to running across America and then retracing those steps. Forrest may not understand everything but one thing he’s learned from his Momma is that love is important. When Forrest finds out that his Momma is sick, you can feel the emotional attachment that he has with her, he rushes home to be by her side and realizes that he has to figure out how to live without her. Forrest leaves reference to his Momma many times throughout the rest of the movie. When he’s running across America he says that the one person he misses is his Momma. Momma plays an even bigger part in Forrest’s life when Forrest Junior comes around and he tells his daddy that Grandma used to read Curious George to his Daddy so that’s the book JR wants to read.
The theme of this movie is friendship. Forrest talks to everyone, he isn’t shy nor does he want to be. Forrest’s very first friend was Jenny, it is obvious that he and Jenny are friends because Forrest tells everyone that him and Jenny go along like peas and carrots. Forrest and Jenny are such good friends that they end up getting married and that is the true test of friendship. Gump doesn’t have enemies, he sees everyone as friend. Lt Dan for example, he was a bully and could smack talk Forrest every single day and Forrest would still love him. Forrest met Bubba on the Army Bus and from that moment on they were best friends. After fighting in war together Forrest buys a shrimp boat just to keep the friendship alive. Gump shows us that you don’t have to be smart to be a good friend, you only have to be loyal.
Forrest doesn’t understand the past and only lives in the present. Most people would say that it is hard to have friendships when you don’t add everything together from the past and the present but this movie shows that it is possible to have a friendship solely based on the present. Every time Forrest runs into one of his “old” friends it’s as if they friendship starts over again. When Forrest finds Jenny at the strip club he turns into a macho man and tries to get her out of there and save her, but Jenny gets pissed and tells Forrest that he can’t keep trying to rescue her all the time. Forrest then leaves for Vietnam and in any normal circumstance Forrest would get angry and not talk to Jenny for a while because he was only trying to help, but because Forrest doesn’t connect the past with the present he continues sending her letters even while he is away. Forrest and Jenny later have sex and she leaves him, which leads to him running around the country a few times. He then receives a letter that says he should come visit Jenny, so he goes (even though she left him the last time) and realizes that she has a son and his name is Forrest (like his daddy). The past stays in the past, Jenny and Forrest get married and then Jenny gets sick and dies. Forrest and Jenny’s friendship proves that it is possible to believe in friendship even though Forrest doesn’t connect the past with the present.
Tom Hanks is an incredible actor, as a kid he moved around frequently and never had a set group of friends. Hanks connects to the Forrest Gump because Forrest is a little odd and doesn’t have any real friends as a kid except Jenny. Hanks plays in movies that revolve around a war or another sort of adventure. In Apollo 13 Hanks played main character Jim Lovell, who was a former captain in the US navy and the commander of the Apollo 13 mission. In Saving Private Ryan he played Captain Miller, who was serving in the second Rangers Battalion of the United States Army during World War Two. Hanks plays characters who go into battle or on a mission and end up making a friend who doesn’t come back as they were before. Hanks fits the role of Forrest Gump because he is serious but funny, and that’s exactly who Forrest is. Gump may be a little slower than average, but he never gives up and always puts everyone else above himself.
Roger Zemeckis did something great with this one. He started out by telling a story of a boy who was a little different than everyone else, creating a dramatic effect. He tells a story of a little girl seeing the best in Forrest and not seeing him as different or weird, but as someone who will someday become the love of her life. Zemeckis also incorporates many references to events and people of the time, Forrest teaches Elvis how to swivel his hips, he gets to visit the White House, and tells JFK that he has to go to the bathroom. Zemeckis has picked the best cast for this movie, each actor/actress puts themselves fully into the shoes of the character and it couldn’t be more obvious that they care so much about the film.
Don Burgess the Cinematographer for Forrest Gump is well known for Spider Man and Cast Away. In the scenes where Forrest is on an adventure such as the football game and running across America, the shooting makes it seems as if the adventure itself is separate from the rest of the movie, and that draws attention to what’s going on in that very moment rather than what’s going on in the entire movie. Burgess used Anamorphic shooting in this film because it creates a sense of relationship with everything around Forrest. Tom Hanks tends to gather all the attention and by using a wider shot he was able to keep the story moving without the audience focusing solely on Tom Hanks. He also used Anamorphic shooting in Castaway because it was his way of guiding the audience to watching what the director wanted them to see.
This is one of my favorite movies, it’s one I could never get sick of because every time I watch it there is an emotional connection with Forrest that I don’t get with any other movie. This movie creates a sense of attachment to the character, you want him to come out on top, you don’t want to watch him get picked on, and sometimes you even want to join him.