Forrest Gump Film Critique Essay Sample

Forest Gump (1994) Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Forest Gump (1994) is one of the most famous movies directed by Robert Zemeckis. This romantic-comedy-drama film has won 6 Oscars (Feneja 158). Its main character, Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), was born with an IQ under 75. He was a child in a single-parent family, and his mother always told him, that he was not different from other children and could independently decide what to do in any complicated life situation. Forrest followed mother’s instructions during his lifetime. His story lacks objectivity, but it is truthful, simple and touching in the manner in which Gump helps, supports succeeds, and loves.

 

The film covers the historic period from the sixties to the nineties of the twentieth century. The entire plot develops as Gump’s story about his life: “it is his very spirit and tone that conveys the essence of the movie.” (Feneja 159). It is in 1981. Forrest is sitting on a bench at a bus stop and telling the people waiting for a bus about his life. Gump starts his story with a moment, which he clearly remembers. On his first day at school, he met a girl named Jenny, the love of all his life. Having cured the problem with his legs, Forrest took a chance to get a football scholarship due to his ability to run at a great speed.

After college, he joined the army and headed for Vietnam. There he met his black friend Bubba, to whom he promised that they would start a shrimp business together, but the enemies killed him soon, and Lieutenant Dan Taylor, who lost both his legs as a result of injuries. Gump received the Medal of Honor, and while recovering at the hospital, he learned about his ability to skillfully play Ping-Pong and even went to China to take part in some games there. During the anti-war meeting, he met Jenny, whom he wrote numerous letters, but the girl was a hippie, belonged to the anti-war movement, and continued her way with other participants of the corresponding group.

Shrimp business initiated by Gump together with Lieutenant Dan was not successful at once, but after a while, they earned very well from the sales. Investing in Apple Inc., Taylor ensured a stable future for him and his companion. Gump gave a promised share to Bubba’s family. Jenny visited Gump again, lived with him for a while, and had an intimate contact once, but she left. She was embarrassed about her past as a drug addict and felt that Forrest was too good for her. That time Gump is sitting on the bench with Jenny’s letter, and when he learns how to find her, he visits his beloved woman, gets acquainted with their small son Forrest, takes them both to his place, and marries Jenny. Unfortunately, the woman is seriously ill with some unknown virus. The viewers understand that this is HIV caused by her former drug addiction.

The film critics state that Forrest Gump seems to contain even too many historical facts like it is in a documentary movie (Feneja 165). They are as follows: assassination attempts against Wallace, Reagan, and Kennedy, the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal, and other events simply mentioned in the movie. Gump personally meets with Kennedy (because of Forrest’s football victories), Johnson (who awarded him a medal), and Nixon (as the best Ping-Pong player). Gump met Elvis Presley and John Lennon when the former had not been a superstar yet and the popularity of the latter was unknown to Forrest. Therefore, in spite of a simple and naive manner of telling, Gump showed that his life was full of events.

As it was mentioned above, the film premiered in 1994. It is not possible to highlight some specific events of this period which influenced Zemeckis to direct such a movie. The author wanted to depict the greatest social problems of the past which still partially exist in American society, namely anti-war movements, drug addiction, and racial inequality. The main message of the director is the fact that each person should be a master of their own destiny in a way, that they cannot be sure what will happen tomorrow, but they can make decisions and build their life in a desirable way.

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Summary

The viewers have a chance to learn more about American history from the movie. I feel that I have learned some new things about the life of the Americans in the second part of the twentieth century. However, the movie critics state that Forrest Gump is not historically accurate: “it is absolutely true that the anti-war movement is shown in a somewhat cartoonish fashion.” (Mendelson). Moreover, the director presented the hippie movement in an aggressive way, which was not actually like this. However, Gump’s childish perception and interpretation of the surrounding world organically correlate with these historical inaccuracies.

I would definitely recommend Forrest Gump to my fellow students for them to realize that in order to become a successful sportsman, a war hero, or a millionaire, a person may not have some extraordinary abilities, but they should just believe in themselves and act following the principles of sincerity and respect for others. I fully support the main idea of the movie expressed by Murray: “While we can’t decide what happens to us, we each have important choices to make in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.” (44).

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