Movie Review: Forrest Gump (1994)

Seldom does one see a movie that keeps us rooted to our seats even when the credits start rolling at the end. Seldom does a movie leave such an everlasting impression. Forrest Gump is a true work of art. Critically acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis gives us his best work to date, with a roller coaster ride of emotional drama.

The film is a technical masterpiece. Robert Zemeckis brings alive the Winston Groom novel wonderfully well. The screenplay by the veteran Eric Roth is a treat to watch. Don Burgess deserves a pat on the back for his excellent cinematography, especially during the scene where Forrest runs across the State. The way he captures the rising sun and the snow-clad mountains is commendable. Forrest’s expressions and emotions have been exquisitely portrayed with the camera. Alan Silvestri’s background score is instrumental in connecting us with each and every emotion. The excellent editing by Arthur Schmidt also deserves honorable mention.

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks gives a stellar performance as Forrest Gump, a simple man with the intelligence of a ten year old. The story follows Gump as he faces challenges and overcomes them, achieves fame and fortune without wanting or asking for it, and ends up unknowingly in all the big events in America from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. These include meeting Elvis Presley and President Kennedy, joining the Vietnam War and receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Richard Nixon. It is the tale of how Forrest overcomes hurdles armed only with his innocence, and succeeds even after losing so much.

Robin Wright-Penn is convincing as Jenny Curran, a troubled woman who is willing to go to any extent to achieve happiness. She is Forrest’s childhood love and is instrumental in every decision he makes. Gary Sinise is exceptional as Lieutenant Dan Taylor, Forrest’s commander during the Vietnam War. It is really touching to see the relationship of trust that slowly grows between them and how they help each other out in times of need.

The chemistry between Hanks and Wright-Penn is electrifying. Hanks manages to portray the purity and innocence of Forrest Gump with remarkable ease. We can easily relate to his character. We smile at his joys and cry at his sorrows. Hanks’ subtle portrayal of emotions is mind-blowing. The scene with Forrest at Jenny’s grave is enough to melt even the hardest of hearts. It is an absolute privilege to watch him perform.

This movie is a must watch for each and every age group. It teaches us about life, how unpredictable and cruel it can be. It shows us how we can overcome obstacles and succeed by just being our own selves. It helps us believe in destiny. All this is beautifully summed up in Forrest’s own words – “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”

Abhilash Sanyal

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