The final recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film following my screening of Apocalypse Now is Forrest Gump, Robert Zemeckis’ incredibly powerful, entertaining and Oscar winning film.
While the film is not predominantly about Vietnam, the war sequences are very intense and well-crafted.
The story, featuring an Tom Hanks in the titular role (for which he took home an Academy Award) of Forrest Gump, a man with an IQ of 75. We see some of the defining events of the 20th century through his innocent eyes – Zemeckis and his visual effects team inserted Hanks’ Gump into old news reels and photos – as well as a man proving that anyone and everyone is capable of love.
For Forrest there is only one woman he every loved, the troubled and beautiful Jenny (Robin Wright). She gets a wonderful character arc that plays in contrast to Hanks’.
Joining the cast is Sally Field as Forrest’s mother, Mykelti Williamson as Bubba, Forrest’s shrimp-obsessed friend, and Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan, Forrest’s platoon commander.
Although the Vietnam sequence is short, it depicts the war in a realistic way, and its effects resonate throughout the film.
Filled with a soundtrack that brings the eras of Gump’s decades to life, the film became transcendent, finding its way into popular culture and was critically and culturally acclaimed.
But when a film does that, you lose track of the cinematic aspect of it. You simply remember that it was a good film and that you loved it. When you rewatch it again (as I did for the blog) you are reminded of just how much you love it, and why it is such a great film.
The acting, the story, the music (Alan Silvestri), everything about this film is on point and perfect, and Hanks is so incredibly endearing and honest in his portrayal of Forrest. The humour and drama combine perfectly, dovetailing against one another from scene to scene, and even moment to moment.
It is a look at not only one character, but America in the decades portrayed, seeing the world through a different perspective.
It’s a gorgeous film, and yes, when it first came out, we got to a super-saturation point with the movie, but now, a little ways on, it was a delight to rediscover it again; to revel in the moments, the performances, and the sheer beauty of this film that has spoken to so many people, and will continue to.
I love this film, and become so emotionally involved in it each time I’ve seen it.
Isn’t it time to watch it again?