All smiles. So this is actually a pretty straightforward romance story of a less than intelligent man by the name of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), trying to pursue the love of his life, Jenny (Robin Wright), through the years, all the while inadvertently being involved with major historic events. There are movies out there that unfairly get the label “overrated”, and you will find this on many a list, if not at the very top. While I will say that I don’t personally think that this deserved to take home best picture at the 1994 Academy Awards (Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption are both inarguable masterpieces), that isn’t to say that this is a movie without merits, and there is still plenty to recommend about Forrest Gump.
It’s easy to digest, and sometimes that isn’t a bad thing.
I love the framework to this movie. I get a kick out of the fact that Forrest is just sitting on a bench, telling his story to uninterested bus passengers; it really doesn’t matter who exactly is listening to it, and it might as well be a brick wall for most cases. It’s almost two and a half hours long, but it always moves fast as you are navigating the course of history, seeing several decades in the process. Tom Hanks is excellent, showcasing exactly why he is known as being a national treasure. He may be a simpleton, but you can relate to his plain quest for love, and you never at any point stop rooting for him to succeed.
Also, after seeing Robert Downey Jr.’s speeches in Tropic Thunder, you can get an additional level of enjoyment out of this.
There are a number of adjectives that come immediately to mind when thinking of Forrest Gump, and those would be whimsical, light, sentimental and earnest. It is exceptionally quotable, and you may not realize without refreshing your memory exactly how many lines this is known for. The pacing never falters, and you are always in the story, right there in the moment. Something that goes overlooked about this is how great the soundtrack is; when you span this amount of time, you have a large selection to choose from, and they make some great choices. Forrest Gump is a really good movie that I feel that any backlash it against it is unduly warranted… and that’s all I have to say about that.
Forrest Gump (1994) ****1/2
– Critic for Hire