And the Oscar Goes to:
Forrest Gump, 1994
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, Sally Field
One day Forrest Gump, a slow-witted but king-hearted man, sits down on a bench, waits for a bus and begins to tell a woman, who is also waiting for a bus, a story. He talks his whole life, from his early childhood as a sufferer of a curved spine, and needing to use leg braces, to his adulthood and his career choices. After breaking out of his leg braces he starts running away from bullies. And Forrest rarely stops running thereafter. We follow Gump’s early and teenage years, his college years playing American Football, his career in the army and, throughout all of that, his love for his best friend Jenny.
It seems like such a basic plot to have a guy narrate various stages of his life to strangers, but Forrest Gump does it brilliantly, and it proves to be extremely comical. Comedy aside, though, Forrest Gump’s screenplay writer, Eric Roth, beautifully blends in moments of heartbreak with such joyful moments of comedy. Seamlessly transitioning from one to the other, Forrest suffers some of life’s toughest tragedies and still finds moments of pure joy elsewhere, and this is brilliant to see.
Tom Hanks, as well, is fantastic in this film. At times the role of Forrest can be extremely difficult to play, with his need to maintain belief at being a slow-witted man yet react in various different ways to the scenes. At times deadpan, at times emotional, Hanks nails his performance, and is fully deserving of his Best Actor award.
Featuring iconic lines (‘life is like a box of chocolates’) and iconic moments (Forrest’s running across America, which included Monument Valley, a nice little ‘I’ve been there and done that’ moment from me), it’s a well-loved film and a certain must-see. It’s brilliantly written, with a fantastic lead in Tom Hanks, and is hilarious and romantic and emotionally tragic and uplifting all beautifully merged together.
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Overall Rating: * * * * ¼