Millennial watches Forrest Gump: Sorry, this Tom Hanks classic can easily be skipped

Forrest Gump started off as a small nothing but eventually when I tried to find depth in his subplots it turned out there was none and it was all just on the surface. Since the promotions of Laal Singh Chaddha by Aamir Khan began, people sang the praises of the Tom Hanks star. But I guess it’s time to add some raspberries to the bouquet of hosannas.

Much has been written about Forrest Gump. With six Oscars, the 1994 film impressed not only those who watched the film when it was released, but also many others who have watched it over the years. Before I watched it, a friend said to me, “It’s the best movie. It will leave you in tears. It’s so moving. How come you missed such a gem? So, I went there assuming I’m in for a joyous experience. But the film didn’t leave the impact I expected. Come to think of it, I think it would have been better if I had discovered the film on my own and hadn’t had the whole experience pre-digested for me.

While receiving the Best Picture Oscar for the film, director Robert Zemeckis described Forrest Gump as “a film that offers a human, inspiring and hopeful story at its heart”. Yes it is a human story rich in emotions, This is the story of Forrest Gump, a man with an IQ of 75, who despite all the bullying and being treated like an outsider, lives his life with honesty and empathy. He has no cynicism even towards those who mistreat him. He doesn’t mind that his childhood sweetheart Jenny comes in and out of his life frequently. His actions are never colored by what others have done to him.

But, in creating a character so full of innocence, screenwriter Eric Rothm, who adapted the screenplay from Winston Groom’s novel of the same name, gave him no sort of agency.

He is either sad or happy. There is no other emotion that he exhibits from his childhood until he embraced parenthood in his prime. You never see him grow as an individual. Everything he does in life is luck. While on the run from bullies, he finds himself on a football field and gets noticed for his speed and is offered a college scholarship. He accidentally ends up in the army and ends up saving his comrades during the Vietnam War while searching for his friend Bubba (Mykelti Williamson). He fell on ping-pong and then became national champion. He also becomes a successful entrepreneur after completing his service in the military. And how? Because the other boats in the shrimp sector are destroyed in a storm.

Tom Hanks in a photo by Forrest Gump. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Does the film teach us that all you need in life is a little luck to succeed?

For a while, there’s an undeniable intrigue about Forrest, but you start to lose interest in the “yes-yes” he’s becoming. When asked by his drill sergeant, “Gump, what is your sole purpose in this army?” He replies, “To do whatever you tell me, drill sergeant!” And, that’s what he does in the whole movie, do what other people tell him to do. He himself has no definite goal in life. He never questions Jenny either when she leaves him.

The further the film goes, the less it adds up. Zemeckis tours a crucial time in American history when presidents were assassinated. With CGI, it places Forrest alongside several presidents: John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. He also addresses the crowd after the Vietnam war, but we never listen to his opinion, which was probably our only chance to understand what really happened to him during the war, described as destroying hope of a “decent America”.

Forrest Gump Robin Wright and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Towards the climax, we see Forrest running across America. A group of journalists ask him the purpose of his race. “Is it for world peace,” they suggest, “or homelessness, or women’s rights, or the environment? Animal rights?” He counters by saying that people can’t understand that someone can run around aimlessly. Did he have some kind of enlightenment? Did he make peace with his grief? Well, you’ll never know.

I don’t know if it would be criminal to say it, but I found Forrest Gump boring. At some point, I wanted it to end because absolutely nothing was going on. What I will remember from the film is the sentence: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.

tom hanks Forrest Gump Tom Hanks in a photo by Forrest Gump. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)not

Does the film teach us that all you need in life is a little luck to succeed?

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For a while, there’s an undeniable intrigue about Forrest, but you start to lose interest in the “yes-yes” he’s becoming. When asked by his drill sergeant, u201cGump, what is your sole purpose in this army?u201d He replies, “Do whatever you tell me, drill sergeant!” And that’s what he does in the whole movie, doing what other people tell him to do. He himself has no definite goal in life. He never questions Jenny either when she leaves him.

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The further the film goes, the less it adds up. Zemeckis tours a crucial time in American history when presidents were assassinated. With CGI, it places Forrest alongside several presidents: John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. He also addresses the crowd after the Vietnam war, but we never listen to his opinion, which was probably our only chance to understand what really happened to him during the war, described as destroying hope of a “decent America”.

notforrest gump Robin Wright and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)not

Towards the climax, we see Forrest running across America. A group of journalists ask him the purpose of his race. u201cIs it for world peaceu201d, or homelessness, or women’s rights, or the environment? Animal rights ? He retorts by saying that people can’t understand how someone can run around aimlessly. But, as a viewer, I’m also confused. Why this race and why did it stop? Was there some kind of enlightenment? Has he made peace with his grief? Well, you’ll never know.

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I don’t know if it would be criminal to say it, but I found Forrest Gump boring. At some point, I wanted it to end because absolutely nothing was going on. What I will remember from the film is the sentence: u201cLife is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.u201d

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