Forrest Gump Review In the historically fictional film, Forrest Gump, underlying themes arise through the life story of an innocent soul. Critics describe the film to be a magical story of a hero, while other critics describe the film to be idiotic and insulting. Although critics downplay on the way the Gump’s story is told, I believe that the underlying messages of the story itself should be the main focus. Critics overlook the overall messages of the film, yet these messages are of great importance to the viewer.
Themes brought out by Forrest Gump include (and are not limited to) love, history, and life itself and it is essential for the viewer to capture these messages because every viewer can relate to Gump in one way or another. After the underlying messages have been evaluated, then shall the evaluation occur of whether the actors and directors of the film have done their job of relaying their message to the viewer. The story of Forrest Gump begins with a mother’s unconditional love for her son.
Being the mother of a handicap and mentally retarded child, Forrest Gump’s mother proves her motherly love by going out of her way to give Gump everything she could as a mother. Right then and there, the theme of love is exemplified. As the story progresses, love is again demonstrated through Gump’s relationship with Jenny, yet in a different way. Gump’s first encounter with Jenny was an innocent love – a love she had towards Gump as a person, and not necessarily a lover just yet.
After growing up and going their separate ways, they both eventually find their ways back to each other, and this time a lover’s type of love took place. Later on in the film, Gump finds another type of love – a love for his own child. Through many instances in the story, love is illustrated through Forrest Gump himself and as well as through Gump’s family, relationships, and even through the love of doing what he wanted/felt. According to the critic Hal Hinson from the Washington Post, he believes that Gump’s “existence is almost completely dictated by happenstance and dumb luck. I completely disagree. Through the entire film, love is an underlying theme and I believe that Forrest Gump’s existence is dictated not by happenstance and dumb luck, but indeed love. Throughout the film, historical figures and events manifest their way into Gump’s story. Figures such as Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy make their appearance in the film as well as events such as the Vietnam War and the Woodstock era. Although the directors of the film twist the truth on how history came about in the film, the theme of history remains underlined.
Even the theme of history is a combination of many themes in itself and critic Stuart Klawans from The Nation names “war, racism, child abuse, poverty, political murder, death by aids” as a few subjects to fit under that umbrella. Hal Hinson, critic from the Washington Post, believes that these historical figures and events occurring in the film are “just there, dropped in to mark the passage of time…” However, I believe Forrest Gump, as a character in the film, is used as a tool to touch on these touchy subjects.
In reality, these subjects are taken very seriously, and I believe Gump is used as a tool in the film to expose to the viewer these subjects in a form of comic relief. I agree with Aeon J. Skoble, critic from The Freeman, who mentions that the film “strikes the right balance between serious drama and light comedy. ” With every serious event in the movie, Forrest Gump provides an ease to the film’s reality, and even an ease to the viewer’s reality of history. Every viewer is affected by the history of America, and that is why the theme of history is vital in the film.
Life is such an important theme through the entire film. The story itself is about one’s entire life. The romance in the film relates to life. Historical figures and events relate to life. And because life is an underlying theme in the film, even the viewers’ lives relate to the story. The infamous quote from this very film – “life is a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get” – obviously relates back to life. Life as a theme in the story is so important because life in reality is important to not only the viewer, but also to everyone. To put it in a simple way – that’s life.
Three themes underlined throughout the film include love, history, and life. Although those are the only three mentioned, there are plenty more themes incorporated in the film. Now, the question of whether the directors and actors did their job in relaying the message back to the viewer has occurred. I believe that they did their job, and they did it well. As a drama/romance story with a twist of American history, I believe that the underlined messages were clear to the viewer. Critic, Robert Ebert, says “the movie is ingenious in taking Forrest on his tour of recent American history” and I completely agree.
They did a good job in using Gump as a tool to touch on those touchy subjects, as Tom Hanks “may be the only actor who could have played that role. ” They did an exceptional job because if the viewer cannot relate to one thing, he/she is able to relate to another thing in the film – whether it is regarding romance, family, friends, popular culture, etc. With that being said, Forrest Gump is an outstanding film that uses the main character as a tool to underline significant life-meaning messages for the viewer to easily capture yet remaining entertained.