Reviews: Forrest Gump

A Somehow Underrated Oscar Winner

I could probably never have a favourite movie. I do naturally like some movies more than others, but since what I consider to be good can be anything from Chaplin to anime, choosing one movie to stand above the rest would not only be impossible but also pointless. My interests are, quite simply, too wide.

If I had to pick the one movie which I would have the least problems with to call the greatest film of all time, however, it would be Forrest Gump, because it succeeds in a way that is surprisingly hard to do: it's a smart movie that's also very human.

In order for me to declare something great, it must fulfil two criteria: it has to be both very clever and very engaging. Taxi Driver is a smart flick, but beyond its protagonist it's not terribly engaging (yes, I know none of you agree, you can sit down); likewise, Haruhi Suzumiya is a likable series, but it's nothing overly intelligent (ditto). Forrest Gump, on the other hand, presents a profound story from the eyes of one of the most charming characters of cinema, the eponymous Forrest Gump. The movie changes in mood from triumphant to bittersweet and back again along with Forrest, and very effecticely so, but there's more to it than simply the tale of a mentally handicapped man: its message of life as a box of chocolates rings strikingly true (well, unless one gets overly technical), making the film meet both of the aforementioned criteria with flying colours. Of course, the film has other strengths as well (the acting comes to mind), but these are by far the most important aspects.

So how is the film an "underrated Oscar winner", then? The reason I see it as one is because the fact remains that Forrest Gump has taken a quite a bit of criticism for allegedly promoting apathy or not thinking for oneself. While I can see how one would draw that conclusion, I full-heartedly disagree: it's true that Forrest is not particularly bright, but he never does anything just because someone tells him to do so. It is shown plenty of times that he has his own opinions, e.g. when he saves the lives of his squadmates.

Forrest Gump is a masterpiece, and a clear reminder of the fact that a movie can be intelligent without being devoid of charm.