10 Harsh Realities Of Rewatching Forrest Gump, 30 Years Later


  • Forrest Gump’s portrayal of American history and historical figures has been the subject of criticism in recent years.
  • There are also concerns about the film’s length, structural problems and conservative propaganda.
  • This raises questions about the depiction of Forrest’s love story, Tom Hanks’ portrayal of an intellectual disability, and the overall re-envisioning of the film.

Forrest Gump is now 30 years old, and from its toxic love story to its blatant whitewashing of American history, there are plenty of difficult realities to confront when rewatching it today. When it premiered in 1994, Forrest Gump It became one of the highest-grossing films ever made and won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture (beating Popular fiction and Life imprisonment). All these years later, Forrest Gump It endures as a pop culture staple, thanks to its quirky premise, Tom Hanks’ iconic performance in the title role, and its numerous quotable lines.

It’s not a total disaster to see him again. Forrest Gump Today, the acting is phenomenal, director Robert Zemeckis’ perfect blend of fictional stories and real-life historical events is, for the most part, a fun and entertaining film. Forrest GumpThe soundtrack is full of great rock and roll songs. But rewatching it 30 years later, Forrest Gump It is not the flawless cinematic masterpiece that contemporary critics and audiences praised. There are many problematic elements in the film that have not aged well.

10 Forrest Gump whitewashes American history

Forrest (Tom Hanks) in his soldier uniform, loaded with equipment in Vietnam in Forrest Gump.

Forrest Gump Basically, it’s an elementary school history class that covers 20th century American history. Throughout the movie, Forrest stumbles upon almost every major historical event that happened in the United States during his lifetime. He witnesses the Battle of the Schoolhouse Gate, the March on the Pentagon, and the Watergate scandal. He meets a handful of presidents, from JFK to LBJ to Richard Nixon, and even fights in Vietnam.

But Zemeckis doesn’t do justice to the weight of these historical events, because he presents them from Forrest’s perspective. By simplifying American history, Zemeckis also whitewashes it. By showing American horror stories like segregation and the Vietnam War through the eyes of this endearingly naive and optimistic character, Forrest Gump It removes all the darkness, complexity, and questionable morality from American history.

At 142 minutes, Forrest Gump overstays its welcome

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) stops running with a crowd behind him in Forrest Gump

One of the biggest obstacles to a movie being rewatchable is that it’s too long. If a movie is much longer than it should be, it will be harder to watch a second or third time. It: Chapter Two It didn’t need to last even close to three hours. Django Unchained It’s less re-watchable than most Quentin Tarantino films because its added final act makes the film longer than it needs to be.

Forrest Gump It also suffers from this problem. With 142 minutes, Forrest Gump It’s a bit too long. It moves at a fast pace, but there are long stretches of Forrest’s life where nothing really happens and the movie starts to drag. Zemeckis didn’t need that much time to show the success of Forrest’s shrimping business. The continuous montage is endless.

8. Forrest and Jenny’s love story is really toxic

Forrest and Jenny in a field in Forrest Gump

The emotional line in Forrest Gump Forrest falls in love with Jenny, his childhood best friend. Forrest falls in love with Jenny at a young age and remains in love with her well into adulthood. While Jenny goes off to live her wild life, Forrest remains focused on his love for her. The third act resolution of this romance is when, after many rejections, Jenny finally gives in and has sex with Forrest. But that is not the sweet love story the movie presents.

Both Forrest and Jenny act in a very toxic manner throughout this whole supposed love story. Jenny keeps putting Forrest off throughout his life, while Forrest keeps pushing back after Jenny has made it perfectly clear that she is not interested in him romantically. Forrest and Jenny being together is not actually a happy ending in this particular romance.

7 complex historical figures reduced to monotonous cameos

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump with JFK in Forrest Gump

Sometimes, Forrest Gump It may feel like a Avengers Movie with Marvel superhero cameos replaced by cameos of American historical figures. Gives Elvis Presley his signature dance move. Witnesses Governor George Wallace try to block integration at the University of Alabama. Meets more presidents than a Without intelligence host. Since the movie is packed with these cameos and they only have a few seconds of screen time each, Forrest Gump reduces these complex historical figures to one-dimensional archetypes.

Elvis has been widely criticized for copying his performance style from black artists, but the film assumes that he adopted it from Forrest. Abbie Hoffman and the Black Panthers continue to inspire activists to this day, but Forrest Gump It portrays them as narrow-minded idealists. Such iconic historical figures need to be explored in more depth.

6 Forrest Gump is a clear example of Oscar bait

Forrest reads to his son in Forrest Gump

When movies try to appeal to Oscar voters rather than the general public, they can be annoying to watch. Movies like Crash and Green Bookthat take a very blunt, self-indulgent approach to serious social issues might end up taking home trophies on Oscar night, but they’re almost unbearable to watch. Tom Hanks has been guilty of this a few times; in 2011, he starred in that saccharine 9/11 drama. Extremely loud and incredibly close.

Looking back at it now, Forrest Gump The film is a prime example of how an Oscar can be won. It is very saccharine and saccharine and oversimplifies a litany of complicated social issues. The attempt to win an Oscar worked. Forrest Gump It went home with six Academy Awards, including the top prize, but today it seems painfully obvious that that was the filmmakers’ main goal.

5 The film’s structural problems stand out upon rewatching

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump running

In total, Eric Roth’s script for Forrest Gump It’s a pretty impressive feat of screenwriting. Forrest Gump It’s full of quotable dialogue, tells a fairly compelling story, and each character, from Forrest to Jenny to Bubba to Lt. Dan, has his or her own distinctive personality. But from a structural standpoint, the script is a complete mess. The narrative is all over the place, jumping from one key event to the next in Forrest’s life with very little connective tissue to smooth out the transitions.

The first time you watch the film, it doesn’t seem all that bad; the episodic structure, which jumps from one chapter to the next, plays out like a miniseries. But the disjointed chronology and dull stretches become more apparent on repeat viewings. With each rewatch, it becomes increasingly clear that the film uses Forrest’s voice-over to cover up the script’s structural flaws.

4 Forrest Gump is conservative propaganda (whether that was intended or not)

Tom Hanks with his mouth open during a peace march in a scene from Forrest Gump

Whether it was intentional on Zemeckis’ part or not, Forrest Gump The movie is a fairly straightforward piece of conservative propaganda. The movie revolves around an average American citizen who is not particularly intelligent or ambitious. Throughout his life, he keeps his head down, does exactly what he is told, and serves his government. And for that, the movie rewards him with fame, fortune, and the American dream.

On the other hand, Jenny is portrayed as a free spirit who thinks independently, questions authority, and does what she wants. And the film punishes her with misery, abuse, the first HIV diagnosis, and a painful death. The message is clear: conservatism and patriotism are the paths to success, while liberalism and independent thinking are the paths to an early death. It wasn’t so obvious in 1994, but it definitely stands out when rewatching the film today.

3. Tom Hanks’ portrayal of a character with an intellectual disability is problematic in the current climate

Forrest (Tom Hanks) on a bus bench in the opening scene of Forrest Gump

When Forrest Gump When it hit theaters in 1994, no one batted an eyelid if an actor played a character with an intellectual disability. Dustin Hoffman played a character with autism in Rain manSean Penn played a character with an unspecified learning disability in I’m Sam. When Tom Hanks played the lead role in Forrest GumpHe wasn’t criticized for taking away an opportunity from a disabled actor; he was given an Oscar.

There is now much more criticism of a non-disabled actor playing a disabled character. On-screen representation of people with disabilities still has a long way to go, but it is improving. The Peanut Butter Falcon They cast Zack Gottsagen, an actor with Down syndrome, to play a character with the same condition. In the current climate, Hanks’ portrayal of a character with an intellectual disability in Forrest Gump feels much more problematic.

2 Forrest’s entire story is ridiculously idealized

Forrest Gump smiling on his shrimp boat

Forrest’s entire life story is absurdly idealized. Typically, the goal of the narrative is to present a flawed character, put him through a series of tests that force him to prove himself and become a better person, and ultimately leave him in a happier, more fulfilled place than when he started. But Forrest Gump He doesn’t do any of that; he’s a passive protagonist who stumbles into the kind of success most people work their entire lives to achieve.

Forrest never tries too hard at anything and ends up being great at everything. He sees some people playing ping pong so he decides to give it a try and quickly becomes an international champion. He gets drafted to fight in Vietnam and ends up becoming a Rambo-style war hero. Forrest achieves massive success at every opportunity and he really doesn’t deserve it.

1 Forrest Gump is a very cheesy movie

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump talking to a woman on a bench in Forrest Gump

The worst thing about seeing again Forrest Gump Nowadays, the idea is that it’s a very cheesy movie. Obviously, that’s the point. The movie is meant to show America through the eyes of a simple man, and part of Forrest’s simplicity is the naivety with which he views the world. But, while other 1994 classics like Popular fiction and Life imprisonment They manage to touch the heartstrings without sacrificing their edge, Forrest Gump It’s a sugary, gooey cheese feast from start to finish.

Forrest’s relationship with his mother is anything but loving, understanding and caring from start to finish. Every stranger Forrest tells his story to breaks down in tears. Even despite his journey to the battlefields of Vietnam, there is no room for nuance or darkness in Forrest GumpIt’s a very superficial film.

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