Forrest gump

     

“Forrest Gump” is an easy target: A sweet movie featuring one of the most beloved movie stars of all time. It’s a slick và inviting celebration of the human spirit through the lens of a wide-eyed innocent, and utilizes công nghệ to brilliant ends. However, “Forrest Gump” deserves scrutiny, not because its cheesy protagonist has become a pop culture punchline — after all, Forrest’s box-of-chocolates metaphor works just fine — but viewed 25 years after its release lead to lớn box office success and six Oscars, it remains a bad movie that gets worse with age, & much scarier than its cozy reputation suggests.

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There’s a reason the movie became a beacon khổng lồ an antiquated Republican các buổi party when it came out in the run-up to the 1994 midterm elections: “Forrest Gump” preaches conservatism in its bones, whether its creators intended it that way or not. Through the lens of Tom Hanks’ lovable naif, who somehow stumbles through every monumental moment in American history and emerges unscathed, “Forrest Gump” reads as a repudiation lớn any nuanced assessment of the country. It celebrates family values và obedience khổng lồ the system over anyone who clashes with it. Every whiff of rebellion is suspect.


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This no-nothing white man becomes a war hero and a wealthy man simply by chugging along, participating in a country that dictates his every move. He never comprehends racism or the complexities of Vietnam; the movie portrays political activism and hippy culture as a giant cartoon beyond Forrest’s understanding, while presenting his apolitical stance as the height of all virtue.

Viewed in retrospect, “Forrest Gump” whitewashes & dumbs down American history at every turn. But that’s an old critique that shouldn’t stop the presses.

These days, it’s clearer than ever that “Forrest Gump” operates within the constraints of a dangerous fantasy in which these hard questions don’t matter. It’s kém chất lượng news on an epic scale. Here’s a character born in the Deep South, the grandson of a Ku Klux Klansman, raised surrounded by segregation & bigotry. Though Forrest’s disinterest in these crude values suggests an innate colorblindness, he’s less conscious progressive than disinterested everyman. “Forrest Gump” idolizes that mindset, and what’s worse, director Robert Zemeckis exploits these major aspects of American history as empty signifiers for an exuberant technological experiment.

The special effects haven’t aged all that well, but they were pretty hokey in the first place. The CGI exists to lớn gives this decade-spanning story its true raison d’etre: We get khổng lồ see young Forrest teach Elvis lớn dance, shake hands with JFK & Nixon, address an anti-Vietnam protest (alongside Abbie Hoffman), and work the late-night circuit alongside John Lennon. In theory, Forrest’s ability lớn wander through the “real” world as a fictional character turns him into an avatar for America’s bumpy ride through the second half of the 20th century.

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But consider what that means: Though Forrest makes serious strides by asking no hard questions or pushing back on whatever opportunities come his way, childhood sweetheart Jenny (Robin Wright) suffers for her sins. These seem to lớn be comprised of childhood abuse, sexual promiscuity, a bad taste in boyfriends, & hippy protests. Forrest doesn’t get it; by virtue of empathizing with his worldview, the movie doesn’t, either.

When these allegations first came up around the time of the release, the “Forrest Gump” team punched back with a mixture of defiance & confusion. Zemeckis argued that he was playing to both sides of the aisle. “My film is a buổi tiệc nhỏ to which everyone can bring a bottle,” he said. Và when producer Steve Tish accepted his Oscar for Best Picture, he took it khổng lồ the masses: “‘Forrest Gump’ isn’t about politics or conservative values. It’s about humanity.” Hanks echoed that sentiment. “The film is nonpolitical,” he said, “and thus nonjudgemental.” Two years later, Fox News coined the term “fair & balanced” khổng lồ describe its partisan analysis of the new cycle with the same degree of credibility.

Movies provide windows into the world và the way it fits together; by that very definition, they take on political ramifications, especially when they utilize images loaded with preexisting definitions. As “Forrest Gump” careens through Americana, it can’t help but cast its gaze at the country’s fiery counterculture and roll its eyes. That strikes a notable contrast lớn the radical energy of several movies released the same year, including Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn” & “Natural Born Killers,” which provide much savvier explorations of American society & its various fragmented pieces through their sharp narrative frameworks.

Yet we remember “Forrest Gump” because it goes down easy, & pretends that the world just works that way.


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“Forrest Gump”


Paramount/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Like the character himself, the positioning of “Forrest Gump” as lacking any political worldview stems from more innocent times when that argument held some water. Before the country’s charged post-9/11 climate, before the fractured discourse of social media, before Sean Hannity và deep-fakes & catfishing và whatever else has made this world so freakish & unreliable, “Forrest Gump” coasted along without any serious challenge to lớn its logic. (While the similar embracing of “Green Book” might suggest that nothing has changed, the backlash already seems khổng lồ have put that misconceived movie in its place.)

Viewed today, “Forrest Gump” has the eerie aura of a science fiction movie, with its wandering central figure coming across like an alien who perceives every meaningful aspect of the world around him as so foreign he can only gaze back at it and speak his mind. However, the movie was prescient in one significant fashion. It presents a grinning idiot savant as epitomizing everything about America, suggesting that he could catapult to lớn fame và fortune he doesn’t really earn, while people enduring genuine struggles to lớn make a difference in the world struggle all the way to lớn the grave. To lớn that end, for better or worse, “Forrest Gump” was ahead of its time.


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