I knew I would get around to watching Forrest Gump eventually, but didn’t expect it to be this past Sunday. It just so happened to be on TV when I was looking for something to watch, so I watched it.
This is how my viewing experience went.
Going into it, of course I knew about the, “Run, Forrest, Run!” and “Life is like a box of chocolate” lines. I’ll get into each those a bit later on. Other than that, I was going in blind. I had no clue what to expect.
And…I loved it. I loved this movie.
I knew Tom Hanks was in it, playing the role of Forrest Gump, but I didn’t know Sally Field would be his mom. That was neat. I wasn’t sold on their Southern accents early on in the movie, but they seemed to grow into them.
Synopsis…in my own words
This movie is about a man named, Forrest Gump, who is sitting on a bench at a bus stop, telling his life story to anyone who sits next to him. He has an IQ of 75 and lived through many historical moments – the Vietnam war, JFK’s assassination, Watergate, and more.
He meets the President on more than one occasion, gets really good at ping pong while in the Army, and runs across the country three times.
As a child, Forrest wore leg braces, and when he got on the school bus for his first day of school, no one wanted anything to do with him. Kids can be mean, especially the ones who put their backpack on the seat next to them.
But there was one girl who offered Forrest a seat. Her name was Jenny and they quickly became best friends. She didn’t care that he was different. She made him feel comfortable.
I guess you could say she was in a league of her own.
When bullies came around to pick on young Forrest, Jenny shouted the now famous line, “Run, Forrest, run!”
So, he ran. In doing so, his leg braces broke off and Forrest discovered he was really fast, which landed him a football scholarship at the University of Alabama, where he returned kickoffs.
After graduating, Forrest enlists in the Army and meets his new best friend, Bubba, who won’t stop talking about going into the shrimping business. It was making me hungry, honestly.
I wanted a seafood anything at that point in the movie.
Forrest also meets Lieutenant Dan, who has a destiny to die in the war because he comes from a lineage of men who did just that. And when he was wounded in an attack, his destiny was so close to being fulfilled.
But no, Forrest would not let him die. He picked him and ran him to safety. Lieutenant Dan hated Forrest for this; he no longer had legs. Eventually, Lieutenant Dan came around and they became friends.
For saving multiple lives in Vietnam, Forrest was given the Medal of Honor, once back home.
He then stumbles into an anti-war rally at the Lincoln Memorial and is brought up on stage to give a speech. There was a very big crowd. Naturally, his microphone cuts out, but he’s able to say his name.
Unbeknownst to him, Jenny is in the audience. She runs out into the pool and Forrest runs down to hug her. Everyone cheers. It was very “hometown date on The Bachelor” of them.
While Forrest was off in Vietnam, Jenny took on the hippie lifestyle and was hopping around, place to place, with a questionable group of people. There was no stability in her life.
Whenever Forrest came back to help her out of situations, she didn’t really want him to get involved. She didn’t want to drag him into her messes.
Forrest and Lieutenant Dan start a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and become millionaires. Forrest shares half his earnings with Bubba’s family.
While out on his boat, Forrest gets a call that his mom is sick. Sadly, she dies of cancer.
Jenny is trying to get her life together – getting away from drugs and abuse – and stays with Forrest. They have a romantic relationship for just one night. He asks her to marry him, but she runs off the next morning.
This is when Forrest decides to run across the country for three years.
Two years after returning home from his cross-country marathon, he receives a letter from Jenny, saying she wants to meet up with him.
And this is why Forrest is at the bus stop. He’s going to see Jenny.
Ah, there’s just something sweet about those two and a bus, isn’t there?
Once he sees her, he finds out that she has a child named, Forrest. It’s his child! Jenny says she is sick, implying that her time is running out.
They finally get married and Jenny dies a year later.
The movie ends with Forrest sending Forrest Jr. off to school, just like it began when Forrest boarded the bus for the first time.
Life is like a box of chocolates…
Is it, though?
Forrest said his mom always used to say that life is like a box of chocolate – you never know what you’re going to get.
I’m no connoisseur, but don’t boxes of chocolate have labels on the outside, naming all of the chocolates inside the box? Don’t they have to have that? So people with allergies know what they’re getting into?
Sally Field is right about most things, but I don’t know about this one.
Run, Forrest, Run!
I never knew the context of this line, so it was a bit disheartening to find out that it was uttered because bullies were chasing after Forrest on their bikes, while his legs were in braces. That’s just mean.
And then they did it again when he was an adult, only they were chasing him with a vehicle. How embarrassing that they couldn’t catch him either time.
What’s with victims of bullying being told to run, though? The same thing happened to Rudolph (the red-nosed reindeer). First they tell him he can’t play Monopoly, and then it’s all – RUN, RUN, RUDOLPH!
The whole movie, I felt bad that Tom Hanks had to run so much. I’m sure there were multiple takes each time, forcing him to run even more.
Were there running doubles in the movie, when the camera was far away and we couldn’t tell it wasn’t Tom? I sure hope so!
Okay, I looked it up. His brother, Jim Hanks, did a lot of the running scenes. I can sleep easy tonight.
Forrest and Jenny
CONFESSION: Until Forrest got a boat and painted “Jenny” on the side of it, I thought her name was Jinny. I was so surprised. Even then, I was holding out hope that he had just misspelled her name. Tom’s accent really threw me for a loop.
I had no idea there was going to be a lifelong friendship/romantic storyline in this movie. It caught me off-guard.
Forrest and Jenny’s “love story” was better than the one portrayed in The Notebook. It was also better than the one portrayed in Titanic. Do not try and convince me otherwise. I’ll fight you.
I think I’m comfortable making that declaration just because of the longevity of their relationship. Their origin story was so wholesome and pure.
The relationship in The Notebook started when a Noah threatened to kill himself if a Allie didn’t go out with him. And then in Titanic, Leo and Rose met because Rose was about to kill themselves.
Then again, Forrest and Jenny only got married after Jenny found out she was sick, so I guess that fits the, “we better do this now before I die” theme.
At first glance, you may think that Forrest needed Jenny more than she needed him, when they were kids. But Jenny was also going through problems at home, with an abusive father. So, they definitely needed each other.
As they got older, we saw Forrest going out of his way to constantly protect Jenny, even if she didn’t want to be protected.
I just found it cool how they kept finding their way back to each other, without social media to point them in the right direction.
Even when every letter Forrest sent to Jenny was returned to him, he didn’t give up on her, or their friendship. What a good friend.
What is it about letters never finding their intended recipient in these romance movies? Were there no other ideas?
I feel like I’m ready for a high school English exam, where I have to compare and contrast the movies/books I consumed during the semester. Give me that foolscap paper, I’m ready.
Forrest at the White House
In the scene where Forrest is at the White House, during JFK’s presidency, he points out that there is unlimited free food and drink. As a result, Forrest drinks fifteen Dr. Peppers and tells JFK he has to go pee.
After seeing that, I felt like there was a VERY GOOD chance that the 45th President got his idea for a room full of McDonald’s and takeout food from this movie. It just makes too much sense to me.
As I said at the beginning, I loved this movie. It didn’t even feel like I was watching a movie, that’s how invested I was in it.
The story was strong. I didn’t necessarily care for Forrest always popping up in the middle of historical events, but it added some comedy. It felt like something Mr. Bean would do.
I never knew what this movie was about, outside of a couple of catchphrases, and was blown away.
I looked into why there was never a sequel and it’s because they handed in the script on September 10, 2001, and then the next day came to the realization that the movie felt meaningless. For obvious reasons.
If you’ve never seen Forrest Gump, I highly recommend it.
Thanks for reading!
Have you seen Forrest Gump? What are your thoughts on it?