Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Forrest Gump, a review

This is one of the most inspirational movies I have ever seen in my life.

Reader might get surprised by the above statement, as view of the world on this movie is

"The film tells the story of a man and his epic journey through life meeting historical figures, influencing popular culture and experiencing first-hand historic events of the 20th century while being largely unaware of their significance, due to his low intelligence" (source: Wikipedia)

For me this movie is about "Story of a man and his journey of life, being an example of the way to LIVE LIFE. The movie depicts the hypocrisy of the world contrasting it with the life of a so called stupid individual".

Though the character of Forrest is fictional, I believe, the character is realistic. In other words, there is a huge possibility that character like Forrest living with us in flesh and blood. Objective of this review is to explain how inspirational character of Forrest is.

The movie starts with depicting the life of Forrest, who is "Stupid" (so called), below IQ individual. Movie depicts half of Forrest's life and his amazing achievements in life, some achievements are, being part of All-American Football team, excelling in military training, getting a medal for military service, becoming a ping-pong champion, becoming a shrimp business tycoon, etc. etc.

Most of the movie reviews attribute these achievements as "Accidental". This definition doesn't make sense, as any achievement needs a lot of work put in by an individual and doesn't happen by luck. It is loser's definition to term achievement as an accident or luck. It is failure of the reviewer to understand what made the individual achieve those feats. Forrest had some amazing characteristics which made him achieve what he did. To name a few they are Focus, Love towards everything, Art of Living.


Through out his life, Forrest comes across as a very focused individual. Depiction of his focus starts with the running episode, when he is bullied by his friends. His focus on running allows him to give out his best efforts. This results in Forrest being the best runner around. When he is included in the football team, his focus remains on running rather than other skills of football. Because of his focus on running, his team derives value and he gets into the All-American team.

Another example of focus, comes when he is in the military training. His expression and the body language while he is assembling a Gun show this focus and conviction on the work. The result, speaks for itself as he becomes the best in assembling the rifle.

Focus on the job is best displayed, when Forrest carries the wounded soldiers to safety without even caring for his life. The best example of focus is when he forcefully carries his captain to safety in-spite of protests from him. This is what is called as commitment to work. Through out his life, focus of Forrest is displayed in each and every activity, be it playing Ping-Pong, be it catching shrimp, be it running, be it telling a story, for that matter, anything in the movie he does is focused with heart, mind and soul.

Is there anything impossible for man of such focus?
How many people have you seen who can show this focus and determination in their job?
Is Forrest stupid?

The movie contrasts the focus of Forrest with the Hypocrisy of the general world. The world tries to solve problems by killing presidents and people, waging war, worrying about how war is bad, people taking into drugs, captain worrying about the lost glory by not dying in war. But Forrest is focused on Living his life by doing work, without worrying about things out of his control.

Are these people intelligent?
Are these people of high IQ?
Have these people achieved anything?


There is not a single moment in the movie when, Forrest shows hate against anything or anybody. He doesn't show hate against his bullying mates, school mates who doesn't want to be seen with him, his girl friend who rejects him, his captain who hates him. There is no trace of hate in Forrest through out his life.

In fact, he loves them all.

He shows the pure love for everything life has to offer. He loves Bubba, Jenny and Lt. Dan for what they are. He respects everybody for what they are. Forrest was an individual who lived life according to the teachings of great philosophers and beings like Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi etc. Love it all. Love them all.

In the incident when there is a commotion near the college of allowing African-American people into the college, Forrest displays his natural love by picking up the book dropped by an African-American female and giving it back to her. The act comes very natural to Forrest because of his love for everybody. The incident depicts the qualities of natural respect and love for all from Forrest. Whereas, the world has to force itself to accept an African-American entering college with whites. And the world believes, it is a great incident and celebrates with pomp and show.

The most defining moment of the movie is when 2 individuals whom Forrest loves transform themselves to Live Life, instead of Dying their Life.

Lt. Dan, transforms out of his sorrows and teaches himself to Live life. He gets himself an artificial leg and pulls himself out of his distress and sorrow of his life.
Jenny, quits all the bad habits, and starts living life as a waitress. When Forrest meets Jenny at the end of the movie, glow in the face and positive body language of Jenny depicts the happy state of mind.

In any other times of world, this achievements would have been called as miracles. These are the miracles which Jesus and Buddha performed. Forrest's love for them and love for the world, is what made Jenny and Lt. Dan see the light of the matter and learn to live life.

Can a stupid person achieve such miracles?
Is Jenny, Lt. Dan so called intelligent people really intelligent?

Art of Living:

Forrest is one of those few guys under sun who knew the Art of Living.

There are number of spiritual courses, workshops, etc. which teach people to keep a positive mindset. People flock to these courses to get a peace of mind. They just have to see Forrest Gump live his life, to learn the art of living.

In-spite of various deficiencies, Forrest never shows any sort of negative emotions through out his life. Through out his life, Forrest is a picture of peace. No other emotion came to my mind, other than peace, while seeing Forrest Gump living his life. A small tinge of negative emotion is displayed, when his mother dies, when Forrest feels he is alone. But the negative emotion is very momentary, he goes on Living his life to the fullest enjoying whatever he is doing.

Forrest, never cribs, worries about anything external life/world has offered him. This is in-spite of the fact that, external world doesn't offer him anything good. He goes on living his life, be it running, football, army, vietnam, ping-pong, shrimp business, mowing lawn. Anything and everything he does, is with conviction and commitment and hence the he becomes the picture of peace.

Contrasting this to the world, all the happenings around the world was filled with negativity and hate. Most of incidents, be it killing of president and important people, or be it anti-war processions, had a huge amount of negative emotions associated with them. Forrest was the only example of complete positive mindset and the knower of Living Life.

Do you think Forrest was unaware of the significance of Life?
Did 20th century world understand the significance?

If the world learns even 10% of the characteristics of Forrest, it would be a better place to Live.

Finally, My heart full thanks and salute to each and every one involved in creation of such a character and a story. I am blessed to watch Forrest Gump.

-- Madhukar Hebbar


VidyaShankar Harapanahalli said...

Excellent Review. Although I have watched this movie, now I would like to watch it again. Such is the impact of your review.

Great going Hebbar.

Atmaram said...

I have liked forrest gump for ages now.
I think your art of living comment is most appropriate for the movie

Madhukar Hebbar said...

Thanks guys.

VSS special thanks for a strong comment mate :-)

Mavis Zhang said...

A nice review! You show the essence of Forrest Gump. I feel pleasantly surprised that after so many years people still talk about this film.