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#71 - Forrest Gump

Another movie that needs no introduction, but I'll do it anyway -- Robert Zemeckis directs this 1994 film about a simple man (Tom Hanks) living in complex times, from his youth in the '50s south through the latter part of the century. Robin Wright Penn and Gary Sinise co-star.

You have probably seen this movie. If you haven't, you should. If you have, you will probably agree with me on a number of things (that are good reasons why this one's on the list) -- that Tom Hanks is brilliant, the special effects were groundbreaking for the times, and the film is basically a love letter to an entire generation of Americans.

Fine. But this movie was a little different to me than most of these films have been so far. I must admit that I wasn't really looking forward to watching it. I don't specifically recall the first time I saw it, but I suspect it wasn't long after it came out, probably when I was 15 or 16. I don't remember being terribly impressed. Anyway, I feel kind of sheepish now, because I really enjoyed watching it this time around. And I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to break this down.

I consider myself a pretty balanced person. I can be rather cynical, but I can also be pretty idealistic. I don't think I was much different the first time I watched the movie. But something did change between then and now. This time, having ten more years of knowledge about and travel around my country and ten more years of experience in life and love changed my perception of the film. Today, I am hard pressed to think of a movie that embodies America more than this film -- both America's greatness and its flaws -- and that affected me emotionally somehow. Also, the themes played out by Jenny's story, themes of family tragedy, imperfection, redemption and enduring love, spoke infinitely more powerfully to me.

Now, I don't consider myself a patriotic person, and I am perhaps more aware now of why the US sucks than I was ten years ago. Also, I have shed a bit of the wild romanticism of being young that would naturally resonate well with the story of Forrest and Jenny's relationship. So it's confusing to me why I should be so much more affected by these themes today than I was when I first saw the movie. I see the film more for what it is -- tugging at our heartstrings in a bit of a manipulative fashion. But I'm more happy to let my heartstrings be tugged. Strange.

Anyway. I enjoyed the movie and it made me think. I guess that's what I should hope for from movies on the list.

(See this post if you're confused why I'm reviewing movies.)


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 15, 2008 2:28 PM.

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