Making the Grades
Forrest Gump is a critic's dream. Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Gary Sinise, and all the rest of the cast hand in superlative performances. The special effects are almost invisible, as they place Gump into the past so he can meet many historical figures. Yet every time I watch this movie, I am left with a hard question to answer: What is the film really trying to say?
Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) is a simple man, a popular theme in movies as the public yearns for a way to strip complications from life. Yet Forrest encounters complications -- he just doesn't see them. Like a dog headed for dinner, his sights are set on his goal and nothing stops him from getting there. He has complete trust in everyone he meets, and accepts everyone into his life, no matter how they might treat him. He believes in God, prays regularly, and tries to do good wherever he goes. In this regard, Forrest Gump is a movie that promotes strong positive ideals, and helps you appreciate that the best people in this world are often overlooked.
However, Forrest often utters the now famous phrase, "Life is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get." Are we to believe that there really is nothing to be learned from life's experiences? Should we make choices based only on a good feeling in our tummy? I have eaten enough chocolates to know that square ones are usually hard and round ones with high tops may have a cherry inside. We can learn from the chocolates we have found in the past.
Forrest Gump offers many artistic and technical achievements. However parents are well advised to heed the PG-13 warning. Gump has a good deal of foul language, sex, and violence, relative to what's appropriate for family viewing. As parents, if your children want to see this movie, please watch it before, or at least with them.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Forrest Gump.
What do you think Forrest Gump is trying to say? Because the main character doesn’t understand the complexities of the situations he, the viewer of the film is expected to interpret. Despite this freedom, how does the script manipulate the audience?