Length: 142 minutes / 2.36 hours
For the longest time, I had only seen pieces of Forrest Gump (1994). After watching it in fits and starts, I finally sat down and watched the whole thing in one go probably ten years ago. Upon re-watching this Best Picture-winner, I realized how it has maintained its cultural appeal for so long. After all, it’s not necessarily a story about a slow southern boy; it’s the story of history and the story of America. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its faults, but they’re relatively minor compared to the impact of the rest of the film.
What’s perhaps the most impressive part of Forrest Gump is the visual effects. From digitally inserting the titular character into archival footage to removing a Vietnam War soldier’s legs, even knowing these computer-aided elements are there doesn’t hinder how real they look. Although, being able to match the visual tone and style of several decades was equally as impressive. It’s almost laughable how one character could be a coincidental part of so many iconic events of the late 1900’s, but I suppose that’s a lot of the charm of this film.
My one qualm with this movie also aligns with the spot in the plot where I generally used to stop watching. When the main character starts running across the country with no apparent supplies (water, food, etc.), my suspension of disbelief was broken. If anything, it was only meant as a chance to show off American geography (and move the timeline forward a few years), whereas the previous two hours was primarily American history. Some might also fault Jenny’s (Robin Wright) poor life decisions as well, but I think it’s merely indicative of what can happen to people who are sexually abused as children.
A charming romp through modern American history, I give Forrest Gump 4.5 stars out of 5.