Forrest Gump still matters, even 20 years later

“Forrest Gump” remains an important part of pop culture.

Tyler Davis, Writer


Forrest Gump, both the character and the film itself, have woven themselves deeply into the fabric of pop culture. The story of the slow-witted running enthusiast, football star, ping pong master, millionaire Apple investor and Vietnam hero has become one of America’s most beloved films. This success is due in part to Tom Hanks providing arguably one of the finest acting performances that has ever hit the big screen. The short run the film just finished in IMAX theaters has brought the classic film back to the forefront of moviegoer’s minds.

Some of the most beautiful and resonant moments of “Forrest Gump” are also the most subtle. The film deals with difficult subjects without pretension or condescension, without being preachy or cliché. These subjects are faced with simple truths spoken like hymns. The film touches on domestic and sexual abuse, such as when Jenny begins to hurl rocks at her childhood home and Forrest simply says the line, “Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.” It explores the horrors of the Vietnam War through Forrest’s love for his comrades in the face of his own death. It deals with racism in his compassion for African-Americans in the midst of vitriolic, pro-segregation protestors.

The character of Forrest Gump is deeply human. He is childlike in the best ways possible. His ceaselessly positive outlook on life, his love — even for people who mistreat him — and his simple honesty make him one of the most loved characters in recent memory. Despite his shortcomings, he managed to leave a permanent impression on everyone he came in contact with.

After the credits roll, we cannot help but desire to emulate him. These virtues are not easily found in the face of all of the darkness in the world today. But maybe, they could provide glimmers of hope amidst the hopelessness.  

Perhaps the world would be a better place if we could all be more like Forrest Gump.


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