I had been putting off watching this movie for a long time. No particular reason. Then one lazy Sunday afternoon I found myself browsing through a list of movies to watch. My first pick was Good Will Hunting (another classic that I haven’t watched yet…yes you read that right). But it just refused to load. So then I happened to pick Forrest Gump. I figured why not.
The movie was everything that I expected it to be and everything that I had heard about. That includes, “amazing watch”, “TOM HANKS”, “emotional ending”, “touching”, “life’s struggle”, and obviously “love.” But no one told me it was going to be fun and full of fantasy (and a little predictable). Obviously I cried in the end like I always do for the slightest of emotional endings. I am a hopeless romantic, so yeah, that happens.
What I get from this movie are two things: an amazing movie experience and equally amazing life lessons.
Let’s talk about the good and bad of the movie.
- American History: They did an amazing job of setting the timeline so perfectly alongside all the turning points of American history (late 1950s through early 1980s). They not only followed some of the greatest events in American history but interweaved his life story with it and linked him to them. Ok, there were times when it was a bit much. But, fun nonetheless.
- Western cultural change and perspectives of the society: With each event in Forrest’s life they were able to show how the Western culture (which influenced global culture) evolved. The music, the fashion, the youth culture, and perspectives towards the African Americans and the wars.
- The storytelling and narration: Though the actual events pertaining to Forrest’s personal life were full of fantasy and unreal, the narration is enjoyable. It keeps a positive perspective through all the negativity thrown at you throughout the movie. It is also because the narration is through Forrest’s perspective, most of the time he is oblivious to the negative side of the events and he just goes with the flow.
Life lessons from Forrest Gump:
- We are all different in our own ways but comparing our differences based on our weakness is wrong. As Forrest’s mumma says to him, “You are no different than anyone else.” We should not use our weaknesses and shortcomings to compare ourselves with others who are better off. This is because most of the time we also use this comparison as an excuse to put ourselves out of the race. Or let others use these shortcomings of ours to put us down. This reminds me of two quotes from the Game of Thrones.
“Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”
“Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”
- We all have a destiny to live out however we still do have a free will to make our choices. These are both interlinked to make our lives the way it turns out to be. It’s like this, we all have a destination to reach. But the choices we make pave the way toward it. It determines our journey.
- We all have this illusion that we know exactly what are destiny is. Yes it is an illusion. Just like Lt. Dan. You may have figured out a part of it from your experiences and learnings (that’s not a word, right? But I like the way it sounds.) But, the bigger picture, the very purpose of your whole existence, and where you fit in this whole universe is still up for us to figure out. Most of us go about our whole lives and might not know it. There are many others who have claimed to have figured it out.
- Trust your instincts and go through with the life choices you make. Be ready to face the consequences. Many a times we tend to pick the easy way out. And we are so convinced that it is the way to go. Most of all it is because of the reasons we are give ourselves to believe so. I don’t know about you. But I do this a lot. In simple words we chicken out and then prove to ourselves and others that this was the only choice. Yes choice…meaning we choose it.
- In case you figure out that your instincts are leading you into more toward trouble than the road to redemption. Then stop. Stop and figure out the pattern. We are all smart enough to see it. Jenny saw it too. She always knew what was going on. But she thought that that was the way for her till it was too late. She almost killed herself. So that means she felt that there was nothing left. But then she didn’t go through with it. Again a choice. It’s upon us. It’s upon the choices we make. It is never too late to fix things. No matter how little time she had left. She came back. Not always do we get a second chance, they say. But I say, it is always up for grabs. We have to take it when we need it.
- We all have our own understanding of what love is and we all make stupid decisions when it comes to the matters of the heart (recently one of my friends happened to point this out the same to me). The movie shows us two different perspectives and ideas of love. Forrest’s love was innocent, patient, and hopeful. For him love was Jenny. Jenny had her own perspective of love. Yes she loved him too even though throughout the movie we see her running away from Forest. This is because of the experiences she had with her father and other men. She might have felt that Forrest’s feeling were too innocent to be playing with. Remember the scene in the dorm room. The reaction she gets from Forrest might have made her realize that it was going too far for him. She knew that being with Forrest is what makes her happy. They were always very comfortable with each other. But the experiences she has when she was away from him kept getting the better of her. The way her life was going had left her emotionally disturbed to let Forrest in. All through the movie I felt that each time Jenny left Forrest, it was to protect him from her. You would say that Jenny was taking advantage of him and that’s exactly why she kept running away from him. She felt like she was using him and she did not want that. Knowing the kind of person Forrest was she realized that he deserved better. She lived her whole life fighting these demons she created only to figure out that she could love Forrest the same way he loved her no matter how different their idea about it was.
- We all need time to ourselves. Yes running around the country for three years sounds like taking it a bit too far. But, if you can do it, why not? But we owe “me-time” to ourselves. To heal or to contemplate or to just figure out what the hell is going on. We need to take a break from where we are and what we are doing at intervals. Take it like a breather or a time to review the point where you are at. Not to dwell on the past but to learn from it and move ahead. Remember, “you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.”
You might think that I am talking too philosophically here. So just for you here are some practical points too:
- Talking to strangers on the bus stop especially locals will help you get to your destination faster. Most times they know a faster route.
- “The best thing about visiting the President is the food!” The best thing about a lot of things is food. Food is the center of everything. Get that straight!
- Don’t be mean and eat alone in a public place. Offer a bite to those around you.
- Cooking with shrimp is such a pleasure. The possibilities are endless.
- “Just if you’re ever in trouble, don’t be brave. You just run, OK? Just run away.” Well not always but sometimes you need to follow that and not be “stupid is as stupid does.”
So these are a few or many things Mr. Forrest…Forrest Gump got me thinking about. Hopefully they will help us as we go about our lives. Remember what Foresrt’s mumma said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”