Forrest Gump (1994)

Viewed April 3rd

 

The learning-disabled but good-hearted Forrest Gump accidentally ends up present at nearly every landmark of post-World War II American history.

A baby boomer lullaby and, in a sense, the culmination of New Hollywood filmmaking. Through all the tumultuous times, the consistent message is this: love is what matters. And, thankfully, the filmmakers have created a really wonderful love story between Jenny and Forrest. When Forrest sees the son he produced with Jenny and struggles to ask whether the kid's also disabled, it really jerks the tears. And later, when Forrest is crying over Jenny's grave, it all comes out again. Tom Hanks and Robin Wright are pitch perfect. 

Beyond love is what matters, though, director Robert Zemeckis and his collaborators also end up creating an unintentional nostalgia for nothing less than the simpler world of clearcut white supremacy. Alongside every progressive advance, the film, told from Forrest's point of view, balances its politics with a running sense of befuddlement at change and yearning for simpler times. In his red hat, Forrest Gump somehow anticipates "Make America Great Again".