Yesterday, Academy Award-winning actor and general gem of a human being, Tom Hanks, was honored during the New York Museum of Modern Art's ninth annual film benefit. At the ceremony, Hanks delivered a speech that was released in full today.
And it is exactly the kind of unifying talk we need to hear during these divisive days.
By comparing the enjoyment and art of film-making with the human condition, Hanks shed some light on our current state of the union, and reminded us why our country will persevere.
Check out a few of the most heartfelt and inspiring excerpts from Hanks's speech below:
1. On The Importance Of Filmmaking
"I can’t wax philosophically enough about what film means to myself and to any person who ponders the human condition. We are one week into a different era for the world and for our nation. We can always turn to films, from no matter what era they were made in, to reflect who we are and what we believe and the things we hold dear and important to us."
2. On Parallels Between Art And Real Life
"Movies capture everything about us, in one way or another ... We can turn on our televisions right now and see extraordinary films that somehow, whether or not they were made in the last year or in the 1930s, reflect accurately who we are. We see ourselves up on the screen."
3. On Identifying With Characters At Every Age
"As a little kid in the movie theater and as a 60-year-old man now, when I sit down in front of the screen and see it happening before me, I always ponder that question: 'What would I do if I was in the circumstances of that man, that woman, that child, that android?'"
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4. On Overcoming Doubt
"We are going to be all right. America has been in worse places than we are at right now. In my own lifetime, our streets were in chaos, our generations were fighting each other tooth and nail. Every dinner table ended up being as close to a fistfight as human families are allow. We have been in a place where we have looked at our leaders and wondered, 'What the hell are they are thinking of?' We’ve had moments with the administrations and politicians and senators and governors in which we have asked ourselves, 'Are they lying to us or do they really believe in this?'"
5. On Moving Forward As Americans
"We are going to be all right because we constantly get to tell the world who we. We constantly get to define ourselves as Americans. We do have the greatest country in the world. We move at a slow pace. We have the greatest country in the world because we are always moving towards a more perfect union. That journey never ceases, it never stops."
6. On The Eternal Wisdom Of Bruce Springsteen
"Sometimes, to quote a Bruce Springsteen song, it’s “one step forward, two steps back,” but we still aggregately move forward. We, who are a week into wondering what the hell just happened, will continue to move forward. We have to choose to do so, but we will move forward because if we do not move forward, what is to be said of us?"
7. On Looking To The Future
"We will take everything that has been handed to us as Americans. And we will turn our nation and we will turn the future and we will turn all the work that we have before us into some brand of a thing of beauty."
Throughout his vast career Tom Hanks has taught us a lot about life though the multitude of characters he's played. From the humble Forrest Gump to Woody from Toy Story, it's safe to say that these words of advice come from a place of deep empathy and a hefty amount of life experience.
With that in mind, I say we take his guidance and move forward with an eye toward making tomorrow even better than today.
To read the rest of the speech — which I highly recommend — be sure to visit EW.
Tom Hanks's latest movie, Inferno, is currently playing in theaters nationwide.
What's your all-time favorite Tom Hanks movie? Let us know in the comments section!