Forrest Gump is a quintessential Hollywood movie. The 1994 classic provides a heartwarming insight into the mind of a painfully unique and instantly unforgettable protagonist, a man who, despite his apparent limitations due to an average IQ of 75, has an integral role of the shaping of history across a number of decades.
From "Run Forrest! Run!" to all the kinds of shrimp you could wish for, Robert Zemeckis's Oscar-winning pop-culture sensation has been fondly remembered in the years since its release. For many, #ForrestGump is an all-time favorite, a film that only feels more nostalgic with multiple viewings.
Part of the allure of the story of Forrest's (#TomHanks) extraordinary life is the way it's told through his own unique perspective, with Forrest unwittingly finding himself in high-profile situations, from influencing Elvis to exposing the Watergate scandal, but viewing such events with an air of indifference.
However, there is one facet of the way Forrest Gump tells his tale — while sat patiently with a box of chocolates on a bench in Savannah, Georgia — that is easily overlooked, but could influence the way in which the film is interpreted in future viewings. Reddit user HeroOfOA makes an impressive observation, noticing that Forrest tailors his story, depending on who is listening.
The Civil Rights Movement And Nice Shoes
When Forrest first begins narrating his journey, he is talking to a young black woman. As well as parting with one of the most quotable yet misquoted pieces of wisdom in modern cinema, "life was like a box of chocolates," Forrest uses the hook of the woman's shoes to start of his monologue.
That link is obvious enough, with Forrest attempting to remember his first pair of shoes, stretching his memory back to his childhood. Themes of this segment include his fictional involvement in the symbolic real-life event during the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Alabama in 1963, where Governor George Wallace attempted to block access to two black students, protesting integration.
Forrest also reveals during this time that he was was named after Nathan Bedford Forrest — the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan — as a reminder that sometimes people do things that "just don't make no sense."
A Childhood Love Story
The next woman who appears after the first leaves is slightly older, and is with her son. Forrest then focuses on his relationship with Jenny, talking about his visit to her dorm room and his attempt to "save" her from the strip club she works at, gaining the woman's attention by emphasising the love story with his childhood sweetheart.
Combat In Vietnam
During those events, Forrest does mention the beginning of his time enlisted in the army. He then enters graphic detail of combat during the Vietnam War, discussing the attempted rescue of Bubba and Lieutenant Dans after an ambush leaves his team badly wounded.
By this point, Forrest is talking to a man who, due to his age, could feasibly be a Vietnam veteran, able to relate to his story. It is to this man Forrest also reveals he leaked the Watergate scandal.
His Dying Mother And Reflection On Life
Lastly, he talks to an old woman who is around the same age as his mom; here, he starts the story explaining how his mom was sick, and how he raced back to be with her. This causes the woman to tear up, and she becomes engrossed in the story.
Forrest, now with her full attention, is able to continue the story and contemplate on his life events, before events reach the present, and the woman tells him that Jenny lives five blocks away.
Throughout the story, we're led to believe that Forrest is oblivious to the significance of the events he is caught up in. However, this fresh perspective on how he relates the story to each person he talks to suggests that he was aware of what was going on, enough to relate to the people he was talking to at least.
Whether this is intentional or not, just like chocolate, sometimes the sweetest part is located below the surface.
Do you think that Forrest Gump deliberately told his story in a way to relate to those listening?