Forrest Gump: Who’s Stupid?

Forrest Gump is not a novelty anymore, as it had been during its time. The 1990s were pretty much new to advanced film editing techniques and hence a film like Forrest Gump could win over the audience. Such a movie is likely to go unnoticed today. It faced its share of criticisms during its time, so I think I’ll loosen up a bit on that front.

The movie is not compelling enough to persuade me into watching it for a second time, but it is, despite all its fallacies, a touching one.

Can’t really comprehend what Zemeckis wanted to convey with a three decade long historical backdrop in the film, but to me, he certainly succeeded in questioning the very foundations of ‘heroism’ (albeit conjectural deficiencies)  and also in putting forth the then prevalent state of affairs in the United States of America. Lieutenant Dan’s wheelchair with its label says it all: ‘America- Our Kind of Place’. An excellent shot I would say. The frame of the shot is directed in a manner that the intention of the director comes clear to the audience. USA- a cripples’ refuge (with all the hopelessness we feel in the Vietnam War, Hippie Culture, and prevalence of AIDs) and yet, it’s also a place where cripples learn to get recognition. They fit in, in some or the other way. There are ample of toys, to play with, while they wait for death to arrive.

The only thing in the movie that made a difference for me; that affected me overwhelmingly is the stupidity of Forrest Gump. Tom Hank’s definitely deserves the credit that he has been given for his acting in this film. Yes, he appeared stupid to me too. I wouldn’t run away from battle grounds. I have some principles. I have some ambitions. He was stupid because all he learnt was to listen to his heart; all he learnt was to love. His heart chose Jenny. Hence, she said ‘run’ and he ran. He kept running. Less stupid people listen to their minds: turn sceptical and calculated; look left and right before crossing roads; continue living under the misguided notion of being Gods, only to die one day.

We all die one day. It is an organism’s destiny, if there is one. However, those who live their lives listening to their hearts often shape destinies for people who live listening to their minds. For instance, Forrest Gump shaped it for Lieutenant Dan, it seems.

Maybe being stupid is not being naive; naivety is still cleverness yet-to-take-birth in the wake of awareness through learning; but stupidity results from a mysterious incapability of learning to act as required by a situation, despite awareness.

Forrest Gump was stupid. By being stupid, he ran into all kinds of accidents; suffered from them and lived through them and thus, made his destiny. Many of us, by the virtue of not being stupid, bereft us from running into accidents and curb our chances of seeing myriad facets of life. Do we make our destiny, after all?

In sensing that destiny is perhaps a little of both: unintended accidents and deliberate action, Gump shows us that he is no less intelligent than we lesser stupid ones. He is just stupid. Maybe it is what required in this age, where all sense of right-wrong dissolves in over-rationalization: a little bit of stupidity; a little bit of listening to the heart.

It’s not the movie but it’s the story and the way it was projected which shall be remembered, for ages to come.


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