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61. EMPIRE MAGAZINE GREATEST: Forrest Gump

May 17, 2018

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Eric Roth
Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, Sally Field
Runtime: 142 Minutes

 

Original UK Release: 1994

 

★★★★☆
 

Forrest Gump is a divisive picture even by the standards of Best Picture winners. Some see it as a vast, melodramatic slog of a picture, while others see it for the sweet-natured but inexperienced effort that it is.

 

Zemeckis has always been a pioneer of digital effects in the medium, but here they are put to the best use possible as a means of manipulating the past to create a highly believable parallel universe. For all of its overwrought moments though, it’s a genuinely tender and emotionally stirring film with some beautiful moments carrying a loving authentically. 

 

The worst thing to be said of both the screenplay and its direction is that at times the episodic nature of the films’ events comes across as being tirelessly derivative of other poignant period pictures of the past three decades. Also, there are a couple of shoehorned in moments of the birth of popular culture symbols in the final movement that are fun, but rather affectless.

 

Regardless of the controversies concerning the depiction of his condition, Forrest Gump is one of cinemas most endearing dimwits, naïvely stumbling his way through the world from event to event all the while crafting a memorable and cinematic story unlike any other. Hanks dedicates himself to the role perfectly with stumbling grace and humanity, and Robin Wright shows incredible range and complexity in the emotions of Jenny Curran, the love of his life. Field, Sinise and Williamson brilliantly depict the supporting characters that have come to personify their careers. 

 

While the effects haven’t aged too gracefully and the over-sentimentality of its gooey heart may be far too much for some to stomach, there’s a lot to admire on show here that provides some genuine emotional thrills and weight – from Zemeckis’ wonderfully effortless direction to the terrific performances.

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