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Forrest Gump; the Modern Day Fairytale

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Forrest Gump; the Modern Day Fairytale Forrest Gump is a classic film; this essay will explore all aspects if this favourite. From the beautifully na�ve Forrest, to the political underlay throughout the narrative. The opening sequence of the film stimulates a distant memory, a reminiscence of fairytales from years gone by. Once getting to know the character of Forrest I realize this innocence of fairytales is reflected in his being. The tinkling keys of the piano sets the atmosphere for the rest of the film; magical. We see a feather floating on a breeze. A signifier is a symbol, it can be verbal (seen) or aural (heard). It is a symbol that the audience can place a significant meaning onto. In Forrest Gump the signifier is this feather. To me the feather has no complex underhand meaning. Like Forrest the feather is simple. I believe that it represents his life; worry free, just meandering along quite happily on a breeze. "The feather is a metaphor for the randomness of life. It has a destiny, or did it choose to land at Forrests feet?" This it what the director, Robert Zemekis ponders about the feather. He refers to destiny, are the events in our live due to destiny like a feather on the breeze or do we make our own destiny? A question we will all surely ponder in our life, and a theme that this film subtly addresses. We follow this feather on its significant journey from a high angle camera shot; this was probably done using a crane. It allows us; the audience, to have a clear view of what's going on beneath us. High angled shots can even make the audience feel powerful and superior and the actors seem small and vulnerable. Whilst following the feather we see the setting is in an urban city as the camera pans across the city. ...read more.


Forrest's trusting and giving nature means others often take advantage of him, he is cajoled into the army where he meets his new best friend Bubba. Bubba dies for his country and Forrest risks his life to save his comrades; they are both undervalued individuals who were prepared to die for their country, which was ruthlessly using them in a complicated political war. Forrests loving character means he will do anything to help others. He values human life above political ploys. The problems he overcomes should make us feel humble when we think we have troubles. In my opinion the villain in Forrest Gump is the infamous president Nixon. In American History he was one if the most hated and corrupt presidents, just as in our society Hitler is hated. As the initial target audience was American, then this makes Nixon the scandalous villain. Robert Zemekis covers the Watergate scandal, at this time Nixon was abhored by all Americans. Zemekis uses Forrest to uncover the entwining tendrils that formed Nixon's web of deceit and lies. He interlinks actual footage to reinforce the scene. Ideology is a widespread belief, a culture, an upbringing. Throughout the film Zemekis subtly attacks American ideology. In America it is part of their culture to carry a gun; the right to defend. The film insinuates that carrying guns encourages violence, there are many assassinations covered in Forrest Gump, would these have been so frequent if it wasn't part of American society, to have a gang cultures and guns so easily at hand? Again we can relate this issue to a current day situation; we have read in the headlines about the sniper which is plaguing America. Would he/she be around if guns weren't such an accepted part of American ideology? The film also appears to be attacking the wealthy, flamboyant Americans by suggesting that great wealth shouldn't be hoarded, and kept for yourself. ...read more.


Another example is when Jenny is dancing in a seedy club; the song playing is ' Get down tonight' by KC and the Sunshine band. The magical happenings in Forrest Gump bind scenes together with an enchanting thread. Young Forrest is being chased by relentless bullies on bikes "Run Forrest run" Jenny's plea is amplified to a level of desperation. We see Forrest running his hardest, impossibly slow and restrained by his leg braces. We see this sequence in slow motion, and to our joy and amazement, his leg braces break off, we discover he can run fast, subsequently he is cured! The second time this happens Forrest is older and walking down the same path as Jenny, an echo of the afore mentioned scene. The same, older schoolboys chase Forrest in a car this time, the are pitiless, shallow bullies whom have not grown out of victimizing those weaker than them. Forrest is forced to run across a football game to escape from their taunting pursuit, his exceptional speed catches the eye of a talent spotter and is offered a place in a university for a sports degree. The only parts of Forrest Gump which contrast to the magical fairy story image I have created are the tragic deaths of Bubba, his Mum, and Jenny. Jenny's death is a tearful culmination to a previously happy ending. They don't all live happily ever after, Jenny dies and Forrest is left with a living reminder of her memory, his son little Forrest. Jenny knew that she was dying and in a final moment of sanity and compassion she gave into her will and let happiness reside in her heart by allowing herself to love Forrest. At Jenny's grave we hear a heartfelt tear provoking speech from Forrest, Jenny can finally rest in peace. The film ends with the feather floating in the air. Signifying the end of one journey and the beginning of another, new life. Lucy Elizabeth Adler 10 M - 1 - ...read more.

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