Mama Says, 'Forrest Gump Is a Good Movie'

Yes, it's true, Gidget has a baby boy and his name is Forrest Gump.

Robert Zemeckis' new movie, "Forrest Gump" is the story of a young, simple boy whose life is filled with coincidental encounters with the major historical events of the last 50 years. He inspires Elvis' famous pelvic thrust, shakes the hand of many presidents (even bringing some of them to their demise--read, Richard Nixon) and finally marries the girl of his dreams. Seems too good to be true? It's Hollywood, don't ask.

But besides the way Forrest alters history, he also touches the hearts of the other characters and the members of the audience with his earnest charm and innocence.

Tom Hanks brings life to this original character, and after his Academy Award for "Philadelphia," Hanks has finally come into his own. (Of course, I couldn't help picturing him with his alter-ego Peter Schaffer from Bosom Buddies, but Hanks does a magnificent job in this film).

This film sets Hanks in the ranks of many other solid leading men. Here he has the talented and very experienced Sally Field playing his mother. Hanks stands on his own next to this actress, carrying the film with his facial expressions and strong southern accent.

The most critical part of Eric Roth's adaptation of Winston Groom's novel of the same name is the setting. This film could happen nowhere else but in the South.

The majority of the film is Gump's first-person recitation of his life story to strangers while he sits on a park bench. Could you see this happening in New York City? I think he would have been hauled off to Bellevue. Or in Los Angeles? Well, everyone drives there. No where else would people take the time, listen and empathize with a complete stranger. Yes, the movie also shows the rednecks who tease him, but the optimistic glaze of the film uses their hatred as a source for Forrest's strength and development.

Essentially, the film could not have been set anywhere else because the South has a way of creating and maintaining eccentrics. No one wants to live the life of Blanche DuBois, but everyone is fascinated by her. No one would want to wear Forrest Gump's shoes, no matter how fast they may be, but everyone loves him.

Forrest grew up with a 75 I.Q. and braces on his legs. In a small Southern town in Alabama, he may as well have been from Mars. But he overcame this handicap, breaking off the braces in one touching scene, and he never looked behind to see who was eating his dust. From such odd roots, he goes on to become a world-renowned runner and athlete. He serves in Vietnam and travels the world.

Yes, this is Hollywood making the most of its ability to create make-believe. However experienced a film--goer you may be, you still cannot help being lured into the film. You want to believe. You want to hope. You want to be able to overcome the same odds he does and succeed while maintaining the innocence he holds unknowingly.

Despite his mother's death, his wife's death, and his best friend's death, Forrest continues. Despite his own handicaps and the handicaps of those around him, he still manages to survive. And through it all, because he does not know any better, he is happy.

Robin Wright, the lovely Princess Buttercup from "The Princess Bride," plays Forrest's best friend and eventual wife, Jenny Curran. Unlike Forrest, she goes out and experiences the hardships of life without his protective innocence. Like Forrest, Jenny takes the joy ride of history. Wright delivers a good performance, holding her own next to Hanks.

With the malaise of nihilism, the impending doom of the breakdown of the ozone layer, the tensions which seem to fill our lives on a day to day basis, it is nice, and comforting to escape into the life a small Southern town with its innocent and simple superstar and forget. Happy viewing, and may your destiny be as magical as Forrest's.