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Forrest Gump (1994): A Tale of Resilience and Embracing Life

Reel to Reel
Life+is+like+a+box+of+chocolates...+you+never+know+what+youre+gonna+get.
Chris Saavedra ’26
Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get.

Life is the most beautiful and mysterious enigma humanity has ever known. Who are we? Why are we here? What is our purpose? The meaning of life is something that has been debated for millennia, and is something that will continue to be talked about until the end of time. Life is not easy, but nothing really is. It’s how you deal with and overcome challenges that truly makes a person realize the significance of life.

Life is the centerpiece of Robert Zemeckis’s 1994 classic “Forrest Gump”, starring Tom Hanks. An adaptation of Winston Groom’s 1986 novel, the film imparts a multitude of life lessons and values and offers a powerful narrative of life, love, and resilience.

The film centers around the incredible and extraordinary titular Forrest Gump, all as a story he tells to strangers who sit next to him while waiting for a bus. Forrest is someone that never had it easy in life, born with a crooked spine and having to wear leg braces. He also suffered from being intellectually disabled, having an I.Q. of 75 and facing constant bullying and harassment by peers.

Despite this, he has a big heart and possesses unique innocence and unwavering optimism. With this, Gump seems to enter the foray of some of the most important and significant events throughout the twentieth century. From meeting a young Elvis Presley, serving in the Vietnam war, meeting Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, unwittingly exposing the Watergate scandal, and inspiring John Lennon’s song “Imagine,” Gump truly lived a life unlike any other. He managed to shape his destiny and significantly influence the lives of those he encountered.

“Forrest Gump”, through its brilliance in cinematography, gives the audience insight into the importance of resilience—to never give up. All the odds were against Gump from the beginning; yet, he overcame them. His braces, his learning disability, and the eventual death of his mother all worked to pull him down, but he would not falter. Gump’s mindset on life is eternalized in his line, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” The movie encapsulates the idea that, no matter what’s thrown in your way, having a positive attitude and perseverance can lead to extraordinary achievements.

The film also highlights the need to live in the present and to let go of all fears and anxieties. Gump lives in the moment, disregarding the fears of the future. Sometimes in life, you find joy in the little things. When you spend each day thinking so much about your worries and fears, you lose touch with the present. You forget the small joys, like watching the sun rise or lying next to a loved one. You only live life once, so why not make the best of it?

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About the Contributor
Chris Saavedra ’26, Staff Writer
Chris Saavedra is a staff writer for the Eagle's Eye and is in his sophomore year. He is an intense movie buff and has a deep admiration and interests in movies and cinema, and is a member of the Paranormal Society. He loves to spend time and play with his dog. Whenever he has his free time, he loves to watch action, comedy, and crime films. He is also a major fan of the Backstreet Boys and OneRepublic.
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