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Gump: The spirit of one man's journey

             Once in awhile a film will come along that defies any notion of how a movie should be made. It's description nearly indefinable by the usual standards of movie-making. After viewing the film, I had to ask myself; is it a dream? Is it a historical documentary? Is it a drama or comedy? At its heart, Forrest Gump is a love story. This is perhaps the best overall description of the film, and yet even that is limiting. The movie itself isn't ruled by any conventional plot devices. Instead, the film wanders exactly like someone telling a story. In many respects, the viewer doesn't know where the story is going to go next. The true essence of the film has to do with the people Forrest comes in contact with along his journey. .
             Early in the film we're told that Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks, is at the lower end of the intellectual scale. In fact, his IQ is around seventy-five which is well below the normal range. Even though everyone around him considers him stupid, his mother plainly tells him that "stupid is as stupid does."" Given this statement early in the story, Forrest turns out to be incapable of doing anything less than profound. Gump, through no effort on his own, continually finds himself in the middle of some of the most important moments in American history. He becomes a football star, a war hero, a ping-pong champion, a running icon, and a successful shrimp-boat captain. "I've worn lots of shoes,"" Gump quips in his southern twang. Even though one could consider Gump to be a simpleton, it is his innocence and naiveté that makes his character work so well. Hanks' ability to convey that to the audience is quite brilliant. I can't think of any other actor to pull it off so convincingly. Roger Ebert, a film critic for the Chicago-Sun Times, notes "the performance is a breathtaking balancing act between comedy and sadness, in a story rich in big laughs and quiet truths- (par.

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