Sociopolitical events impact groups within and every individual in a society. Income, healthcare, and personal safety are just some examples. As well, the political climate often shapes the overall atmosphere of the jurisdiction they govern. As a result, our own attitudes towards universality and humanity are often influenced. The interplay with overarching laws and our potentially evolving values may be synergistic or highly conflicting to many individuals. However, others may “float accidental-like on a breeze” throughout this time period. Forrest Gump is a sensational 1994 film directed by Robert Zemeckis that whisks viewers with the main character from childhood to fatherhood in the midst of the heated American political environment of the 1960s and 1970s.
Forrest Gump is a well-meaning, good-hearted individual from Greenbow, Alabama with an IQ below average impeccably played by Tom Hanks in an Academy Award winning performance. He tells vivid stories of his past throughout the majority of the film while sitting on a park bench waiting for a bus in Savannah, Georgia. In spite of the challenges he faced, his uncomplicated optimism, integrity, and honesty led him to the core of major historical events. The Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandal, and the running craze of the 1970s are amongst many other grand happenings that occur in Forrest’s life. Apart from his dear mother (Sally Field), this journey led Forrest to meet people who anchor and shape his life. They include love of his life Jenny (Robin Wright), close friend Bubba aka Benjamin Buford Blue (Mykelti Williamson), and headstrong Lieutenant Dan Taylor (Gary Sinise). Apart from the magically astounding special effects, I feel that this film is a reminder of how macro- and micro-level interactions mould our existence.
In discussing the importance of rain, I could not avoid major plot spoilers (just a warning!).
Rain in this film surrounds events that influence Forrest’s future relationships with three crucial figures in his life. Firstly, torrential rain is present when Forrest and Bubba commence their friendship on the way to an army bootcamp. While in Vietnam, a four-month monsoon creates a heightened need for reliance and trust amongst the soldiers, and Forrest’s and Bubba’s friendship grows very deep in a short period of time partly as a result. It is absolutely devastating when Bubba’s life ends so abruptly after the rains end. Thus, rain bookends their brief but beautiful friendship. “Bubba was my best good friend, and even I know that ain’t somethin’ you can find around the corner”.
Following the attack that ends Bubba’s life, Lieutenant Dan’s legs are amputated above the knee. He then becomes extremely hostile towards Forrest, revealing that he had a “destiny to die in the field with honour”. They grow apart over time, but are reunited in New York City where Lieutenant Dan slowly rejuvenates his amicability towards Forrest. The authenticity and respect of Forrest towards his cherished friend Bubba is still resounding, as he plans to buy a shrimp boat and became captain to respect Bubba’s wishes and memory. Lieutenant Dan agrees to become first mate if the plan materializes, and he is definitely “a man of (his) word”. Their success is quite poor until Lieutenant Dan questions the presence of God whilst at sea amidst their lack of luck. As Forrest plainly states, “right then and there, I think God showed up”. Hurricane Carmen ravages the fishing industry in the Bayou la Batre, wiping out all of the fishing vessels except for one. Contrary to logic, this monstrous weather event paves the way for the twosome’s financial freedom and success. The strenuous experience also strengthens their friendship, delivering it to a place of peace, serenity, and forgiveness.
While rain cements the friendships previously mentioned, it signifies a sense of distance between Forrest and Jenny. In one scene, Forrest is waiting for Jenny on a very stormy night outside of her dormitory with a box of chocolates. He does not realize that she is with a young man in a car in the parking lot. Forrest’s protection of Jenny escalates, and punches the other man. Animosity is created with Jenny being extremely embarrassed. However, she understands Forrest’s sometimes rigid patterns of thinking yet good intentions. Upon an invitation to her room, Jenny physically reveals herself to Forrest. Whilst this is an intimate moment, subsequent events diverge the two’s life paths very differently. Another rain scene shows Jenny hitchhiking in California as a part of the hippie and free love movement of the 1960s. Forrest was quite far-removed from that particular world. Despite this, Jenny’s presence was with Forrest during Hurricane Carmen as he named his initial boat and then eleven more after her. Despite their varied journeys, Jenny was always in Forrest’s heart.
I do not own any of the images in this post. This is a longer entry than usual. It is because Forrest Gump is my absolute favourite film, and I cannot contain my love for this movie! This post is also a part of the April Showers Blogathon hosted by Steve at Movie Movie Blog Blog. Please check out the link for excellent posts about movies with significant rain scenes and plot points throughout the March 31 – April 2, and anytime thereafter!