Forrest Gump as the Modern Day Fairytale
Forrest Gump is a classic film; this essay will explore all aspects if
this favourite. From the beautifully naïve 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
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
The opening sequence links with many of the major themes, which are
raised throughout the film. We see a woman run across the road, this
to me is symbolic of Jenny's character; always running away in her
life, never staying to face her problems. The film is so popular
because people can relate to the characters, we all want to run away
in our lives, jenny lives this nightmare. The woman then dodges a
car, this sign of danger represents the danger Jenny inflicted upon
herself, pushing her body to the limit, and causing her to contemplate
In the background behind Forrest there is war memorial, this is
significant because Forrest fought in the Vietnam War and all of
lieutenant Dans ancestors had died in previous wars.
The feathers symbolic passage finishes when it falls at Forrest's
feet. We see his shoes, worn, dirty, ruined. These shoes were a gift
" The best gift a man could ever get"
Despite all his riches Forrest chose to keep the trainers he had, he
wasn’t superficial and didn’t spawn in greed....