At the 1995 Academy Awards, the movie Forrest Gump walked away with 6 Oscars, including Best Actor for Tom Hanks’ incredible performance in the title role. Forrest Gump also won for Best Adapted Screenplay. While I have watched the movie many times, I had never read the novel upon which the movie is based. Recently I decided that needed to be remedied.
The novel is hilarious. Just the first two paragraphs had me laughing like a hyena. All the familiar names are there: Forrest, Mama, Jenny, Bubba, and Lieutenant Dan. Forrest, once again, is mentally challenged and yet gets himself into many amazing and historical events. In my opinion, however, the similarities between the book and the movie are more rare than common.
That does not mean that the book isn’t a good read. It certainly is. It is really fascinating to see how Winston Groom envisions Forrest’s life as opposed to how it unfolded on the screen. In some ways, his life is less tragic in the book than in the movie, but it also seems a little less hopeful.
Here is what I encourage you to do: get the book and read it and decide for yourself. Which do you like better – the book or the movie? I do have to say that, for me, I liked the movie better than the book. I think that is the first time that has ever happened in my life. I have always liked the books better, but there is a first time for everything. It may just be that Tom Hanks so fully became Forrest that any other vision of him will not work for me. I do think there is a bit more though, I think that the screenplay resonates with me more than the novel does. But what do you think?