Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Best Actor 1994: Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump

Tom Hanks won his second Oscar from his third nomination for portraying the titular character of Forrest Gump.

Forrest Gump as I am sure you know follows a slow man as goes and sees and creates many important events throughout U.S.A History. Gump has an interesting reputation as some in fact many support its wins, and say it is a great film, but others just a many hate the film, and see it almost as a punchline.

I suppose some of what determines ones hate or love for Forrest Gump comes from how one view the main performance by Tom Hanks. Performances like these are bound to be exceedingly divisive no matter what, of the unknowing, naive character who has a sort of wonderful philosophy, or personality or something wonderful about them, there is an entire genre of films around a character like this, this film, Being There, Rain Man, I Am Sam. They are all driven in a way or completely by their lead performances. I am not opposed to performances like these because when they work well they can be effective like Peter Sellers in Being There, or they can be incredibly bad, and be far too obvious like Sean Penn in I am Sam.

Now how about Tom Hanks though the first requirement of a performance like this is there way or method of speaking. Well he talks slowly, and with a southern accents of sorts, along with a drawl. I really was especially annoyed by his voice the first time I watched the film. Now every time I watch it I get less annoyed by it, I suppose I got used to it. I will give credit to Hanks that he keeps his voice consistent and never breaks out of it. Next up is the characters mannerisms. Forrest is a tall standing, simple moving sort of fellow very structured in his manner. He shows his slowness here in his sometimes slow manner but always very proper in terms of his movements. Again I will give credit to Hanks he keeps them consistent and does not fail to keep his character consistent.

So he keeps his characterization consistent, and never breaks it during the film, which is good but is his character endearing or annoying? Well a Gump liker I would think would say he is endearing, a Gump hater would say he is annoying though. I am a little in the middle, although I really found him annoying in my initial viewings he has grown on me a little, not that I think him all that likable character now, but he has improved in that he seems less annoying now.

Hanks is allowed to show more emotions than some of these character depictions, since he is slow but not unemotional. He shows his feelings in a slow always naive, always rather abrupt fashion. When Forrest is sad he is sad, when he gets angry he is angry, in rather blunt fashion, which are as they should be played actually due to the blunt naive nature of Forrest, so Hanks again is fine, and consistent as Forrest once again. The overall performance is completely consistent as a character like this should be, but is it amazing acting ever, to me it never quite makes it for me. He creates his character who is fine, but I never found his creation to be amazing. He is sticks with his character the whole through though, and I can see how people liked this so much, even if I do not myself.


dshultz said...

I wonder what Tom Hanks would say if he ever read your reviews of him.

Louis Morgan said...

I'm not that hard on him, am I. I liked him Saving Private Ryan, I did not hate him in this by any means. I disliked his performance in Philadelphia but when I reviewed that almost everyone said I was too easy on him.

dshultz said...

Well, the Philadelphia review was the one I was mainly referencing. It's just that, in popular media, he's considered one of the best actors alive today, and you deconstruct that idea fairly and effectively, is what I meant to say.

Louis Morgan said...

Well all I can say is, thanks.

dinasztie said...

I hate Tom Hanks as a person and as an actor. He's so fake and annoying.