Whoever watches Forrest Gump will never forget the famous line “Run, Forrest, run!”. This is an American comedy-drama film, a genre of movie that combines both humorous and serious content. Forrest Gump is a young boy born in Alabama, a state in the Southern part of the US. Having a crooked spine and slightly retarded since birth, he was a target for bullies. Jenny was Forrest’s only friend, and they often walked to school together. One day, Forrest was harassed by a group of boys and Jenny told him “Run, Forrest, run!”, so the disabled boy struggled to run until his leg braces broke apart, and the little boy could run for the very first time in his life.
Since then, Forrest ran everywhere, and his legs became stronger. He ran at maximum speed every time someone told him to run, incredibly fast, to the degree that he was recruited to the high school’s football team, and became a football player in the university with a football scholarship.
After that, Forrest was enlisted in the army and sent to Vietnam. Before leaving America, his girlfriend Jenny reminded: “Listen, you promise me something, okay? Just if you’re ever in trouble, don’t try to be brave, you just run, okay? Just run away.”
In Vietnam, while on patrol, Forrest’s platoon was ambushed by the Viet Cong, many were wounded and killed. Remembering Jenny’s words, Forrest ran off without turning his head once, getting himself out of danger. Yet he ran back many times to carry his wounded comrades away from the combat area.
Forrest, slightly injured (in his right buttock), was taken back to the US to receive treatment and a medal for bravery in rescuing his comrades. In the hospital, Forrest learned to play table tennis (ping pong) from other patients. One patient taught him that “no matter what happens, never, ever take your eye off the ball”, and Forrest kept his eyes on the ball all the time, which helped him become a table tennis champion. He then was sent to China to compete on a goodwill tour, paving the way for President Nixon to formally normalizing the relation between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China (PRC)…
The story is thrilling and full of surprises. It is the story of America and American culture from 1950s to 1990s. Forrest represents the conservatives who are pious (Alabama is the state located in the middle of the Bible Belt of America), unwise, very simple-minded and truthful, a little bit dull, yet able to focus on one point like… fanatic, thus becoming successful. Jenny represents the liberals, resisting the old disciplines and values, exploring new cultures, values, arts,… alcohol, beer and drug..
[ We can see in the film the major events in the US history: The rise of Elvis Presley and rock and roll, Vietnam War, Watergate scandal, the Beatles, Nixon’s opening up Communist China with the pingpong game, Hippies and the anti-war movement, baby boomers’ hardworking ethics and success after the war (in the 80s), the rise of computer industry, the weakening of liberalism, the running craze (and other exercise crazes), the AIDS epidemic of the early 90s…]
The point I would like to tell you here is: “Focus on one thing like a fanatic”. Only concentrating on one thing and putting all your energy into it without thinking of anything else, is the key to success, no matter how dumb you are.
That is the key to success. And it is also an American cultural characteristic that is emphasized regularly in the American education, in schools as well as in companies.
Wish you all a focus day.
(Huyền Vân translated from Vietnamese)
Note: Text in blue is newly added, not in the original Vietnamese version.
Chạy, chạy, Forrest, chạy!