“Life is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get.”
This quote is, without argument, the most iconic line in the already iconic film Forrest Gump. Speaking to the unpredictability of life, but also hinting at the importance of optimism in the face of the unknown, the “box of chocolates” quote sends an important message that transcends time and place. You have a choice when you open a box of chocolates to dream of what might just be or think of that dreaded flavor only a few dare to enjoy. It will no doubt, be quoted time and time again in the years to come. At Mercury One, we choose to open the boxes of chocolates in our life with the outlook that something magical will happen, that we will be amazed, that the entire box will be full of grand surprises.
The film, Forrest Gump, stole the hearts of viewers when it was released in the summer of 1994. Based on the 1986 novel, Forrest Gump, written by Winston Groom, the film is equal parts funny, inspiring and heart-wrenching. Forrest’s self-narrated story begins on his first day of school. Despite his cumbersome leg braces and developmental limitations, Forrest reveals himself to be a natural athlete and becomes a college football star before joining American troops in the Vietnam War. There, he meets a host of characters, including Bubba and Lieutenant Dan, who have a lasting impact on his life. After the war, Forrest’s uncanny knack for ping pong leads him to compete internationally and reunite with Jenny, the love of his life. Forrest gains national fame by running across the country several times and stops only when he receives a letter from Jenny. She introduces him to his son and they get married shortly before she dies.
Beyond telling a compelling story, the film is set during some of the more defining events of the latter half of the 20th century. It reflects the culture surrounding disabled individuals and how society often treated them. Over time, Forrest was able to overcome many obstacles, all the while maintaining a positive attitude. Whether dominating on the gridiron as a college football star, fighting in Vietnam or captaining a shrimp boat, he never ceased to inspire people.
The film differs substantially from Groom’s novel, including Forrest’s personality and several events that were depicted. Actor Tom Hanks won an Oscar and Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Forrest, a simple Alabama man with a low I.Q. but good intentions. The film garnered enormous success when it was released in 1996: it was the top grossing film in North America that year, earning over $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run. The film swept the Academy Awards in 1995, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing.
The lessons learned while watching Gump cope with the hardships he faced over several decades in his life are eternal. The film teaches viewers lessons such as you’ll never know what you’re capable of unless you try, stay positive and open-minded and do what you love, no matter what.
Pictured below is a replica of the bench that was used on set of Forrest Gump. This bench has become a place to take pause, or wait for a colleague, or dream big at Mercury Studio Arts.
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