Last night I watched Forrest Gump in its entirely for the first time in many years. I’d forgotten how good a movie it is. Rewatching it, I’d probably put it in my current top 20 of all time. It’s a great movie. Every part holds together, there’s not a single sequence that doesn’t work. Like, part of why I hadn’t watched it in so long is because when it’s been on TV it’s so easy to go in and out – virtually every piece of the movie is watchable on its own. And because the Gump character has become so iconic, I think Hanks’ performance has become underrated. He’s really good in it, and subtler than I remembered. I’m not sure if there’s another actor that could have pulled it off.
What struck me most watching it last night though was how different the experience is watching in my 40s, vs. my teens when it first came out. I still remember watching it in 1994. I believe I watched it with Bobby Ro, Dave Park and Paul Jung at the AMC Town and Country. I was 18. I distinctly remember thinking back then, man, when I fall in love, I’m going to treat my woman like Forrest treats Jenny. Completely devoted and selfless, no matter what she does and how she is. I was positive I’d be that way.
It made me feel somewhat sad last night to remember those feelings and see how short I’ve come. Now that I’ve actually fallen in love and been married for so long, man, I’m not like that at all. If I’m honest with myself, I spend most of the time in marriage thinking about what I’m getting rather than what I need to give. I’m not selfless like Forrest at all. I was so wrong about how I would be. I realize Forrest Gump is a fairy tale, that he’s not a realistic character or even someone to be emulated. But in my youth I was so sure I could be like that. And I’m so not. It made me sad.
I was challenged though, to be more selfless in my marriage. I can’t be Forrest Gump but surely I could (and should) be way more selfless than I currently am. I gave Jieun a foot massage last night and attempted to make her breakfast this morning. It’s a start.