Each movie must have a story that can be told in the context where the audience would know how the event begins and end. What movies basically have are certain parts where the story can be broken into three acts. How each act of the story starts and ends would depend on how the event in each of the parts would be set up. For this to happen, there must be a mechanism called the “instigating event” where the event is needed to set off the motion so the story can be established. Afterward, the movie would progress so the story can be told. The act ends with a major point of the story where the event makes a major impact on the character’s life. In other words, each acts ends with a plot point which helps separates one from the other.

The movie “Forrest Gump” which starred Tom Hanks will be used to demonstrate how the “act structure” works and the way the “instigating event” can be used to set off the plot as well. In the movie, the story begins when the titular character sat next to a woman at the bench waiting for the bus. At that point, the instigating event would happen when Forrest started to talk to the woman by introducing himself and begin telling her his life story. The life story comes in forms of series of flashbacks being shown in the way the events were played out with Forrest’s narrative telling us how he interpreted the said events. The flashbacks generally feature the changing times in the American history in which Forrest unwittingly started or become part of. The first act ends when the flashback covered the important part of Forrest’s life in which his mother dies. This is pivotal because at that point while the previous flashbacks would end each time with the listener leaving and replaced by another person, the particular listener at that scene would stay on to listen to Forrest’s story longer.

In the second act, the flashbacks were that same as those in the first act which covers Forrest’s life except this time it begins to center more on the character’s love interest, Jenny. While Jenny was prominent in the first act, it was in the second act where Forrest became more affected when she rejected him again, this time telling him that she isn’t the kind of woman he should be with. This indicates that Jenny was aware that she haven’t been living up to the kind of person in which Forrest seen her as. Even then, it became more personal when Forrest sensed that something was wrong and told Jenny upon knowing that he’s being turned down, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” From what I saw in this scene when Jenny left, Forrest was visibly heartbroken which caused him to run across the country in frustration. Eventually, as the act ends, the flashback was no longer shown for the rest of the movie as it focus on the present event in which would cover the ending of the story, thus begins the third act.

As the third act of the movie goes, there are no more flashbacks, just the final part of the story where Forrest finally got what he was looking for when Jenny accepts him. However, things became somewhat complicated when Forrest discovers that Jenny has a son and became horrified when she told him the kid is his. To make the matter worse, it turns out Jenny was dying which may factored in the reason why she finally accepts Forrest. In the end, there are closures in regards to some of the people Forrest met in the first two acts and his marriage with Jenny. Once it was over, the scene indicates how Forrest was ready to move on and take care of his son.

Content Analysis:

The movie can have messages in which interpretations would be made in regards to the subject matter. The contents can be analyzed in order to interpretate what the message could be to the viewer. I know there are political interpretations that have been made from the movie, “Forrest Gump” where people would accuse it of promoting conservative ideals because of how the title character succeeds while doing what he was told to do, contrasting Jenny who was considered much more liberal, leading to her eventual death. However, despite the fact that the interpretations may seem that way to some, my own interpretation of the movie is different. The reason is that from what I saw, the movie’s message may have been the blissful ignorance and the certain ideology in the mind of a certain individual during the changing times. As the movie have shown, Forrest generally maintains the same innocent mindset which can be shown when he misinterpreted the events that happened in his life. There’s also a scene in which Forrest would reject a prostitute because she smelled like cigarettes, unwittingly offending her in the process. When it comes to what went on, Forrest being who he is was unaware of the time in which he happens to live in. Despite that, Forrest still knows when something’s wrong at some cases including when Jenny rejected him, thus showing that there are points in which his mindset can be shaken, leading to his frustration. Not to mention the implication when Forrest learns about his son, the horrified reaction can be seen from his face which emits fear, causing Jenny to calm him down. This may have shown how one individual has a innocent view during the changing times, only to come to terms in the end as the person realize the change is something that couldn’t be run away from. In a way the movie does have a conservative message, but for a different reason however.

As the story goes, there are structures in which the event has to be set off in order to set up the plot point. The story can be separated into certain number of acts as the plot point marks the end of each act in order to separate them. Ultimately, analysis can be made in regards to the story in attempt to interpret what the message of the story might have been. In the end, when it comes to the structures and techniques used in the movie in order to tell the story and emit certain messages, it depends on how the film itself is being seen as the interpretations can vary amongst the members of the audience.

http://blogs.reuters.com/fanfare/2009/02/20/the-conservative-politics-of-forrest-gump/
http://www.edquillen.com/eq1995/19950507p.html
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109830/
http://american-studies-digest.blogspot.com/2010/12/forrest-gump.html
http://www.youtube.com/movie?v=EtYNngO7eq4&feature=mv_sr

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