So, I was doing my essay the other day (around 3 weeks ago now!) and it involved watching Forrest Gump. My topic was historical film and Forrest Gump has a surprising amount of history in it. But anyway, that’s not why I am blogging about it. I am blogging because early on in the film Forrest is at the doctor’s surgery getting leg braces and the exchange suddenly turned to this:
“HIs back is as crooked as a politician. But we’ll straighten him up” [0:04:45-0:04:41]
Wait, his back is crooked? How on earth are leg braces going to straighten his spine? Forrest clearly thinks they are when he talks to Jenny:
“My back’s crooked as a question mark. But these are gonna make me straight as an arrow, they’re my magic shoes” [0:13:25-0:13:29]
Personally I feel these quotes suggest that Forrest had either scoliosis or kyphosis. I don’t know how but he obviously got better because the doctor says “We sure got you straightened out, didn’t we boy?” [1:53:20-1:53:35]
Not to spoil the film, but of course it was not about Forrest’s recovery from scoliosis or even the condition itself but more how disability was viewed in 1960s American society. Forrest’s IQ was low so it is apparent that he had some sort of learning difficulty, perhaps on the autistic spectrum. But it shows how this mental issue was looked at as being linked to physical deformity. “We sure got you straightened out” is not only a reference to how Forrest no longer had a spinal deformity but how he had managed to live such a successful and ‘normal’ life, therefore straightening out his mental issues as well.
It was a thought provoking film. I certainly recommend it.