Steven Scott’s “Like a Box of Chocolates” explores Forrest Gump, the movie – one of the best-known and most influential American cultural products of recent decades. In a serious, bordering on downright academic tine, Scott presents his reading of the famous story of a simple-witted man who inexplicably becomes incredibly successful at everything he attempts. According to the author, Forrest Gump is an embodiment of postmodernism, which partially is the secret of its wide appeal. To support his case, Scott analyzes many aspects of the movie, such as its quite liberal treatment of historical events and characters or the occasional breaking of the fourth wall. The argument structure is always straightforward: the author introduces a sub-point, provides a movie scene that, according to him, illustrates this point, and then proceeds to develop the thought. As a result, the argument flows freely and without evident issues, and the article is as persuasive and convincing as one might reasonably expect from art critique – which is, after all, a rather subjective affair.
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Yet the most interesting rhetorical choice made in the review is that, while dissecting Forrest Gump, it also consciously mimics some features of its narrative structure. In particular, the author speaks of the importance of omissions in the movie, as when the deaths of Martin Luther and Malcolm X are not even referred to. According to him, what is said is just as important as what is omitted. In what might be an ironic rhetorical choice, the author follows the same pattern: he proclaims Forrest Gump a quintessential postmodern work but never defines postmodernism in the first place.
In what is likely the most famous scene of the movie, the titular character is asked to speak at an anti-war rally. Just as he begins, someone unplugs his microphone, and the entire speech is inaudible except for the last words: “And this is all I have to say about that.” Figuratively speaking, Steven Scott embarks on his narrative journey only to conclude: “And this is all I have to say about postmodernism,” deliberately refusing to spell that what should constitute the core of his message.
Scott, S. (Director). (2001). Like a Box of Chocolates [Film].