It has been a long, hard and sad week. This evening I fancied something ‘cheerful’ so we watched Robert Zemeckis’s 1994 Forrest Gump, one of a number of films that we have decided to watch after our trip to the States. In this case, the link is that we recently stood in the exact same place on the highway in Monument Valley where Gump finally decides that he has run enough and turns and runs back home, back to reality (picture). For a while the film was adopted by American conservatives, who saw it as an elegy for simple American values. But it was always more complex than that. Tom Hanks plays Gump brilliantly – a fool just clever enough to realise that he is stupid, and with none of the slyness of a Svejk. As Zemeckis put it, Gump ‘has no agenda and no opinion about anything except Jenny, his mother and God.’ The film is probably best seen as a fable, with the vacancy of Gump’s decent fool acting as a foil to the epic slice of history through which he lives. In any case, whatever the merits or demerits of the film, Hanks’s performance is up there with Hoffman in Rainman, Sellars in Being There and DiCaprio in Gilbert Grape.