The Destiny of Forrest Gump

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People always argue about whether or not the movie is better than the book when it comes to storytelling and relatability with characters. Based on the 1986 novel from Winston Groom, I personally prefer the movie due to its great selection of casts such as Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) or Robin Wright (Jenny Curran), and its depiction of Gump as a good, decent man rather than a cynical and cold depiction of the character’s overall story. This movie is great because Forrest is shown to be stupid, but in reality, he really is a wise fool. Although Forrest Gump is just a fictional movie, I think that it truly allows us to relate to characters like Jenny or Forrest, and inspires us to put the past aside and follow our own destiny.

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The movie Forrest Gump, released in 1994 and directed by Robert Zemeckis, starts off with a young boy with a low I.Q and wore leg braces because he was born with a crooked spine. Forrest is a man of good intentions, and throughout the movie, he faces many tribulations but never lets it interfere with his happiness. Gump has had several setbacks in his life which gave him a disadvantage. But he manages to turn the setback into something beneficial to him, such as when he took his leg braces off and outran the bullies chasing him with their bikes. After going through the setbacks, Gump played at the University of Alabama, won a football scholarship, served in the Vietnam War (saving many soldiers’ lives), and ran everywhere in the United States because he wanted to escape from the world’s twisted reality.

While Forrest became successful in his endeavors, the most complicated task was to win the heart of his childhood friend Jenny Curran. For all the tribulations and challenges that Forrest went through, he only thought back to Jenny and how she is very important in his life. Although the movie starts off with the two childhood best friends, the movie shows that they gradually grow apart from each other. Jenny had a messed up childhood with Forrest being the only escape from her abused life. Even when they both grew up to be adults, Forrest Gump’s love for Jenny never wavered and stayed unselfish. Forrest never had any ulterior motives when it came to conveying his true feelings. On the other hand, Jenny is shown to be in various relationships throughout her life. Ironically, her relationship was filled with selfishness and lies which completely went against Gump’s actions.

The most iconic line from Jenny,” run, Forrest, run,” is when she yells at Forrest to run away from the boys chasing after him while the camera zooms in on Gump’s leg braces coming apart; showing that his disability will not slow him down from reaching his goals in life. The iconic line is also ironic as Jenny tells him to run, but foreshadows her figuratively running away from Forrest as they grow older. A memorable line in the movie,” My mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.” He instinctively understood that carrying the past was detrimental to his present and future (Weber, 2010). When Gump proposed to Jenny, she declined and Forrest spends the next three and a half years running across America. Forrest’s run was a way for him to put his past behind him (Weber, 2010). As the movie emphasizes Forrest running from the past, it can also apply to people who still struggle in the past. While Forrest’s run was therapy to exercise some of his past pains, many people use exercise to relieve stress. And what is stress? Simply put, stress is worrying about the past and how it’s going to affect the future (Weber, 2010).

In the movie, the idea of destiny plays a massive role throughout the film. For instance, Forrest and Jenny had two separate destinies with Forrest being successful in spite of his many tribulations, and Jenny ends up as a whore due to her twisted past. When the movie puts Forrest Gump in the Vietnam War, the starting scene shows it raining with soldiers advancing to the enemies positions. The film then cuts of the rain and then sequences to an intense, gruesome battle. Many of Lt. Dan’s squadron perished in the fight except for Forrest. As a bombing was expected to happen within the area, Forrest goes back into the battle to save any fallen comrades who are still alive. While running, Forrest encounters Lt. Dan with both his legs severely wounded, fallen on the ground and calling for a bombing run around the area. Forrest could not leave Lt. Dan and decided to take him to a safe zone away from the war. During this scene, Lt. Dan tells Forrest,” We all have a destiny. Nothing just happens. It’s all part of a plan! I had a destiny. I was supposed to die in the field with honor! That was my destiny, and you cheated me out of it! You understand what I’m saying, Gump? This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to me. I had a destiny. I was Lieutenant Dan Taylor (Weber, 2010). Lt. Dan knew that because he wanted to be a soldier; his destiny would be to die for his country. This shows that the character already knew his purpose in life and it was clear what he wanted to achieve in his life.

The idea of destiny is a tough concept to understand and many people can disagree on it. I feel as though people want to believe that there is a destiny, but people without a religion, such as atheists think differently. Atheists may believe that there’s no God, no purpose and no point to life, but it’s pretty tough living that philosophy out in the day-to-day trenches (Cooke, 2012). Although religion may tie into the concept of having a destiny, it also gives us the motivation to live our lives no matter the limitations. Your purpose is bigger than any obstacle like physical limitations, financial circumstances, being fired or other failures. Nothing can change the fact that you have a unique reason for being here, and there’s still time to discover it (Cooke, 2012).

Forrest Gump is an exceptional movie with its unique characters, impactful themes, and famous quotes that all people can relate about. The movie may seem like it’s a heartwarming story about Forrest, but the movie emphasizes more about our times. As the overall theme of the movie shows the destiny of the characters, it truly allows us to think more about our own destinies and makes people reflect on themselves.

Works Cited

  1. Weber, Steve. You’ve Got To Put The Past Behind You Before You Can Move On. Speaking Gump, 18 Mar. 2010, speakinggump.com/blog/youve-got-to-put-the-past-behind-you-before-you-can-move-on/.
  2. Weber, Steve. What’s Your Destiny? Speaking Gump, 17 May 2010, speakinggump.com/blog/whats-your-destiny/.
  3. Cooke, Phil. Do You Believe In Destiny? Maybe You Should. The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 Oct. 2012, www.huffingtonpost.com/phil-Cooke-phd/do-you-believe-in-destiny-maybe-you-should_b_1733662.html.
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The Destiny of Forrest Gump. (2019, Aug 08). Retrieved November 27, 2022 , from
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