Analysis of the Movie 'Forrest Gump' and the Questions That It Raises

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“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get”, explains Forrest Gump. Certainly, life is full of unpredictability and wonder, establishing questions such as: Why did a movie so full of simplicity earn over than six hundred and seventy million dollars around the world and win the Oscar for Best Picture in 1994? Because of the childlike, yet determined main character. This fictional character is iconic in our culture. Gump, despite being disabled, found himself in the center of the most interesting events from the 1950s through the 1980s. His sense of optimism and innocence, and the way he dives into life without pessimism, are enchanting in our tumultuous world. There are many questions this movie derives that can be answered through the Old Testament. How do we love those around us to the fullest? Do we have free will, or do we have a destiny?

Free will versus predestination is found at the core, subtly, of ‘Forrest Gump’. Within the movie, both people who believe in free will and predestination are represented. Lieutenant Dan represents those who believe fully in predestination as he says, “We all have a destiny! Nothing just happens! It is all part of a plan!”. Whereas Forrest Gump’s mother represents those who believe fully in free will as she says, “Well, I happen to believe you make your own destiny”. This deliberation is a struggle universally, because this answer not only affects our identity, but also our destiny. Is there a design and plan we were born into, or are we the masters of our own fates? Most troubling of all, are both views wrong? Forrest does not know which of these ideologies to believe, until late in the film when he has a life-changing revelation. Forrest’s epiphany is that “maybe both are happening at the same time”. One of the most prevalent arguments among Christians is the extent of predestination that God has determined. At each extreme are those who claim that God uses just one and not the other. The Bible clearly indicates that both predestination and free will are both in use, so both extremes are incorrect. So as to satisfy His prophecies, God must predestine history to a particular degree. The Bible indicates that God's role in history of redemption extends beyond the bounds of Jesus Christ, but also to God's role within the redemption of Israel. Isaiah claims that God used foreign rulers to change history and free the Jews from captivity by saying, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done; saing, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:10-11). There are several more verses that affirm that individuals have the power to execute their own decisions. Within the book of Deuteronomy, God Himself tells the people to decide to follow Him to receive His blessings by expressing, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Another additional source of free choice is “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26). This shows that God created us in His own image, and He has the greatest free will of all. All of these show that while God predetermines what will happen in our life to an extent, we also still have choice in that happens to us.

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Forrest Gump loves those around him absolutely and unconditionally. The movie goes into additional detail with love than simply how Forrest shows his love, it also shows how the love of his life, Jenny deals with love. Jenny searches for love in all the wrong places, such as making an attempt to find happiness in parked cars or drug-filled penthouses. Is there a better depiction of how our own sin and shame impact our relationship with God? Forrest loves Jenny, he loves her unconditionally, just as God loves us. He loves with a perfect, undying passion. And Jenny loves Forrest, too. But she seeks fulfillment elsewhere every time. When Forrest asks Jenny to marry him, she realizes that he is too good for her. Jenny, after all this time, sees that Forrest knows what true love is, but that she does not. Forrest Gump is not comparable to Jesus Christ and God in any other way, except for the way in which he loves the people around him unconditionally. God’s unconditional love is shown repeatedly in the Bible, but one of the earliest instances is “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3). God loves people unconditionally by providing a solution for our breaking his laws, and it has everything to do with our experiencing life with him and with each other. In a word, God’s unconditional love could also be called ‘forgiveness’. And lucky for us, only few sins are unforgivable and as long as we repent, we will be saved as said in Leviticus 5:13, which states, “In this way the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering”. All of these things show God’s unconditional love for us. We can love those around us better is we love more unconditionally, such as Forrest Gump loved Jenny and the Trinity love us.

‘Forrest Gump’ is about a life lived to the fullest, and lived through very boisterous times. This kind of story well told ends up saying not only a lot of things to us but also about us. It also relates to two main themes of the Old Testament, which are predestination versus free will and unconditional love shown by the Holy Trinity.

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Analysis of the Movie ‘Forrest Gump’ and the Questions That It Raises. (2023, January 31). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-the-movie-forrest-gump-and-the-questions-that-it-raises/
“Analysis of the Movie ‘Forrest Gump’ and the Questions That It Raises.” Edubirdie, 31 Jan. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-the-movie-forrest-gump-and-the-questions-that-it-raises/
Analysis of the Movie ‘Forrest Gump’ and the Questions That It Raises. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-the-movie-forrest-gump-and-the-questions-that-it-raises/> [Accessed 20 Jun. 2024].
Analysis of the Movie ‘Forrest Gump’ and the Questions That It Raises [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Jan 31 [cited 2024 Jun 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-the-movie-forrest-gump-and-the-questions-that-it-raises/
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