Forrest Gump Ending Explained & Film Analysis

Forrest Gump: Why the film about a man with mental retardation has become a cult? Forrest Gump is a film directed by Robert Zemeckis based on the novel of the same name by Winston Groom. A simple story about a mentally retarded guy with a strange name has become a classic of world cinema. The meaning of the film “Forrest Gump” is the ability to enjoy life, sincerely love and be yourself, no matter what.

Forrest Gump Plot Summary

A man sits at a bus stop in the middle of a city street. Next to him is a briefcase, on his knees is a box of chocolates. When the bus comes, he does not go anywhere, but just sits and looks ahead. When a woman sits next to him, he speaks to her: “I’m Forrest Gump. Do you want candy? I can eat one and a half million of them. My mom always said that life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what the toppings will come across. Then he begins to tell the story of his life.

Tom HanksTom Hanks starring Forrest Gump. Frame from the film.

Forrest lived with his mother at their family estate in Greenbow. To support her son, the woman began to rent empty rooms in the house. The boy had problems with his legs and mentality, but his mother never allowed Forrest to think that he was somehow different from the others. She believed in her son and wanted him to study among ordinary children, to live like everyone else. Once, his clumsy gait inspired even Elvis Presley, who stayed at their house. Later, this gait became a “chip” of the pop king of the scene.

At school, the boy had a hard time. The children mocked him, called him a fool and laughed. The only one who began to communicate with him was the girl Jenny. They spent all their free time together, retelling the content of their favorite books, learning from each other various everyday trifles. And one day, running away from hooligans, Forrest suddenly felt great strength in his legs. To Jenny’s cries of “Run, Forrest, run!” he rushed forward and for the first time felt a surge of real freedom.

After attending high school and graduating from college, Forrest was drafted into the army. There he met Bubba, a dark-skinned shrimp fisherman, and Lieutenant Dan. Bubba was as eccentric as Forrest himself, he constantly talked about catching shrimp and took a word from a friend that after the war they would go fishing together. But during a special operation in Vietnam, Bubba died. Lieutenant Dan, having fallen under the bombing, also almost lost his life, but Forrest carried him out of the fire.

Mykelti WilliamsonTom Hanks as Forrest, Mykelti Williamson as Bubba. Frame from the film.

At the military hospital, he again met with Lieutenant Dan. His legs were amputated. Dan lost heart, cursed everything in the world. He accused Forerst of not letting him die a hero. In order not to get bored in the hospital, Forrest learned to play table tennis. He did it so masterfully that he was even accepted into the national team. Forrest Gump became a celebrity. He was once paid a huge sum of money for describing tennis rackets in a commercial. And then Forrest decided to fulfill the dream of a deceased friend.

He bought a schooner for catching shrimp and went fishing, when suddenly Lieutenant Dan came to him. Together they began to go to sea, but the fishing was not successful. One day after a devastating hurricane, all the fishing schooners in the area were destroyed, only Forrest’s ship survived. In a short time, having no competitors, he and Dan became “shrimp kings” and millionaires. Suddenly, Forrest’s mom got cancer and died. After burying her, he gave away part of the money to charity, and transferred half of the proceeds to Bubba’s mother.

All actions in Forrest’s life took place against the backdrop of major historical events in the United States. Presidents changed, terrorist attacks were committed, new stars of the stage were lit. But Forrest only cared about Jenny. He constantly thought about her, dreaming that one day she would simply appear in front of his house. In parallel, there is a description of her life. She got involved with crime and drugs, fell into a strong addiction, everything went downhill.

Robin WrightRobin Wright played the role of Jenny. Frame from the film.

One day, Jenny actually appeared on the lawn right in front of an astonished Forrest. She came to him to stay. It was the happiest time for the main character when he and Jenny were together. But when Forrest asked Jenny to marry him, she refused. They spent the night together, and the next morning Jenny left again. Forrest fell into despair and, going out into the street, suddenly felt an irresistible desire to run. And he ran.

Forrest Gump ran for more than three years, crossing the United States several times up and down. He didn’t have a specific goal, he just did what his heart told him to do. And then he just got tired and went home. One day he received a letter from Jenny, in which she asked him to come to her in Savannah. When they met again, Jenny confessed to Forrest that he had a son. And his name is also Forrest. She also said that she was terminally ill with an unknown disease (obviously, we are talking about AIDS, which at that time doctors had just begun to talk about).

Forrest moved Jenny and his son to his house, they got married. Lieutenant Dan came to the wedding with his bride. He came on his new titanium legs. The newlyweds were happy, but Jenny was rapidly weakening, the disease was rapidly draining her life. One Saturday, Jenny died. Standing on her grave, Forest told how their son is growing, how smart he is, how much fun they have together. At the end of the film, Forrest Gump escorts his son to school, putting him on the bus. The meaning of the ending is that everything in life is cyclical, everything repeats, returns to normal.

The meaning of the film Forrest Gump

In addition to a purely American historical context, the film “Forrest Gump” raises ordinary human problems. In the beginning, this is the upbringing of a child with mental disabilities by a single mother. Then the topic of teaching children with developmental disabilities in a regular school. This is followed by moments close to everyone, such as first love, a serious illness, the death of loved ones.

The essence of the film “Forrest Gump” is that it shows a protest against generally accepted standards – “psychos have no place among ordinary people”, “everyone must become successful in life”, “happiness must be torn out of fate with teeth.” Forrest, despite the difficulties surrounding him, does not become angry, does not try to go over the heads and prove something to someone. He remained a sincere, faithful friend, a loving son, just a good person.

The light feather that appears at the beginning and end of the film is a metaphor. The protagonist “flew” through all the key events in the history of the United States and could even influence them, remaining invisible. At the same time, the author wanted to show that Forrest himself, like this light feather, simply surrenders to the breath of the wind.

He does not dwell on problems, does not judge anyone and does not prove anything to anyone. He simply lives, but this is precisely the deep hidden meaning of the existence of every person on earth.

What book is the movie based on?

The film is based on Winston Groom's 1986 novel Forrest Gump. But the picture has gone quite far from the original novel. Forrest is described in the book as a cynic and a difficult character. The main line of the film: “Life is like a box of chocolates” contradicts the words from the book “Being an idiot is not a box of chocolates”. And yet the general events from the life of the protagonist were preserved.

Is the movie based on real events?

No, the hero himself does not have a specific prototype in real life. His features are rather taken from many case histories of people with convulsive-impulsive mental disorders. But the scene with the Forrest Gump race is really based on real events. Luis Michael Figueroa ran from New Jersey to San Francisco in 1982. So he decided to support the Cancer Society. It was he who said: "I just put one foot in front of the other," which was then transferred to the film.
The ceremony with the awarding of the Medal of Honor was also real. True, they handed it, of course, not to Forrest Gump, but to Sammy L. Davis. The ceremony took place on November 19, 1968, and was presented by US Vice President Lyndon Johnson. In the frame, the head of Tom Hanks was "attached" to the body of Davis using modern technology. As a result, the footage turned out to be very convincing.

Why did Jenny leave the house?

Jenny has been unhappy since childhood. Being abused by her alcoholic father, she left home more than once and hid in the field to pray. She later carried the same avoidance tactic into her relationship with Forrest. Each time, appearing in his life, she left without explanation, and disappeared for several years. Most likely, she loved Forrest and understood that with her presence she would ruin his life, destroy his pure, bright nature.
The last time she returned to the main character, when she had nowhere to go. The explanation is simple - her task was to transfer her son to him so that the boy would be in good hands. Jenny understood that she was dying, and therefore did not run away again, because her earthly wanderings were already over. One day, approaching her old house, she began to throw stones at it and shout: “How could you do this to me?!”. Obviously, these words were addressed to her father. It was with his bullying that Jenny's troubles began, turning her whole life upside down.

How were the scenes with the legless lieutenant filmed?

According to the plot, the legs of the hero Gary Sinise were amputated. To make everything look believable in the frame, they were wrapped in a special cloth and then erased on the computer. But an attentive viewer will notice in some episodes how Lieutenant Den focuses on legs that are not there. The hero's wheelchair was equipped with a system of mirrors. This trick is used by magicians to "remove" some parts of the body of the person sitting in it.

Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise as Dan Taylor. Frame from the film.

Similar films

  • “Rain Man” , USA, 1988. After the death of his father, Charlie learned that he wrote off the entire inheritance to his older brother Raymond. He is mentally ill and lives in a clinic. Charlie kidnaps Raymond and takes him away, hoping to take away his inheritance through the courts.
  • The Green Mile , USA, 1999. There is a “green mile” in the death row prison – the path to the place of execution. Unit chief Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) sees new prisoner John Coffey as an unusual person. He has a mystical gift, but will this save him from death?
  • “I am Sam” , USA, 2001. An adult man with the development level of an 8-year-old child fights for his right to be a father and a full member of society. Sam loves his daughter Lucy and sees the meaning of life only in her.
  • “Terminal” , USA, 2004. Victor Navorsky gets stuck in the New York terminal for the reason that his passport becomes invalid. He is forced to live in an airport building for months, fighting the system while remaining true to his principles.
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