Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #24

Re: Forrest Gump (1994)

Recently I rewatched Forrest Gump for the first time in almost 20 years. Is my memory faulty, or did Zemeckis revise the plot line in this movie? I had no memory of a sex scene with Forrest and Jenny. I don’t remember a child born of that union. I remember Jenny dying of AIDS…and then Forrest goes on his run. I remember the power of the movie coming from Forrest’s unchanging ability to love unconditionally.

What I watched on the TV seemed to fall flat. It seemed to me that the Gump I saw on the TV affirmed the anti-family, anti-life culture of the 21st century rather than Christ’s assurance that “Greater love than this no man has, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Is my memory faulty, or did Zemeckis issue a revised movie to placate the culture? Maybe I see today with different eyes the same thing that I saw almost 20 years ago. But this movie today seems to me like a different movie than the one I saw in 1994.

The plot points you mention — the sex scene with Jenny, the child born of that union — were there from the beginning. What has changed are the eyes you brought to the film.

I think you’re right to see the story as morally shallow, not only because of the un-family angle but also because there is a certain genial nihilism in making Forrest the hero. Forrest succeeds not because he is good or capable, but by dumb luck. The movie is one big joke about the appearance of meaning, profundity and greatness where none exists in fact.

It was that way from the beginning, but Hanks’s appeal, the bravura special effects and the novelty initially blinded many of us (myself included) to what the film is.

Link to this entry

Coming Soon

Recently Added

In Theaters – Latest

In Theaters – All