Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / Forrest Gump

Go To

  • Adaptation Displacement: Most people don't know that there's a book the film was based on, less so that the book even had a sequel.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Jenny, Lt. Dan, and perhaps even Gump himself.
    • How much does Jenny hate herself due to her horrible childhood, and how much is she using Forrest? Does she only fall in love with Forrest at the end of her life, or is she in love with him the whole time but feels like she isn't good enough for him? Similarly, does she keep running away from home (and Forrest) for truly hedonistic reasons, or is she so terrified of hurting Forrest the same way her father hurt her that putting space between them is her way of trying to keep him safe?
    • Advertisement:
    • Is Jenny just a Strawman for alternative lifestyles that embodied a lot of the 60s and beyond, getting unjustly punished for essentially not being a male, law-abiding square?
    • Is Lt. Dan a Death Seeker prior or just unable to cope with his loss, and how much does he manipulate Forrest?
    • Forrest:
      • Does Forrest really have that low an IQ or is he merely severely autistic? The book is notable in that it puts him as an Idiot Savant; what most would call a very high IQ, but extreme autism, explaining his seemingly folksy wisdom as sheer cunning.
      • Forrest definitely gets an alternative character interpretation from the book to the movie. The movie emphasizes Forrest's naivete and simplicity to make him a gentle, sweet soul that touches others' lives for the better. The Forrest from the book is an idiot savant, true enough, but is otherwise pretty much an angry, rather violent redneck bungling his way through history.
      • Is Forrest just Born Lucky or is he a full-on Sue? Your answer to that is probably based on whether you like the movie or not. A third option is that he is actually a deconstruction of a notion. On the one hand, he accomplishes many great things in life and achieves astounding successes through accident. On the other hand, all the fame and fortune in the world could not bring his mother or Bubba back to life or even keep Jenny alive. It's pretty evident what Forrest would prefer having in his life.
    • Advertisement:
    • Why did the Black Panther leader stop his subordinates from intervening in the fight between Forrest and one of Jenny's abusive boyfriends? Did he see the abuse too and believe the man deserved to be beaten up? Or did he see it as a problem between two white men that there was no need to get involved with?
    • The entire world gets this between the book and the movie. The movie obviously features Forrest moving through a world near-identical to ours save for his presence in it, while the book features a Crapsack World that's more fitting to The Simpsons than reality.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: The script had bounced around Hollywood for the better part of a decade, and part of the concession for finally getting it produced was that Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis agreed to take a percentage of gross rather than a straight fee (a common practice if the producers think the movie is risky, so if it does poorly, revenues aren't eaten up by salaries). Reportedly Hanks made $65 million.
  • Advertisement:
  • Award Snub: Despite the film doing excellently at the Academy Awards, both Robin Wright and Sally Field missed out on Supporting Actress nods. Given both made the cut at major precursors and it was a competitive year, it's not too unlikely that voters didn't have a favorite between them and they then cancelled each other out.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley, "All Along The Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix, "Break On Through" by The Doors, "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, to name a few.
    • "Run, Forrest, Run" (the music that plays when Forrest runs for the first time) is still one of the most popular pieces to play during triumphant sections of awards ceremonies, and has been a staple of the Oscars pretty much since the movie came out.
    • Alan Silvestri's entire score (getting him his first Oscar nomination) qualifies. How much so? In spite of the movie's classic-radio friendly song soundtrack, it's Silvestri's "Suite From Forrest Gump" that gets played over the closing credits.
    • Special mention has to go to one of the final tracks "Where Heaven Ends". The melody has such a subtle, yet divine beauty to it you feel like just laying back and think how nothing in life matters but life itself. Yes, a soundtrack can really do that to you, and Silvestri made it possible.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Strangely enough, Forrest Gump himself is this to some people. While some admire his determination and compassion throughout the movie and view him as an inspiration to those with mental problems, others view him as a one-note character with no real character flaws and someone who gets off way too easy with his often thoughtless decisions, lack of mental faculties or no.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The chapters in the book where Gump, a female astronaut and a orangutan get shot into space, crash land in the jungles of New Guinea and get put to work as cotton farmers for a Cannibal Tribe. For four years.
  • "Common Knowledge": One common misconception, even among fans of the movie, is that Jenny dies of AIDS. But it's left deliberately ambiguous what her disease was in the movie; while in the books, it's explicitly stated to be Hepatitis C, and there's nothing to contradict this in the film adaptation.
  • Crazy Is Cool: Lt. Dan. Never mind that he went to Vietnam fully expecting not to return alive, he gets caught in a violent storm and insults God, challenging Him to destroy him. With the completely maniacal laughter he lets out, you know this man is absolutely insane and you can only love him for it.
  • Critical Dissonance: And how! Despite the film being seen as a masterpiece to many people today, it received some jarringly polarizing critical reviews when it was released, some of which were downright scathing. Even more shocking, while it maintains a 71% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score is currently at a whopping 95%.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: While visiting Forrest in New York, Lt. Dan loses control of his wheelchair and starts slip slidin' away down an icy, hilly sidewalk, causing Forrest to have to chase after him.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Lt. Dan is perhaps the most beloved character in the film, for his dynamic character arc and complex friendship with Forrest.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The scene where Forrest Gump retrieves a dropped book for one of the black college students (while remaining oblivious to the controversy that ensues) becomes a bit weird after the fiasco where Gump's actor, Tom Hanks, got a bit of negative publicity regarding an incident where he acted along with a comedian in Blackface in a comedy act.
  • Gratuitous Special Effects: The CGI removal of Lt. Dan's legs or inserting Forrest into live footage serve very practical purposes, but the feather Bookends are examples of this trope.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In the film, Forrest is awarded the Medal of Honor, America'a highest military decoration. 22 years later, Tom Hanks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Lieutenant Dan tells Forrest that the day Forrest works on a shrimp boat is the day he'd be an astronaut. While this is a reference to the book where Forrest does become an astronaut, Gary Sinise and Tom Hanks would star together as astronauts the very next year in Apollo 13.
    • It's also worth noting that during Forrest's and Jenny's wedding, Lt. Dan shows up with artificial legs he says were made from the same alloy they used in the space shuttle. In Apollo 13, Ken Mattingly, played by Sinise, is mentioned to have flown the space shuttle.
    • One of the historical figures Forrest encounters is Governor George Wallace at the University of Alabama. A few years later, Gary Sinise, who played Lt. Dan, starred as Wallace in a TV biopic.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • A lot of people hate Jenny, and not necessarily for bad reasons. But it's still hard not to feel sorry for her when the film showcases her more vulnerable side. Especially considering the fact that she was a victim of sexual abuse at such a young age, which was what likely caused her erratic behavior as an adult.
    • Lt. Dan has a crummy life and a hardass personality, but his friendship with Forrest keeps him sympathetic.
  • Memetic Mutation: The quotes of this movie were able to break even international borders.
    • Mama always said, life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.
    • Run, Forrest, Run!
    • The Long List of shrimp dishes, as well as "And that's about it."
  • Narm: Forrest accidentally inventing the iconic Smiley Face is a standout moment known for breaking the audience's Willing Suspension of Disbelief, for just how ridiculously clean and perfect the "face" pattern ends up appearing.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
  • Periphery Demographic: The movie was made mainly to appeal to people who were young in the 60s, but after its release, grade-school children also started to watch it heavily (mainly because ABC had the broadcasting rights, and would show an edited version of it frequently). It worked because Forrest’s narration is simplistic enough for a kid to follow, and he himself is simple enough that a young viewer can relate to his motives. Meanwhile, parents could watch with their kids and explain the different historical allusions.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Haley Joel Osment's film debut as Forrest Gump, Jr.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Many, such as Gump interacting with dead celebrities, Lt. Dan's stumps...and the ping pong ball!
    • The floating feather that opens and closes the movie. Yeah, you never even realized that was CGI, did ya? note 
  • The Woobie:
    • Lieutenant Dan for a long while. He loses both his legs on the battlefield (and is denied dying in battle — a fate he assumed was his "great destiny"), and ends up as an alcoholic, disillusioned wreck in a wheelchair while Forrest gets all the attention and praise. Only when he and Forrest become successful as shrimping boat company executives does he finally start to become grateful he survived. Not only does he become wealthy, but he finds a wife — and even gets new legs. ("Custom-made titanium alloy.")
    • Jenny. She comes from a poor background with a sexually abusive alcoholic father, attracts mostly abusive boyfriends, starts experimenting with drugs, considers committing suicide at various points in her life and ends up dying from unknown disease (speculated to be AIDS, but later revealed to be Hepatitis C). At least her final years were somewhat happy, as she had a son and Forrest to take care of her.
    • Forrest becomes this when he is at Jenny’s grave telling her how he’s been doing following her death.

Top