Bible - Worldviews in Movies: Questions on Movies, Forrest Gump
1. The Existentialist Worldview is that life is meaningless, governed by chance. Persons who live by
existentialism feel they are at the mercy of what life brings them and that they try to make the
best of whatever comes their way. In the movie Forrest Gump, how does the feather at the
start of the film and the end of the film act as a metaphor for the life of Forrest Gump as
presented? Why the feather? What is its significance?
Forrest says, “ I don’t know if mama was right or if Lt. Dan . I don’t know if we each have a
destiny or if we are all just floating around accidental like on a breeze. But I…I think maybe its
both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”
The feather is a metaphor for Forrest’s life. Forrest is floating through life like a feather on
unpredictable wind currents, with twists and turns that can’t be predicted. Like book ends, the
feather is at the start of what we see of Forrest’s life and also at the end of what we see of his
life, something that summarizes how the screenwriter sees our lives – as a series of
unpredictable chance events.
2. One of the elements that unites the film is Forrest Gump’s running. Forrest runs to get away
from bullies, he runs into a football field and a career as a football player, he runs in Vietnam
when his battalion is bombed, he runs when he is stressed. Is there a deeper significance to his
running?
Forrest runs whenever he is stressed or encounters tragedies in his life. He is good at it and it
keeps him from dwelling on problems and tragedies. Forrest can control his running but can’t
control what happens to him. Perhaps the screenwriter is saying that a person should take
control of what they can control, to develop good and honest relationships but not to overthink
and stress out over the difficulties that come our way which no person can make any sense of.
Controlling what you can, helps you to get through the tragedies of life. Forrest takes
responsibility for himself, not for things that are out of his control.
3. What is the significance of Forrest Gump’s handicap in the film?
The film would not work if Forrest was a normal person. How more strongly could you show
how we humans are at the mercy of life than to take an innocent handicapped person and show
how people try to use and abuse him? Forrest is like a child confronting what life sends his way.
But Forrest is innocent, he is not self-centred, he makes no long range plans. We want him to
succeed because we want what’s best for such a decent person and when he does succeed –
mostly through chance - we cheer our hero (like cheering for ourselves against a world filled
with tragedy). Forrest stands for the idea that we all can overcome the pains of life by being
honest and true to ourselves and with others.
4. Solomon wrote, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all
is vanity and striving after wind...I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the
battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise, nor wealth to the discerning, nor
favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all. (Eccles 1:14;9:11) After much
Bible - Worldviews in Movies: Questions on Movies, Forrest Gump
discussion of the ways in which life is meaningless, Solomon concluded, “Fear God and keep his
commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into
judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” How does a Christian
respond to the sometime apparent meaninglessness or accidental character of the world?
God has promised to be with us in all situations, he has a plan beyond what we see and
experience here on earth. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love Him.” Romans 8:38 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither
angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers … will be able to
separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Beyond the tragedies of this
earth, we are people of the resurrection and will be received after our deaths by our Saviour
who has gone to prepare a place for us.