Without giving away the whole story line, I would like to make a few comments about how this one movie seems to examine one of the deepest questions in life. Does heredity or environment determine our fate in life?
Fatalistic religious legalists are people who believe they, and a few others like them, are hereditarily and forcefully chosen by the hand of God to succeed in life, while others are hereditarily and divinely earmarked for failure.
Fatalistic worldly radicals are people who believe all people are perfectible if only their environment was improved, controlled and perfected by the enlightened radicals themselves.
These two extremist groups have been debating the heredity vs. environment question since the beginning of time.
The movie "Forrest Gump" displays a third theory or factor of influence in the lives of human beings. That third factor is metaphysical freedom or what most of us laymen know as free will. What seems to prevail in this movie and in life itself is that you have the freedom to overcome all the obstacles that your birth and environment might place in your way.
Forrest Gump, with his IQ of 75, exemplifies this exercise of will from within. Doing the right thing is not out of our hands, as both legalists and radicals "actually" contend, based upon their own fatalistic views of life.
Forrest Gump, his childhood sweetheart Jenny, and Lieutenant Dan combine in action and dialogue to show the dynamics of human potential due to the blessed gift of free will afforded to all of us. To miss this major theme in the movie is like being stuck in the coffee shop at the airport eating doughnuts while your airplane lifts off without you.
A word to you legalists: If you take your children to the movie with you, you may want to send them to the popcorn stand during the movie's three limited scenes about sex. Especially if you prefer they learn about sex from their peers when you're not around.
True freedom is not the freedom to do whatever one wants to do in life; rather it is the freedom to do what one ought to do in life. "Forrest Gump" will give you and your family a lot to think about. "Forrest Gump" may not be "a smart man, but he knows what love is".
Watch the movie!
---Kenneth J. Wolf #36 (10/08/94)
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