Forrest Gump – Film Analysis

When we watch movies and or tv shows, we can’t help but notice to point out what kind of form of communication takes place. The first movie to come to my mind of what I have learned in this course when it comes to communication is chapter 2 covering of “Perception” is “Forrest Gump”. In the movie, a good example of Self-Esteem in chapter 2 is when Forrest is sitting on the bus bench talking to a man about his time when he comes back from Vietnam while serving in the Army. He explained traveling around the country visiting wounded veterans and teaching them to play ping pong which then led to him performing on the all-american Ping-Pong team because he was so good.

Forrest was so confident in himself that all he said was that he just wanted to play ping pong that he became a national celebrity when he got home and now he now thinks highly of himself and proud of his accomplishments. Forrest showed great self-esteem which the book defines it as “the judgments and evaluations we make about our self-concept. While self-concept is a broad description of the self, self-esteem is a more specifically an evaluation of the self” (Byrne, 1996)(p. 89). Also in chapter 2, the book talks about self-esteem about, “Generally, some people are more likely to evaluate themselves positively while others are more likely to evaluate themselves negatively (Brockner, 1988)(p. 89). In the film, while Forrest is talking about his success in shrimping on his boat with his first mate (Lt. Dan) saying he “has more money than Davey Crocket. ” The man he is telling the story to, claims he does not believe Forrest is the owner of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, then laughs and walks away.

Also in chapter 2 the book talks about first impressions, mentioned in the chapter, “Studies show that people are generally able to predict how another person will behave toward them based on an initial interaction. People’s accuracy and ability to predict interaction based on first impressions vary, but people with high accuracy are typically socially skilled and popular and have less loneliness, anxiety, and depression; more satisfying relationships; and more senior positions and higher salaries” (Hargie, 2011)(p. 67). Where in the movie, Forrest first meets the bus driver on his first day of school and does not get on. The bus driver confronts Forrest if he is “coming along?” Forrest responds that his mother told him not to take rides from strangers.

The bus driver told him that this is the bus for school. Forrest pauses then introduces himself then the bus driver introduces herself as Dorothy Harris and then they both smile and agree that they are not strangers anymore then Forrest climbs aboard. Forrest has a first impression that the bus to school was scary as everyone on it was strangers then Forrest gets to know the bus driver where he meets a girl named Jenny after numerous students on the bus driver strangely look Forrest and deny him to sit next to them. Forrest makes a first impression by accepting Jenny’s invitation to sit next to him then they get to know each other after she brings up his braces on his legs where Forrest has no hesitation to explain his story of why he needs to wear them. Forrest and Jenny then later talk and connected the entire way to school. Jenny then knew that she could easily be friends with Forrest based on their first impression of each other after he opened up to her.

In chapter 7 of the textbook, it covers communication in relationships where the relationship between Forrest and Jenny in the movie is mostly seen throughout. Jenny and Forrest’s relationship is described as a “roller coaster” relationship with its ups and downs. In the chapter it reads “To better understand love, we can make a distinction between passionate love and companionate love (Hendrick & Hendrick, 2000)(page 353). Passionate love ​ defined in the book as “entails an emotionally charged​ engagement between two people that can be both exhilarating and painful. ” Jenny and Forrest started their relationship right through when they were going into highschool in the movie then Forrest went on to college at the University of Alabama to play football while Jenny went to an “all girls school” where they had to put their relationship to the test while having a long distant relationship, where the painful part of the relationship would come in.

Forrest eventually visited her where he caught Jenny with another guy, Forrest fought the guy and then Jenny snuck Forrest into her dorm where he became intimate with her where they share “companionate love” which the book describes as, “ affection felt between two people whose lives are interdependent. (page 353)” Forrest and Jenny had 2 different lives in the movie but made their love for each other passionate when they were together even though they were apart most of the movie as Forrest went to war and wrote to Jenny constantly every day but sadly got nothing back because of Jenny moving away from her original address. Forrest really was put through a lot while he was thinking of Jenny all the time where more of the relationship goes through a “painful” phase. Jenny is shown doing drugs and getting involved with the wrong people while Forrest is away at sea fishing for shrimp to earn money.

The main form of communication throughout the movie Forrest Gump is Interpersonal Communication, which the book describes as, “the process of exchanging messages between people whose lives mutually influence one another in unique ways in relation to social and cultural norms”(p. 278). [B10] This form of communication highlights the fact which involves two or more people who are interdependent to some degree and who build a unique bond based on the larger social and cultural contexts to which they belong. And what better way than to describe the relationship between Forrest and Jenny.

Forrest does everything he can to be with her as he sees the future with no other than her, while Jenny is always running away and building walls over him. She has such a dark past of bad choices and decisions that she thinks Forrest is too good for her while he has such an accomplished past compared to her. But in the end after Forrest tells strangers about his journey in life, Forrest meets Jenny in person after writing him a letter and shares news that she has a son, then shocks him that he is the father, Jenny realizes that she has no where else to go and wants to marry Forrest so he can raise her son whom she names “Forrest” then sadly ends up dying with an illness. Forrest and his son move back to his home in Greenbow, Alabama then the rest of history. Chapter 6 does a great job relating to the relationship of Jenny and Forrest with cultural aspects of interpersonal communication.

We can learn a lot from movies and television shows when it comes to “what we can learn and take away from it. ” Never have I took the time to stop and think about what Jenny put Forrest through for competing for Jenny’s love while she was avoiding her love life where chapter 6 goes over “avoiding and competing” in interpersonal communication. A good word to use of what happens in the end of the movie is “Compromise” which the book highlights as ,”Compromise may also be good when both parties have equal power or when other resolution strategies have not worked” (Macintosh & Stevens, 2008). Jenny realizes that she cannot raise her son on her own as she got older and she has gone too long running away where she has to reach out to Forrest and share the news that Forrest is the father and then start a family together.

10 October 2020
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