Ah, Forrest Gump. This 1994 film, starring the ever-lovable Tom Hanks, has transcended into being an iconic movie, with a place in pop culture that’s widely respected. It tells the story of Forrest, a man with a mental disability who does amazing things: opens up a chain of shrimp shops, runs across the US for three and a half years, and other amazing feats.
But one constant throughout his whole journey—indeed, since his youth—is Jenny. Although they don’t get together until closer to the end of the film, Jenny and Forrest care for each other deeply. Jenny has suffered horribly at the hands of others, but Forrest is there for her, telling her that he loves her. Eventually, she gives birth to his child, without him knowing; and when he finds out, they start raising Forrest, Jr. together.
This is the kind of amazing romance we all hope to have for ourselves. Maybe, for many of us, it’s the kind of relationship we do have—the kind where you always know that your partner will always be there with you, supporting you, through all of life’s journeys. Indeed, there’s just something terrifically wonderful about how deeply they care for each other.
This kind of love only intensifies as they grow older. Eventually, Jenny has Forrest’s child out of wedlock, but she doesn’t tell him. When he does find out, however, he’s not angry; instead, he’s happy that he has a son, Forrest, Jr. He and Jenny raise him together…until the inevitable happens, and Jenny passes away from a serious illness. Forrest continues to raise the boy on his own, and the film ends with Forrest, Jr. going off to his first day of school.
Forrest could have turned away and went back to his own life; he had no obligation to stay and care for a child he’d known only comparatively recently. But the fact that he does says a lot about his character, and about his love, both for Jenny and Forrest, Jr. He loves them both so much, and he wants to stay with his son, and be with him, for both the good times and the bad. He could just as easily leave the boy with another relative, but he chooses to say, even though he didn’t even know he existed until recently.
Jenny also shows how much love she has for Forrest. Throughout his amazing feats, they stay friends, and they still continue to see each other on occasion, even when things are going tough. And, after Jenny becomes pregnant, she, too, could find a pair of adoptive parents for Forrest, Jr.—this isn’t where she expected herself to be, after all—but she doesn’t. She cares for him so much that she decides to raise him all by herself, even though his own father doesn’t know he exists.
At the end of the day, Forrest Gump is a movie that’s not only about doing spectacular things, but also about caring for each other deeply, and supporting each other even through the toughest of times—and that, surely, is a message we could all learn from. Go, Forrest, go!