Why do some people dislike Forrest Gump so much?

I love Forrest Gump but I can understand why some people don’t think it deserved a the awards it got. However, I don’t understand why some people just say it is plain bad and not in a good way. Every time I ask someone that hates it why, I get a different answer ranging from ‘It gives stupid people hope that they don’t deserve’ to ‘I couldn’t listen to Tom Hanks talk that way for very long’. I haven’t gotten very much insight into the mind of a detractor so that is what I am asking you.

Forrest Gump is based on a book by the same name but bears little resemblance to it. Most of it is an original movie. I thought it was obvious that it is just the story of American history projected onto a slow-minded character who stumbles through the whole thing while influencing history but mainly just being the backdrop for it. It has it all from drama, action, comedy and tragic romance. It is unique and well-written and I don’t think it anyone should find it boring.

What problem do some people have with this movie?

It shows the 60’s free love, drug & protest culture as leading to narcissism, disease & death, and hard work, forgiveness, faith in God & responsible living as leading to a rich full life.

I rabidly trash-talked it for years, because it was overrepresented at the 1996 Oscars, notably undeservedly taking the best picture award from the more worthy Pulp Fiction.

There was a lot of talk at the time of Gump being a “moral” film, while Pulp Fiction was “amoral.” Utter bullshit After getting a lot of distance from that, I can concede that the movie wasn’t the total steaming pile that I thought it was - it certainly has its merits. Some real technical triumphs, particularly.

It still fairly reeks of saccharine, though - and its philosophy is contrived to appeal to the sort of people who find the self-help aisle at Chapters to be full of profundity.

Joe Bob Briggs can speak for me on this one


Well, I would rather eat at Jack Rabbit Slim’s than Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. But I’ve got nothing against the movie.

And here we have, once again, someone who watched the movie with apparently both eyes on their popcorn:

I can’t believe a person with an IQ higher than Gump himself could watch the movie and come away with this message.

Let me ask a straightforward question; how is Forrest Gump HAPPY? His life isn’t a happy one at all… Jesus, how can you pay attention to the movie and come away with the idea he’s happy, much LESS happy because he’s slow? The love of his life is a flake who breaks his heart repeatedly. When he finally wins her heart, she dies, a loss he finds almost impossible to bear, but he has to soldier on because he’s now responsible for his son. His best friend dies in his arms. He has few other friends, really, except an irascible jerk. He finds it difficult to understand his purpose in the world, his place, and it clearly troubles him. When we leave Forrest, he’s not happy of dancing in victory; he is simply sitting, having just sent his son to school, living an ordinary life.

Forrest Gump is, of course, wildly successful in some ways, especially in finance, but it doesn’t bring him happiness. For all the money that’s pouring in from his seafood empire and investments, what he really wants is to have his wife back, and believe me, I know - I lost mine to her own idiocy rather than death, but I can tell you that when Forrest cries over his wife’s grave, he’d give every penny back he had to get her back.

The story of Forrest (and Jenny, and Dan, and Bubba, and Mrs. Gump) is nothing more than an allegory for the story of America post-WWII. The generation before the war provides moral support but is gone. The other characters symbolize America’s strengths - Forrest is honestly, virtue and hard work; Dan is honor and bravery and sacrifice; Jenny is adventure and risk. There’s no good or bad there, there’s just what America is, and how those things come together and sometimes work and sometimes don’t.

To get out of it that Forrest is happy because he’s a retard is like getting out of “The Godfather” that Michael is successful because he’s Italian. Forrest isn’t happy… he’s content at the end, but clearly not overjoyed. He loves his son, but he misses his wife and he’s still not quite sure why God put him on the earth (though it’s hinted that his purpose is now to care for his boy.) He is, in other words, a lot like America; rich, strong, but not wholly contented with its situation, mourning its losses, and wondering how to pass what it has on to the next generation.

There are bound to be people who hate any movie, and Forrest Gump is no exception.

But if you’re looking for the main reason that some people hate the movie so passionately and loudly, it’s mainly because it won the Oscar over two movies much beloved by vocal fanboys: ***Pulp Fiction ***and ***Shawshank Redemption.

If*** Forrest Gump*** had won the Oscar a year earlier or later, its detractors still wouldn’t like it, but it wouldn’t make them so angry.

Thank you for that very lucid and insightful defense of the movie.

I just found it boring. And at the time I didn’t much care for the presentation that material success doesn’t require a lick of brains but merely a combination of blind luck and athletic excellence. I’d probably see more nuance in that now but it is still a boring movie.

And similarly, the way that it is aggravating that Ayla invents everything from blowjobs to ICBM’s in Jean Auel’s books, I found putting Gump in the middle of every cultural event over 20 years too neat and trite.

Plus, it spawned the reality of people going to walking around the fantastic local, independent seafood restaurants in places like San Francisco and Monterey California to eat at a chain restaurant. No, it isn’t fair to hold this against the movie itself but life isn’t fair.

But yeah, it took the entire world falling at its feet over it’s supposed awesomeness to make me actively hate it. Seeing something unjustly praised does create a knee jerk reaction to just go equally far in the opposite direction. This is pretty much the same reason I hate Chicago.

A year earlier, it would have been up against Schindler’s List. Good luck with that one!

It was simply irritating schmaltz that should never have been as big as it was. Its messages were simplistic and bludgeoned in. It was like a moral tale made by Ned Flanders.

All of Forrest’s biggest successes were down to dumb luck, not his hard work - which is weird, because they showed that he could work really hard, just that it was irrelevant to his success.

Hanks was also going through a period where he played every character as a innocent little boy with learning disabilities; other than slowing down his voice a bit here, his acting was no different to in Big or even in Philadelphia, where it really grated. So, for me, he was irritating on a cumulative level.

Someone should have told Forrest’s Mum that boxes of chocolates usually have descriptions of the chocolates somewhere on the box. I mean, maybe it’s different in the US and you don’t have those, but we do in the UK, and that line was everywhere for ages.

There were other things that annoyed me about the film at the time, but it’s been a long time since I watched it and I don’t exactly plan to watch it again.

Sharp analysis.

I was pretty young when Gump came out and I loved it. Many years later when I started hearing people trashing it I always defended it. Then maybe a year or so ago I watched it again and realized that it just wasn’t as great as I thought it was. I didn’t like the shoehorning in of all the cultural references, and all the product placement irritated me too.

That being said, people saying they hate it because of the message still blows my eyes out the back of my head. You can get pretty much any message you want from any work of fiction, save overwhelmingly blatant stuff that just beats you over the head with a message that you’re already aware of before you start, like Ayn Rand’s novels.

I’ve always just kind of taken FG as a tribute piece to the baby boom generation. I think RickJay really hit how I feel with “There’s no good or bad there, there’s just what America is, and how those things come together and sometimes work and sometimes don’t.”


Eh, that’s pretty much why I hate The Incredibles. At least you admit it.

This is why, no plot. Where was he going next? Who cares. It’s just a long boring set of special effect scenes that were not building to any suspense, conflict or climax.


I dislike having someone spend 144 minutes telling me what REAL LIFE is like (by which I am referring to the producers of the movie, not the character). I just happen to actually live in the real world, thank you.

Doing so at the same time as then having the world’s most contrived life story just seems eye rolling.

This film is a complete definition of “cop out”. It is horrendous. Plot isn’t important when you can CGI a dead president to shake hands with an Oscar winner.

I do not care that it beat Pulp Fiction of Shawshank. I am still shocked it was nominated in the first place. And I don’t care if you like Forrest (the character) or not. What makes it horrendous is the way it blazes through American history as if it’s unimportant. Vietnam looked like Disneyland. Hippie protests end in hugs. Who cares about US History? Forest doesn’t because he’s too dumb to remember it or even realize his dream girl is a hippie mess and damaged goods.

It also promotes that the dumber you are in this country, the luckier and more successful you will be. Listen to everyone’s bullshit and who knows, you may end up owning early Apple Computer stock or meeting a president, owning a large house and you still get a kid. Enjoy being retarded! Everything is fair is the good ol’ USA! Excuse me while I grind my teeth.

I have tried watching the movie several times.

First, Gump’s mother refuses to admit that her son is not mentally capable of keeping up with the rest of his class, and won’t let him be placed in his proper class, where he could actually learn something. Second, I don’t find the mentally challenged to be more worthy of admiration than others. Third, I hate pop references. Fourth, I don’t like special effects unless they are actually necessary to the story. Fifth, I can’t stand Tom Hanks, especially in his “innocent” mode.

If I was capable of watching more of the movie, I’d probably find other things to hate about it. But the movie simply didn’t engage me for more than a few minutes. My eyes always roll out of my head when his braces fall off.

It was a lot like two other Oscar winners, Cavalcade and The Best Years of Our Lives, aimed at an audience who’d lived through a certain portion of history.

Compare Forrest Gump to the best of the three, The Best Years of Our Lives. Which one shows the conflicts faced with more credibly? Which one has more three-dimensional characters?

Of course, if all you want is a romp through history, where the audience laughs at jokes not because the jokes are funny but because they’ve been set up for self-congratulatory “ah-ha: it’s funny because I get it” moments; and the sad parts are sad not because we identify with the characters but because the filmakers go after our tear ducts with needle-nose plyers, then Forrest Gump is a great movie.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. It will become a part of you.

One positive spin on the movie could be this. Gumps hard work, loyalty, bravery, friendliness, honesty, desire to be helpful, lack of selfishness (and probably a few other positive atributes) were a significant benifit to OTHERS, often life changing and in a few instances society changing.

I don’t see anything particularly controversial or grating about that concept.

Though perhaps, Gump was to stupid to think any other way. In which case maybe the message is that the smarter of us should know better and choose to behave that way too.

And that’s pretty much why I didn’t like it.

I didn’t like Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” either … .

I thought it was pure high-brow for the low-brows schlock. The corny fake southern accents are embarassing, the acting is terrible and the plot is four kinds of cheese.