On a list of movies that perfectly capture an era (or multiple eras), Forrest Gump ranks among the best. The classic masterpiece has been lauded and scrutinized over the years for various reasons, and with each passing year the hot takes on various plot points increase. During a recent re-watch, I came across one myself that I think is a valid possibility audiences must consider: Forrest Jr. is not Forrest Gump's biological son.
It sounds crazy, but once folks consider the following, it begins to feel like a more subtle part of the movie audiences overlook. Before people jump down to the comments with pitch forks, I'll admit outright that this theory, if true, has little to no bearing on the story. Forrest accepted Forrest Jr. as his son, and therefore, Forrest Jr. is his son. Biologically though, here's some things to consider that suggest these two are not related.
There Is No Explicit Confirmation That Forrest And Jenny Had Sex
In the late stages of the movie, Jenny comes back into Forrest's life to spend some time at his home. The two reconnect after years of tension that finally culminates in a bedroom scene that, allegedly, changes their connection permanently. The two share a passionate kiss, Jenny climbs in his bed, and the implication is that the two had sex.
With that said, there's no explicit confirmation (unless the Bollywood remake makes it more clear) that happened. There's a litany of other things a couple can get into in that circumstance, and sex is only one of them. In fact, Forrest is a virgin to that point in Forrest Gump, so he's largely ignorant of the act required to create a son. Jenny, to be honest, probably knew that, so there would likely be little to no worry on her end of being discovered.
I'm not suggesting there needs to be an additional scene that makes things more clear, but by no means do we know Forrest and Jenny had sex. And even then, we only know they had sex once. We all know once is all it takes, but given the context of the rest of the points, it certainly makes the odds of Forrest being the father much less certain.
The Time Between Forrest Jr.'s Birth And The Reveal
In the context of Forrest Gump, we're to believe that Jenny had her night with Forrest, fled in the morning, and then nine months later had a baby. She then returns an undetermined amount of time later with Forrest Jr. and informs Forrest that the boy is his. Forrest is shocked by the news, but eventually snaps out of it and joins Forrest Jr. for an episode of Sesame Street.
There's quite a gap of time between Forrest Jr.'s birth and Jenny's revelation to Forrest though. Jenny mentions that he's one of the brightest kids in school, which would presumably put him in the kindergarten age range of 5. Jenny spent five years past Forrest Jr.'s birth to reveal him to Forrest, and only really decides he should know his father when she gets sick.
It's safe to say Forrest would've been a part of that child's life at any point in that process, and he would've been thrilled to have Jenny around. Why did she stay away and raise a child alone? Perhaps she wasn't alone and had another relationship with another man. In either case, there had to be something keeping Jenny away for so long, and one would think it wasn't her fear of Forrest's reaction that he had a son.
The Nature Of Jenny's Visit
When Jenny first shows up at Forrest's home, she's looking to leave the hard life she's led to that point behind. Forrest gladly takes her in, but does notice that Jenny seems to be very fatigued throughout the visit. Forrest specifically notes that "She just sleeps, and sleeps like she hasn't slept for days." What happened to Jenny that made her so sleepy?
There are a lot of reasons, one of them being she's in the early stages of pregnancy. Fatigue is a big part of pregnancy, and it's possible Jenny arrived at Forrest's doorstep already pregnant. Perhaps she realized her lifestyle was no place to raise a child, and that there was always that option where she could settle down and have a comfortable life with Forrest. He'd be a great father and she'd never have to worry or want for anything ever again.
After some time there, Jenny gets cold feet because she realizes she could never love Forrest, or maybe feels guilty about the plan she made. Jenny then leaves, perhaps deciding to bear the responsibility for the child on her own. It's only when she realized she's dying that she returned, realizing that her initial plan is now the only way to give her child a good life and ensure his safety.
But Then Why Is He Named Forrest Jr.?
It's hard to push the issue that Forrest Jr. is not Forrest Gump's child when Jenny literally named him after the father. Why would she do that if she felt otherwise? If someone else was the father, wouldn't they think it's a bit weird she named her son after her very famous childhood friend, but seemingly has no relationship with him through a bulk of Forrest Jr.'s life?
My belief is that Jenny diidn't know Forrest Jr.'s real father. Even if she did, Forrest is a significant figure to her because he's the one consistent person in her life that has accepted her time and time again. That had to mean something to her, and while she may never/can never love Forrest the same way that he loves her, that doesn't mean she still doesn't have that love for who he is.
Jenny gets a bad rep in Forrest Gump, and there are many people who think she's an objectively awful person. She's not even really awful for leaving her child with Forrest, even if the implication is she lied to get Forrest to raise the child. She did what was best for her son and gave him a more certain future than whatever she had for him in her other life.
Do you think Forrest Jr. is Forrest Gump's child? Sound off in our poll or in the comments below because we're never getting that sequel to settle this dispute. Also, continue to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest news in movies and television.