|The Many Phases of Jenny
“Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far, far away from here” (Robin Wright). In Forrest Gump, Robin Wright plays an extremely confused character in Jenny Curran. She spends the entire movie trying to find herself, while successful Forrest, Tom Hanks, makes countless, unsuccessful attempts to help her through her journeys. Rather than join Forrest in his glory, Jenny runs away from him. She has thoughts of suicide and often mixes herself in with the wrong crowd.
As a young girl, Jenny was raised by her abusive dad. She found a friend in Forrest, and they continued to be friends throughout high school. Jenny would have Forrest spend a lot of time with her because she didn’t want to be alone. Jenny and Forrest were “like peas and carrots” (Tom Hanks). When they were little, Jenny taught Forrest how to read, and in return Forrest shared with her his inadvertent carefree attitude.
When they went off to college, Jenny went to an all girls’ college while Forrest went on to play football. This was the beginning of Forrest’s success, and Jenny’s poor decisions. While Forrest was busy becoming an All-American football star and meeting the President, Jenny was at college messing around with boys and beginning to get in trouble. Forrest rescued Jenny from her near mistake of being with a guy she barely knew, but Jenny could not bring herself to get close to Forrest even though it was obvious that he cared for her.
Jenny’s next incident came while Forrest was about to leave and become a Vietnam War hero. She wanted to become a famous singer, but ended up singing songs, naked, at a strip club. Forrest found out about this and rescued her again. Once again Jenny was somewhat ungrateful and did not allow herself to get close to Forrest. This was also the first time in the movie that Jenny made a reference to committing suicide. She asked Forrest if he thought she could fly off the bridge. In his inadvertent way, Forrest again helped Jenny make a right decision. However, she took off again, hitchhiking her way to who knows where, leaving the one person who cared about her behind.
The next time Jenny was seen in the movie, Forrest was receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor for his war efforts in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Jenny had been spending time with “hippies” at an anti-war protest. Forrest tried to get Jenny out of trouble with these people, but she again refused and left Forrest alone.
Forrest went through a somewhat long period in his life where he did not see Jenny. The next time we saw her in the movie was on New Year’s Eve 1972. She was into drugs, and once again with the wrong crowd. Forrest was unable to help her this time because he was in Times Square celebrating alone. Again, Jenny had a thought of suicide, but we saw a change in her when she decided, on her own, not to do it.
The rest of the movie was spent on an up and down rollercoaster for Jenny and Forrest. They finally got together the way Forrest had wanted, and just as we thought they were going to be together forever, Jenny ran away again. This left Forrest devastated. Once again we saw Jenny was confused and running from her true happiness.
By the end of the movie, Jenny finally found herself. After Forrest spent “3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours” running, he received a letter from Jenny that said she wanted to see him (Tom Hanks). It turns out that through all of their ups and downs, Jenny and Forrest had a little boy named Forrest. Here we see happiness in Forrest, and a completely different side, a more mature side, of Jenny.
It took Jenny a very long time to decide to settle down. She battled an abusive dad, dead-beat jobs, drugs, and thoughts of suicide. When Jenny found out she was ill, she called Forrest, and decided to actually settle down and marry him. This left viewers wondering, however, if Jenny hadn’t gotten sick, would she have left Forrest again just like every other time before?