So I Can Fly Far Away: Why You Were Wrong About Jenny From Forrest Gump

jenny So I Can Fly Far Away: Why You Were Wrong About Jenny From Forrest Gump

It started with a Reddit post.

Alright, let’s go back a bit – technically it really began in 1986 with a novel by Winston Groom – but the point remains. If you google “Jenny from Forrest Gump”, one of the top results is titled “Worst Character Ever.” It sets the tone for a barrage of hits that can be summarised as just about that; Jenny is a bitch, don’t you know that?

It seems to be a popular view, and maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise; the film’s protagonist is Forrest, after all. Kind, sweet, vulnerable, and given the run around by her more than once (there’s not getting away from that). His emotional turmoil is tied up in Jenny, and her push-pull relationship with him forms much of the film’s backbone. It’s an undeniable fact that Jenny isn’t always kind to Forrest, and she hurts him more than once.

So, why isn’t Jenny actually the Worst Character Ever?

It can be tempting – and often the default – to stubbornly refuse to see a film from more than one perspective. The protagonist is the protagonist precisely because it’s their perspective we’re watching, and mainstream movies don’t always ask us to switch it up and look at the world upside down. But Forrest Gump is one of those rarer-than-we’d-like creatures, a box office success with a hundred onion layers to peel away – and the most important of those onion layers is Jenny.

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