Forrest Gump directed by Robert Zemeckis is a significant movie that combines drama, tragic, comedic, and romantic elements. In the centre of attention is, no doubt, Forrest Gump, but he is surrounded by other characters. The characters of the movie go through different aspects of life. All these aspects have a certain impact on their destinies, which can be partially explained by behavioral, neurobiological, cognitive, and sociocultural psychological perspectives.
Sociocultural psychological theory can be applicable to many fields of human life. Its influence is reflected in people’s emotional, psychological, mental and spiritual well-being (Sanderson, 2010). Therefore, the way Forrest communicated with other people and understood them can be explained by the above-mentioned theory. Forrest Gump was considered an imbecile, a person with mental retardation. His IQ was a little bit lower than required, so that the principal of the public school objected to Forrest studying there, saying that the boy was special. However, Forrest`s mother loved her son very much and her words had a great impact on the future of the boy. She told him that he was like any other person. The value of mother`s words were of great importance. He always recollected and followed them in the course of life (Finerman & Zemeckis, 1994).
According to neurobiological psychological approach, a person`s behavior is affected bythe functioning of neurons. Therefore, a biological part influences maladaptive human behavior. In case of anti-social personality, mental disorder affects the way an individual thinks, perceives external information, and relates to other people in society (Gray & Bjorklund, 2014). Considering the case of Forrest Gump, it is possible to say that he did not have complete understanding of the concepts of right and wrong and he was not very precise in the sphere of emotions, since neural functioning affects the areas of brain that are responsible for emotions and moral well-being.
Forrest was physically strong and he succeeded in sports and running. He ran without any specific reason or destination, but what he liked was freedom. There was always what to do and where to run. When Forrest`s mother was dying because of illness, maybe he could not understand and explain fully what she felt and what disease she had, but he understood that he was going to lose somebody precious in his life. In the army, he was the first and the best to assemble and disassemble the gun, because he simply executed the order as required, not thinking much for what reason and how. In addition, Forrest told Jenny that he was going to Vietnam, which was very far from his home (Finerman & Zemeckis, 1994). He did not mention that it was very dangerous, that it was a real war because he did not realize that in his mind. Forrest Gump as a character may seem quite strange, but if to think deeply, he symbolizes kindness and childish attitude to life. This is what actually mankind lacks in life. Sometimes, people do not have to take things too complicated, but accept them as they are - the way Forrest Gump did. That is one of the main film’s messages delivered to the audience.
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According to behaviorism, people are controlled by the environment, in which they are brought up, responding to the environmental impulses. Cognitive psychology studies memory,language processing,perception, attention, problem-solving, and thinking (Gray & Bjorklund, 2014). Unlike behaviorism, cognitive perspective puts emphasis on the internal processes that create visible behavior of people. A person responds to the external environmental stimuli, showing his behavior. Thought processes control behavior, which is opposite to neurobiological psychological approach.
Many people took Forrest for an idiot, looking at him from another point of view, one can see that his behavior, deeds, achievements and attitude to people significantly disproved that perception. When people asked if he was stupid, he answered the way his mother had always said: “Stupid is as stupid does” (Finerman & Zemeckis, 1994). He did not behave himself as stupid, as his actions proved the opposite. Gump seemed not to hear people saying and intending something bad. He noticed only good deeds and motives and always did what was required. Without any intentions, he became the witness of the very important events of the American history and even had luck to be the part of them. Gump received awards from several US presidents and helped to expose the notorious political scandal. He was extremely loyal to his dear people. After learning that his mother was sick, Forrest jumped into the open ocean, not waiting for some help. After returning from Vietnam, he devotedly helped his companions to survive. He was eager to rescue his friend Bubba. After Bubba`s death, Forrest fulfilled his friend’s dream: bought a ship and founded a shrimp company (Finerman & Zemeckis, 1994).
Jenny was always influenced by social movements. Remembering her unhappy childhood, she returned home after many years and threw stones at her house, showing anger and broken dreams. Lieutenant Den began a new life after Forrest had saved his life. Forrest thought that Den did not want to be an invalid as much as Forrest did not want to be idiot. Nevertheless, Gump helped him to view and enjoy life from a different perspective, even with the artificial legs. Jenny and Gump experienced first mutual friendship, then love, and finally married life. Their views and backgrounds seemed to be very different. Jenny loved Forrest but she realized she was not worthy of him, who was kind and devoted to her, ready to abandon everything in order to help Jenny and be with her. That is the reason why they lived separately, just accidentally met in different places, but they always protected each other in their hearts. Since her unhappy childhood, Jenny dreamt of becoming a little bird and flying away from the parental nest. Somehow, her dream became true: she was a singer, but she sang naked in the strip-bar, surrounded by the ill-mannered men.