Forrest Gump: theological text in a postmodern context
Wells, Chris. Forrest Gump, Redeemer Lite: theological text in a postmodern context. Winnipeg, 2004.
As a Christian minister I have been trained in interpretation of the biblical text. This current interpretive exercise goes beyond the biblical text, however, to include contemporary artistic expression. The modern North American cultural setting is often characterized as becoming increasingly secularized, but when one considers the creative expressions of the time it is clear that North Americans are still grappling with the large questions of religious meaning. Movies are the unique artistic contribution of the modern era and along with TV are the primary theatre for contemporary story telling, self-understanding and quests for meaning. The movie Forrest Gump has been chosen because it is a movie that, in a postmodern fashion, plays with reality and draws from Christian theological and Western mythological themes. Gump is a Christ-like figure who re-interprets the events of the last few decades of the twentieth century in the United States of America. His memory and influence of events are blatant subjective interpretations, even to the point of being grafted into actual newsreel recordings. The movie does not claim to be a Christian movie, but it clearly draws from the Christian religious tradition of the majority of its U.S. audience.