Forrest Gump

Movie: Directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Inciting Event: Forrest’s main goal throughout (however sublimated) is to be with his best friend and true love Jenny. The first brush with the main obstacle to this goal (the main conflict) arrives when the plot skips ahead from their blissful (to Forrest) childhood to their graduation from high school, which prompts his first separation from Jenny, who goes to an all girls college. In truth, the true Inciting Event is simply Jenny’s having grown up and outgrown Forrest’s childlike love, but the event that symbolizes and cements this is their departure from high school to college.

First Plot Point: After graduating college, Forrest volunteers for the Army. On the eve of his being sent to Vietnam (a literal departure from the Normal World), a suicidal Jenny tells him to never see her again, saying he doesn’t “know what love is.” This full on launches the main conflict—Forrest’s difficulty in being with Jenny.

First Pinch Point: Forrest is wounded in Vietnam while rescuing his platoon, including Lt. Dan. But his best friend Bubba is killed. While in the hospital, Forrest discovers all the letters he had written Jenny have been returned with her address marked unknown.

Midpoint: After being sent home and awarded the Medal of Honor, Forrest sees Jenny at a peace rally in Washington, DC. Although she once again leaves with her abusive boyfriend (after Forrest beats him up), she admits in a Moment of Truth that she “will always be your girl, Forrest.”

Second Pinch Point: After a dispiriting New Year’s Eve with a crippled Lt. Dan, Forrest’s life is upended when he is discharged from the Army—allowing him to finally fulfill his promise to Bubba of buying a shrimping boat.

Third Plot Point: After the victory of making a fortune with his shrimping empire, Forrest learns his mother is dying of cancer and returns to Alabama to say goodbye. He drifts for a while, lonely for his mother and especially for Jenny.

Climax: For the first time ever, Jenny invites Forrest to come to her. When he does, he learns they had a son together several years ago, that she’s dying, and that she wants to marry him. The throughline of this generally episodic plot has always been Forrest’s devotion to Jenny. Finally, in the Climax the relationship comes to a head.

Climactic Moment: Jenny dies, ending the main conflict.

Resolution: Forrest raises their son Forrest, Jr.

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