I have read the book Forrest Gump and also watched the Forrest Gump movie version. In the movie version at the end of movie, Jenny told Forrest that she was suffering from HIV/AIDS virus then she proposes to him and he accepts but Jenny died at the end of the movie.

But in the novel, Forrest Gump, Jenny reunited with Gump and with their child and she didn't die in that novel.

Can someone explain to me why does the movie's ending differ from the novel?

  • 1
    the book was great,there's no arguing about that.but i wonder why it did not receive the recognition it deserved
    – user6724
    Nov 13, 2013 at 12:28
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    The movie did leave a lot out from the book - a lot of degradation and vulgarity. And instead created a decent Forrest that made his mother proud no matter what he did.
    – user8579
    Mar 15, 2014 at 21:26
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    She never says she has AIDS/HIV in the movie. She says she has a virus...that is it. Could be Hep C...could be anything. We assume it is HIV/AIDS. However, this part of the movie always did bother me because if she did have HIV/AIDS I would think Forrest and their son would have a good chance of having it too. Great movie!
    – user15273
    Oct 16, 2014 at 20:05

2 Answers 2


I found a very interesting article based on the differences between movie and the novel. I'll quote some of them, that should answer your question:

Robert Zemeckis, director of Forrest Gump, chooses not to include several adventures that are present in the book and to change the character’s personality.

This significant changes play an important role in the viewer’s perspective of Forrest. Also he is described as a big, tall, and a really strong person while in the movie the viewer would describe him as an average man.

Jenny, and Forrest’s mother are the only two people that love Forrest the way he is. In the book, however, it seems as if Forrest’s mother doesn’t take him more than just an idiot. “How you gonna have a plan, Forrest?..You is a idiot. How is po idiot gonna have a plan?”(220)

In the movie Robert Zemeckis decides to change that and makes her more confident in her son’s mental skills. However, his mental impairment doesn’t seem to bother Jenny, the love of Forrest’s life, who’s feelings toward Forrest evolve differently in the movie compare to the book. The viewer of Forrest Gump doesn’t know her real feelings and might even think that the main character is the person to whom she runs for a comfort and a place to stay until she is strong enough to run away again. This change certainly changes the viewer’s perspective on Jenny’s personality.

So basically, the director chooses a different ending because he changed the character's personality; and in order to maintain consistency in this, it's not just the ending that has been changed, as you read the book you should know better than me: some scenes were added, some of them were cut off. All these changes have been made to make the movie more touching. So I quote the answer to your question:

However, the adjustments to the main heroes’s characters and the addition of several touching moments change the book into a heart breaking movie.

You can read the whole article here. Enjoy.

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    I haven't read the book, but it does sound as if Jenny is different from your description. I always felt she thought she was better than Forrest and didn't go to him until she pretty much had no other options. And then she ran away from him again. I kinda didn't like her for that. Oct 16, 2014 at 20:35
  • The Jenny from the book is a whole different person. And likewise with most, if not all, characters of the story.
    – nilon
    Sep 14, 2018 at 21:04

Very few books are the same as the movie. Most receive a rewrite from an unrelated writer with creative license brought in to do the screen play. Some like Holes or Perks of Being a Wallflower has had their screenplay written by the authors themselves so their story line does not change as much.

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