When we sit down to watch a movie, we wait for one thing: the ending. The climax of the movie is the most essential thing for the audiences. Like every relationship needs closure, the symbiotic connection between the audience and the movie also needs one. But often it is the case, that people require a happy ending, where the idyllic status quo is restored after a journey of complete obliteration. At times, they don’t know what they want, but rather focus on what they need. A director’s job, therefore, is to keep a check on their needs, and give them what they actually want. A happy ending at times defeats the script, the excruciating pains the autuers go to, to create a not so happy ending. We decided to list some movies and tell you why the endings, though you hate, actually fit perfectly. Spoilers Ahead!
10. Flight (2012)
The Ending: With victory in sights, and an exoneration all but confirmed, guilt overcomes Whip Whittaker admits to being inebriated that fateful day, and goes to jail.
Throughout the movie, if there was one thing that Whip tried to convince everyone of, was his innocence. And in reality, he was innocent. The plane crashed, or was prevented from, due to failure in the left engine. It was a mechanical fault. But his besotted state on that day consumed his life’s love. The death of Katrina Marquez took a heavy toll on Whip, who became embroiled in a tumultuous chain of emotional turmoil. With no possible reprieve in sight, a guilt ridden Whip admits to the crime. Two things happened: he went to jail, and his drinking problem subsided. And that last scene, when his son came in to take his interview, he became a man again for him. The respect that he had lost due to alcoholism, was recovered, and he became a father again.
9. Begin Again (2013)
The Ending: Gretta realizes his love for Dan, and wastes no time in locating him and deciding to confess. As she is about to, she sees Dan reuniting with his estranged wife Miriam. Gretta retracts from her plan, and chooses Dan’s happiness over her’s.
‘Begin Again’ was a grossly under rated film. Probably one of the most realistic and enjoyable musicals of recent times (Chazelle look away), it had a perfect ending. Even though Gretta’s love for Dan was genuine, and in fact, because it was, she chose for Dan to be happy, with the one thing he wanted the most: his wife. During the course of the film, we are shown numerous times Dan mentioning his estranged wife to Gretta. Whether it be a photo, an emotional prom story, or a bizarre anecdote, he couldn’t hide his regret and love for Miriam. Therefore, the end, which saw him reunite with Miriam, was a perfect culmination to Dan’s metamorphosis from a careless and irresponsible individual, to a doting father, and a loving husband.
8. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The Ending: Ben is awakened by the posse’s gunfire outside, and goes to investigate. The posse spot him, and out of fear, and solely fear, put one through his forehead, rendering his body in free fall. He falls besides the original zombie from the cemetery, and duly lit on fire.
Probably the greatest horror movie ever made. The first rendition of the post-apocalypse zombie era, the film got almost all the things right. The only qualms that people have, is about the ending. After braving a literal army of Zombies, and after shooting all the people he loved, Ben finally was safe. But his ironic death at the hands of the very people he saved was the best ending the movie was ever going to get. His life was taken away from him, when he killed all the people he ever cared about. He was reduced to a living corpse, who was dead inside. Therefore, his tragic death in fact liberated him from the cringing environs of life, and reunited him with his posse up in heaven.
7. Looper (2012)
The Ending: Seeing the future Joe about to kill Sara and Seth to reunite with his wife, Joe decides to shoot himself, to save the mother-son duo, and possibly, all future loopers.
‘Looper’ was an eviscerating sci-fi drama. Shades with dark intrinsic human emotions like no other, the film’s end is reflective of the tone set during it. Envisioning the repercussions of future Joe killing Sara and Seth, Joe decides to forlorn his love, life, and happiness for the greater good. While future Joe couldn’t be reunited with his wife, and the film’s protagonist’s unexpected death made the audience indignant, the ending is symbolic of human victory. The triumph of selflessness over greed, and the greater good of the society over the good for an individual, is what Rian Johnson wanted to depict. Well done sir!
6. Up in the Air (2009)
The Ending: Ryan finally realizes his love for Alex, and his abomination for the life he leads, and decides to chose the former. When he knocks on her door to confess, and probably propose, Alex’s marital life is divulged, which leaves Ryan heartbroken. Disappointed, he leaves and returns to his normal, mundane life, accepting he’ll never get love again.
When I ask people about the movie, the common mandate is the scratching of heads. It is unfortunate that more haven’t seen this beautiful film, but for those who have, the ending was the worst part. From the starting, to almost the end, we see a disconnected man, a man insouciant to life, and the people around him. Someone with no friends, estranged family, and an egregious paucity of normal life. As the movie gradually progresses, we see him change into a caring man, who values human intimacy and the emotions of the ones around him. But the one time he isn’t himself, he gets a taste of his own medicine, which is fitting, because you can’t deny he was a mean person.
5. Drive (2011)
The Ending: The driver brings the money to Bernie, and in return buys the safety of Irene and Benicio. Bernie readily agrees, and as he takes he money, he stabs the driver, who in turn fatally stabs Bernie. The driver drives into the night, forever disappearing from Irene and Benecio’s life.
‘Drive’ is undoubtedly Ryan Gosling’s best film. The taciturn and reserved persona that he has, he almost wasn’t required to act. But he did, and did it with effortless ease. Lacking human intimacy, except for his run-ins with the garage owner Shannon, he finds love and warmth in a mother-son duo, who reciprocate. The end, while certainly against the common wants, is a perfect culmination to what we saw of ‘the driver’. Each night, he disappeared into the dark, only to surface the following night and continuing the process. This was his life. He could never have gotten the life he wanted, due to the choices he made regarding the same. If he had gone back to Irene, it was just a matter of time before another Bernie would have come after them. He again chose to sacrifice himself for the safety of the people he loved.
4. No Country for Old Men (2007)
The Ending: Llewellyn is killed by the cartel, disappointing Anton and Sheriff Bell for contrastingly different reasons. Anton intends to keep the promise he made to Llewellyn, and proceeds to kill his wife. After meeting an accident, Anton disappears in thin air, and Bell happily retires.
This was one movie that apparently, and I can’t emphasize apparently enough, apparently had no closure. The end was perceived as ambiguous and uncertain. A tip for you now. Watch the movie closely, and notice what Anton does when he kills someone. The ending features some uncanny genius from the Coen brothers. The scene where Anton comes out of Cate’s house, is given just one hint that confirms he killed her. He kept his promise and the image that permeated through the screen to the audience. Bell’s dream at the end has had different connotations. It was symbolic, to the life he and his father before him had led. His father was a police sheriff, and had experienced the same darkness that comes with the job. Bell signifies, that he showed him the way, to evade that darkness, and come out of it to happiness and warmth.
3. The Departed (2006)
The Ending: William finally confronts Sullivan and succeeds in extorting him. As he goes ahead with the plan, Sullivan’s colleague fatally shoots William, and saves Sullivan, who kills his colleague. With life returning to normal for Sullivan, he is surprised and killed by Dignam, who holds him responsible for Queenan’s death.
The end had almost everyone killed, sans Dignam. It is the best ending I have seen in a movie. I’ll give you reasons why. People didn’t liked it, as it was a bit abrupt, and DiCaprio was killed. He got killed in action. That was inevitable. Nothing could have prevented that. Sullivan’s death on the hands of Dignam was liberating, both for the audience, and Dignam himself, for the former’s nefarious crimes and back-stabbing. He finally got what he deserved, and it was coning for a long time. Queenan’s revenge was extracted, Costello’s gang quarantined, and the city had returned to peace. What more could you ask for ?
2. One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
The Ending: Randall is held responsible for Billy’s death and sent for the treatment. A lobotomized Randall returns, like a living corpse, to everyone’s dismay. Chief puts him out of his misery, and escapes, as planned.
The end is emblematic of the true love the inmates had for each other. Randall couldn’t have lived with himself after his actions led to Billy killing himself. Chief couldn’t have lived with himself, had he left Randall to live, or rather complete his life, like that. The moment Randall came in, he only wanted to do one thing: get out. Chief finally made that happen for him, and went ahead with the plan he and Randall had envisioned. Even though Randall couldn’t be liberated as a living soul, he was in spirit.
1. La La Land (2016)
The Ending: Mia and Sebastian move different ways to further their careers. Five years later, Mia returns to LA as a movie star, and one fateful night, destiny brings them together once again. Mia is now married with a kid, and when she sees Sebastian, it is clear they still love each other. But they accept they can’t be together, and move on.
The film that stole 2016. ‘La La Land’s unpopular ending saw the two leads accept their destiny. Both started out to further their careers, and make their dreams come true. In the end, they did. Mia became a movie star, Sebastian had his own music club. Isn’t that they wanted in the first place? So why, if they couldn’t be together, spoil a riveting tale where dreams came true? They got what they wanted, and accepted their eternal love for each other. For me, the ending was apt, in the culmination of their hard work, and the sustenance of the essence of their love.