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Mota Boy
11-01-2004, 08:00 PM
I was watching some commentary on "Chinatown" a little while ago and Roman Polanski mentioned that there had been a pretty big argument over the ending of the film - whether it should end on a happy or sad note. According to Polanski, the film would be "meaningless" if it ended with the heroes riding off into the sunset.

This got me thinking. Is a movie's value cheapened by having a happy ending? Even at the earliest stages of theater in the Western world, the Greeks divided their plays into comedies and tragedies (yeah,and satyr plays, but c'mon). If a movie has a happy ending, to put words in Polanski's mouth, then any message it has is cheapened. Perhaps it's because, if things go wrong, you're forced to think them out, to come to grips with it like a tragedy in your own life. If everything works out just peachy keen you think "oh, that's nice" and move on.

As conflict creates tension and drives plot during the movie, conflict at the end of the movie keeps it going in your head long after you exit the theater. You realize that actions have consequences and you have to weigh choices. Sure, some terrific movies end on relatively happy notes, such as the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars series, but do those have any real meaning or are they just eye candy? Hell, even among the series', film critics rank "The Empire Strikes Back", the most dour episode, as the best. Likewise, artsy movies that end on a positive note cannot help but have the ending be bittersweet, such as in "American Beauty" or "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

So, what are your thounghts? Does a tragic ending give a movie more weight or does it not matter? And please make your posts more or less about the general relationship between a movie's ending and it's worth instead of arguing about the quality of a specific movie, no "Star Wars sucks!".

Little_Miss_1565
11-01-2004, 08:07 PM
I'd be tempted to say that a happy ending means a shitty movie, but then I remembered "Wings of Desire," which is the most amazing movie ever. Ever. Ever.

BREAK
11-01-2004, 08:11 PM
I think it depends on the script, really. Sometimes a happy ending can work perfectly, & sometimes it comes off as a copout. There's definitely ways to resolve conflict in films without making the ending happy, but there's also ways to end a movie on a negative note without making it feel like you've wasted your time.

Examples: I like Reservoir Dogs a lot, but the ending just feels rushed & half-assed. A movie like Donnie Darko, however, I could not possibly see ending any differently. It's all relative to the set-up & execution of plot devices.

greencows12
11-01-2004, 08:14 PM
Have you ever seen the old cinderella where birds come and peck their eyes out? They changed that on disney.

XYlophonetreeZ
11-01-2004, 08:33 PM
Yeah, it depends. The ending of Lord of the Flies sucked because it was just a sudden flash of happiness in a book that had none in it and was just completely out of place. On the other hand, I was forced to watch the movie "La historia oficial" for Spanish class and it sucked. However, it would have sucked less if it had even a moderately happy ending. Instead, it ended with the husband beating the shit out of the wife because he thought she gave their adopted daughter away, but then he cries as his adopted daughter calls him on the phone and it turns out she's only staying at her grandparents' house. His wife, whose hand he just brutally slammed in a door jamb, comes over, cries, and hugs him. Then it cuts to the daughter, who is about 5 years old and is singing a "cute but sad" song on a verandah. Then the credits roll. Is that not THE worst ending you've ever heard of? Nothing fucking ENDS (The Talented Mr. Ripley is also an excellent example of this). The point is, if an unhappy ending shows that the director thought he/she was being smart and instead was just being an arrogant idiot , then happy endings generally work better. Maybe they're not original, but they resolve what is meant to be resolved.

Mota Boy
11-01-2004, 11:25 PM
Because of this thread I am now watching "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

HornyPope
11-01-2004, 11:42 PM
I hate pussified endings--endings changed from sad to happy to please the audience. I'll tell you that much.

SicN Twisted
11-01-2004, 11:45 PM
In some cases. If everyone in that movie Cube succesfully escaped and went out to dinner together, it wouldn't be nearly as powerful. I also don't know what Return to Paradise would be like if everyone got off scot free.

fairy call
11-02-2004, 12:09 AM
I think it depends on the script too
amélie poulin has a happy ending and is a beautiful movie

Mota Boy
11-02-2004, 12:26 AM
I hate pussified endings--endings changed from sad to happy to please the audience. I'll tell you that much.


This brings up another, related point - I fucking hate alternative endings. I fucking hate them. While it's certainly interesting to see another possible finish to the story, it precludes any real resolution. Especially when the ending is changed for audiences, because then do you believe the director's vision or the ending put out for theaters? That's one of the things that still pisses me off about "28 Days Later...".

La_Plume_Noire
11-02-2004, 12:52 AM
Hi,

I have seen Final Destination 2 there are few days, and the ending is funny ! Because, when the young boy goes to the barbecue, this one exploded and the boy's arm landed on the garden table where the others persons eating and chating, and finnally the mother's boy were scared ! And me I have a smile on my face...! :rolleyes:

Izie
11-02-2004, 01:01 AM
I think it depends on the script, really. Sometimes a happy ending can work perfectly, & sometimes it comes off as a copout. There's definitely ways to resolve conflict in films without making the ending happy, but there's also ways to end a movie on a negative note without making it feel like you've wasted your time.

Examples: I like Reservoir Dogs a lot, but the ending just feels rushed & half-assed. A movie like Donnie Darko, however, I could not possibly see ending any differently. It's all relative to the set-up & execution of plot devices.

I agree completely.

It's so nice when someone else already says what you're thinking so you don't have to type.

selfrighteoussuicide
11-02-2004, 08:12 AM
in my opinion happy endings are usually lamer than sad ones

Nina
11-02-2004, 08:32 AM
it depends on a lot of things. while it has to go with
the movie and its plot (what Break said) it also depends
on my own mood. i sometimes really feel like watching
girly-girl movies with happy-endings, simply because
i want a fun evening, and NOT have sad thoughts stuck
in my mind constantly (as Mota Boy said about sad
endings). but most of the time, i want to have the "deep"
kind of movies that make me think a long time after I
leave the theater, although i know thats not always
good for me... i usually end up thinking too much about
movies.
in my opinion, a good movie makes a movie which you
wont forget that quickly, and happy-ending-movies can
have that as well, just not as often as the other kind.

Vera
11-02-2004, 08:51 AM
I think to some, good movie means that it's a movie you have to really think about once you get home from the theater. A sad/tragic ending usually sticks with you. An ending slightly left open (and not with the stereotypical AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!!) can also leave you thinking, but that's not a sad ending, is it?

A flat happy ending can make the movie seem like a bad one. A forced happy ending can make the film a bad one as well. In short; there are countless ways to fuck up a happy ending. But if the movie is well-constructed, well made on all respects, the viewer should be so into the movie, so into the characters that a happy ending is a huge relief and just leaves you with a satisfied feeling when you leave the theater.
You loved the characters, you lived with them for a few hours and they ended up well. You're glad for them. What a joy.

Then again, some people just don't plain LIKE happy endings. So one can say it's really subjective. I love my Bollywood films with almost guarenteed happy endings. But those are done mainly for entertaiment purposes and it is how I enjoy them, so I won't start arguing that they're most meaningful films ever made.

However, I will say that the tragic ending is overvalued in the world of so called artsy films. You don't need a sad ending in order for your film to be considered art. I'd say that it's all a part of this idea that artists are suffering artist. OH THE ANGST! Let my characters suffer as well!

But really, when making what one'd call an art film, an opening ending is the best thing to do, really.

And sad endings can make the film suck, too.

Then again, I have to admit that Casablanca might not be one of my ultimate favourites if it had ended happily. (Whoops, spoiler! Suck it up, motherfucker, you should've seen that film ages ago.) Then again, that just goes to show how powerful a tragic love story can be. Romeo&Juliet, Rhett & Scarlet, the list goes on and on...

Wow, what a nonsensical post. Excuse me.