A movie just isn’t complete without that picture-perfect ending.
I like to be a little rebellious when it comes to writing stories. I get so fed up after reading story after story with a happy ending. But as bad as it is in writing, affairs are only worse in Hollywood. I really have to think to remember the last time I saw a movie with a sad, or “unhappy” ending. It can be frustrating. But after all, a movie just isn’t complete without that picture-perfect ending. It sums up and validates all the struggles and obstacles that are shown in that short hour and a half, and sends the viewer home with a false, but comforting, feeling of accomplishment.
On the other hand, what if movies were more like short stories, or better yet, reality? Well, first of all, if movies were more like reality we would sit on a bench in the park all day instead of going to the movies. But I acually have seen a movie based on a short story that had an unhappy ending. I loved it, although I think it’s safe to say I won’t be watching that movie again. The movie was called “The Grey” with Liam Neeson. It was a brutal journey that ended with tragedy and left me with nightmares of wolves for the next three nights. But the reason I mention this is because, unlike most movies that have unhappy endings, this was not a horror movie. It was simply a movie based on a short story. Here’s a spoiler warning, because the ending was the most honest any movie’s ending could possibly be:
They all die.
And that is the only real ending in any story, or movie, or reality. It adds a bitterness. Which is why this message is not widely encouraged as far as movies go. It’s different, it’s heart breaking, it forces you to examine your life from a different view, and by the time you’ve finished the movie, you do not want to re-live this experience. Movies make money when they’re watched more than once. And so, the unhappy ending does not have a place in the movie world. I suppose it will have to be satisfied living in books and short stories and other literary forms.