Pulling the audience in with a snappy idea can be relatively straightforward - we at the PPCC usually rely on some scatological goodness to draw the reader's eye (POOP) - but letting them go in a satisfying, glorious, sunsetty way is hard.
So what makes a good ending (apart from the sunset)? We think it has to satisfy certain criteria:
- The payoff. This is the MUST of any skilful ending: presumably the story has been building to some sort of conclusion and an ending can be judged by how well it serves that final, match point.
- The ability to make the PPCC feel a glowing sense of bittersweet finished-ness. In other words, emotional satisfaction.
- Music! Honestly, this is a deal-breaker. Good music has raised mediocre endings to heavenly heights, and lackluster music has muted even the most powerful of conclusions.
So here are, according to us, some of the BEST ENDINGS EVER. As is obvious, MASSIVE SPOILERS for all of these - don't bother reading further if you haven't seen some of these and you value your virginity (narratively-speaking).
1. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Jaa, Simran, jaa! Is larke se zyada pyaar tujhe aur koi nahin kar sakta! / Go, Simran, go! No one could love you more than this boy!
The best ending prop that we can think of, apart from a golden sun, is a train. What better symbol of quickly-accelerating opportunity, of the LAST CHANCE for change, redemption, resolution and joy?
The Hindi classic, DDLJ, cashes in on a 3-hour courtship full of anxiety, hoodwinking and desperate hopes to show us that - yes, YES - the Pater Familias can let his daughter go. Oh my Lord.
Tissue Rating: Pretty epic.
2. Kabhie Alvida Naa Kehna
Preity Zinta forgives you. Shah Rukh Khan loves you. Now you can be happy forever!
Basically, the same deal, the only variation being that this time, parental authority isn't the main obstacle for our lovers, it's chronic misunderstanding and a bad knee. Also features a train.
Tissue rating: Embarrassingly monumental.
3. Battlestar Galactica
I will never deny my agricultural heritage again.
Many people got all huffy with the Luddite deism of the BSG series finale (and, yes, it was a bit facile), but it did - thanks to composer Bear McCreary and actor James Callis, mostly - contain one of the most epic payoffs we've recently experienced. First of all: the long-simmering romance between Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) and the dying President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) finally reached the climax that we had been waiting eighty episodes for. And, far more unexpectedly, a single line by Gaius Baltar (James Callis) both resolved and redefined his Odyssean journey in a completely new way for us - talk about backward revisionism! Oh, Gaius. His name means Earth? OF COURSE IT DOES.
Tissue rating: We cried through the credits, through a shower, through a change into our pyjamas and, finally, to sleep.
Start at 5:16.
Talk about going out in a blaze of.
Tissue rating: Huge. HUGE.
5. Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
The end-all, be-all ending from a movie dedicated to the epic conclusion of our favorite series, what can better encapsulate the impermanence of everything (especially the beautiful!) than a simple, honest exchange of love, coupled with some Zen rock gardening?
Tissue rating: If we were to be honest with ourselves, we never really got over this.
6. Insert your ending here
That's what the Comments button is for! We have this itchy feeling on the back of our tongue that we've forgotten some major ones, so please: sharing is caring.