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.
Yours is a great list! I definitely agree with the ones I've seen.
Mine doesn't include any Bollywood, interestingly enough. I guess for me the most rewarding parts in those are usually somewhere in the middle.
1) North & South (2004 BBC mini) - after four hours of suffering and misunderstanding, finally the pair gets it right.
2) The Shawshank Redemption - pretty much from Raquel Welch all the way to Zihuatanejo.
3) Field of Dreams - never has there been a more emotionally charged game of catch.
4) Random Harvest (a 1940s drama) - the revelation at the end of this story about a man with amnesia, who doesn't remember his wife--even when he marries her a second time.
5) My Sassy Girl (2001 Korean film)- just a beautiful ending to an all time favorite.
Nice post! I really love the ending scene of Devdas (2002). Probably mostly because of the spectacular cinematography, but also for the fact, that I still need two boxes of Kleenex to get through that scene in one piece.
Unrelated to this post, but it seems you guys did go through the awesomeness that was waiting for us at the end of season 3 of BSG. Oh that, All Along the Watchtower rendition!
I love this list (although the BSG ending, not so much--was terribly taken aback at SO MANY PLOT HOLES, OMG, YOU BASTARDS AM STILL FURIOUS) and have been thinking for *hours* which I should add. I think one of my favorite endings is actually from the second Jason Bourne movie, simply because it seemed so facile and then in the next film we find it's actually so bland because they're deep in a separate intrigue. Also:
1. K3G. Phooey me if you like, but seeing poor Anjali finally get to go back to India and have a dad again (even one who wasted the previous decade hating her) makes me BAWL.
2. Jab We Met. I'm not counting the utterly superfluous "Mauja Hi Mauja," but the... wait. Have you seen that movie yet? I remember you confessing at one point that you'd never seen a Shahid movie (SINNER. REPENT). If that's still the case there's no way I'm spoiling it for you.
3. Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana. Perfect ending for a near-perfect movie.
4. Anand (the Telugu one). Redemption, as understated and loving as the rest of the film.
5. Napoleon Dynamite. Anything involving tetherball and When In Rome has my seal of unqualified approval.
6. Sense & Sensibility. Oh, poor Elinor. I love her bursting into involuntary tears, and her sisters and mother sidling out of the room in horror then trying to watch from the lawn, while Mr. Ferrars' smile gets wider and more confident the more he stutters through his explanation while she buries her head in her apron and SOBS because everything is going to be better than she ever dreamed. I'm actually crying now remembering it, ha.
7. HDDCS. The bridge! The "can I ask you something?" The "pick one!" The fireworks-punctuated... hug! It is amazing and wonderful and I love that pompous Sanjay Leela Bhansali forever because of it.
Ha!!! What a topic. Have quite a few of my own.
Mann - Amir and Manisha - Its a Bollywood reworking of "An affair to remember". The whole movie was terribly pedestrian and not worth watching, but the climax when all is revealed - I weep and never miss that scene if it is on.
Saheb - You have reviewed it youself. Utpal Dutts and Rakhees performance just lifts the whole movie to another level.
Will write more later :)
Totally agreed on DDLJ.
One of the other endings that always gets me is Apollo 13. I've seen that movie a hundred times but I still want to jump from my seat and dance when they finally get home safe.
The ending of Hana-bi is one of my all time faves.
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