At a time of year where an inexhaustible string of bad movies seems to seep out from the cinema, let’s celebrate those movies that got it right.
Waltz with Bashir (2008)
This is a devastating ending. Whilst the film is relentlessly dark, the moments of levity through the black comedy and the artificial animated style keep us distanced from the reality of the war. However, the film abruptly shifts to actual post-massacre footage, showing distraught mothers and dead bodies. It plunges us into actuality, and it is heartbreaking to watch the horrific scenes of needless bloodshed and sorrow.
Schindler’s List (1993)
This ending gets me every time. To see Schindler’s regrets, despite his wonderful deed, can make a dent in even the toughest exteriors. Schindler wishes he could have saved more people from the Holocaust, and it reflects how little we really can do in the face of evil. And yet, it also represents how a commendable action, no matter how large, can be such an important thing. As we see those Schindler saved visiting his grave, it reminds us of how beautiful humanity can be.
The Illusionist (2010)
I’ve actually discussed the close of this film a few times, in my Top 10 favourite shots list and my My (current) top 5 favourite films list. However, this to me just proves how good the climax is. We see the illusionist surrender his passions for the sake of a youthful and vibrant young girl, with the beautiful animation making this ending even more bittersweet. He makes the ultimate sacrifice and shows how important it is to give everyone in life a chance. His time has passed, and a new era has been ushered in.
Maaaaaaaan nothing gets me pumped up more than the ending to this film. The intense music and the badass revenge on our leads brutal mentor make this one of the most energetic and adrenaline fuelled endings ever. To see the cymbals smashed and the sweat dripping from our protagonists face, with Fletcher, a man who abuses his power, now powerless to intervene, is the most riveting thing. This is an ending which never gets old. The only downside is that it had to end.
Before Sunset (2004)
If it wasn’t clear by now, I adore the Before Trilogy. They’re such beautiful, organic, funny, melancholic films. The ending to Before Sunset highlights everything great about this series. The playful, yet loaded dialogue, the romantic tension, wonderful stripped back performances, and the natural chemistry is out of this world. And on top of this, we are treated to Julie Delpy’s beautiful song. Though not a huge fan of romantic movies, these film’s are the major exception to that rule.