Un-happy endings

Lindsay Adams

I know a lot of people who will tell you that they didn’t like a movie because it ended badly. My sister won’t watch a movie where the lead couple doesn’t get together at the end. If she does accidentally watch such a film, she will create an elaborate scenario after the film’s end to explain how really they will end up happily married; the film just stopped too early. Even if the film is just the slightest bit ambiguous about the “happily ever after” that apparently is a requirement for film characters, she will sigh and say, “well, I really liked the movie … except for the ending.”

I never really had that problem. Some of my favorite films have terrible endings. For instance, the villain gets away, or the couple realizes they can’t be together, or the hero never does learn his lesson, or just suffers and dies. I love films like “The Usual Suspects,” “Memento” or “Once.”

I watch a lot of foreign films, which true to stereotype, are often outright depressing or have non-endings, without a climax that often ends almost where they began.

Most of these films, needless to say, are not acceptable to my sister.

I think the reason why I often don’t require or even buy into the happy endings provided by Hollywood, is that the end of the film is only the beginning of another story. For all we know the perfect couple starts bickering on the honeymoon and within months both have a loveless marriage and cheap sex with strangers.

Often the beauty of not-so-happy endings is that they are more what we commonly experience. When was the last time a knight in shining armor appeared in your life?

The 12th of never, that’s when.

The unhappy endings are what we are familiar with. The times when you don’t end up winning, or you just can’t work things out with your boyfriend. Life is made up of mistakes, that you usually can’t fix, but just have to learn from. I think sometimes these unhappy endings just hit too close to home for some people. They prefer escapism and saccharine sweetness, to being reminded of how life works.

I love Jane Austen, and period romances. There is nothing wrong with some movies having happy endings, but don’t hate on movies just because they don’t give you a cookie-cutter ending. Life doesn’t owe that to you, so why should movies?

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