February 3, 2012 § 4 Comments
Alright. We’ve something to discuss here. Let me preface this by saying if you plan to see any of the movies discussed this evening (Another Earth, Beginners, 50/50, The Romantics, Door in the Floor) and do not wish to know how it ends, stop reading right now. But really. Because we’re talking about final scenes!
As I’m sure you are all aware, I love watching indie films. I’m all about the little, baby independent movies that no one has heard of. Sadly, I have a soft spot for the romancy ones. But I digress. Fortunately, I have watched a significant amount of movies in the past week or so. Yay, Redbox!! And I have been seeing a trend. Many indie movies end ambiguously. Like you need to figure out where the story was going once the credits roll. You hope for the best, but there is never a firm confirmation. You just assume. I was ok with this for my indie films. They’re artsy and interpretive and the directors want to make their audience “really think about the film”. Fine, I’ll think. I like to do that. But now, the mainstream producers/directors/writers are catching on to this artful technique and taking it out of control. Let’s take a look!
This is a semi-independent film. Little film, big stars. Katie Holmes and Josh Duhamel to name a few (and a bunch of people you would recognize if you saw them). This follows a group of lifelong friends that got the name “the romantics” because they all had love affairs with each other. Long story short, Holmes is in her best friend’s wedding but is in love with the groom.
The Final Scene
Everyone is at the wedding, Holmes has had relations (yes, I’m 65) with the groom. The ceremony commences. It starts raining. Everyone runs inside. Holmes and Duhamel remain standing in the rain laughing. Is the wedding called off? Are Holmes and the bride still friends? Does Duhamel still love his fiancee? See? What do we do with that ending?
I loved this movie. It was beautiful and poetic and deep and sad. But I’m trying to make a point here. Rhoda, the heroine in our story, kills a family in a drunk driving accident leaving only the husband alive. She was distracted because a second Earth – Earth 2 – was discovered. Turns out, it’s a direct reflection of our Earth. The movie then poses many questions about what would you do if you could meet you? What would you talk about? The thought of traveling to Earth 2 becomes a hope of a second chance for Rhoda. A way to find herself.
The Final Scene
Rhoda wins a trip to Earth 2. To go meet herself. The last thing we see is a head shot of her face. Camera pans around and we find out she is standing in front of her Earth 2 self. Did she accept herself after the terrible thing she did? Did she forgive herself after all this time? Such a deep movie and all I want to see is a small smile on her face to put my heart at ease that she had reached forgiveness. Is this too much to ask?
The Door in the Floor
Jeff Bridges is a dysfunctional dad/writer/painter/squash player. The movie begins with Bridges and his wife deciding to separate. They had many marital problems after their two sons were killed in a severe car accident. He hires a young intern to drive him to his appointments and book signings and illustration meetings. Bridges is a real dirtball. Yadda, yadda, yadda his wife takes everything from him even the hundreds of photos of his sons hung around the house – the only thing keeping him grounded.
The Final Scene
Bridges finishes playing squash in the top floor of his shed. He sits down in complete exhaustion looking dejected. He opens a small hatch in the floor – the door in the floor (you see what they did there?) – and walk down the stairs. You’re left with an empty squash court. Granted, we find he wrote a children’s book about a mother wanting to protect her child from “the door in the floor” aka the scary world. So there’s some serious symbolism. Ok, this wasn’t a great example, but it’s still a little ambiguous right?
Here we go. We’re getting into mainstream. Beginners is up for a bunch of Oscar’s and Christopher Plummer has been sweeping up in previous award shows. Rightfully so, he did a nice job. So Plummer, as an old man, comes out of the closet to his son, Ewan McGregor. The movie then follows McGregor’s emotional journey through this and his father’s death. He runs into a French girl (the girl from Inglourious Bastards) and they have a little romance. She’s a hot mess, lives in hotel rooms, stays in town for a month and then runs off to another city. McGregor’s a wreck, lost his dad who was able to find true, he still hasn’t found that lucky lady. They’re quite a pair.
The Final Scene
After finding out French girl didn’t move back to New York like she said she would, McGregor professes his love. Turns out, she’s into him to. They’re sitting in her hotel room next to each other on the bed. She looks over at him and says “What’s next?” So I suppose they’re together? Yes. But she’s so fleeting! They’re going to run around the city and she’ll leave. So they’re not together. But I know she said she loves him. They’re together. Yes. Come on! Give me a little something!
This just came out. And I just watched it last night. Joe Gordon-Levitt is dreamy as ever and I want to marry him. He plays a guy, Adam, that gets cancer. It’s the story of friends and family coping with someone they love having a terminal illness. He’s got some issues of his own, well, because he’s dying. So he starts seeing a therapist, Kathryn (Anna Hendricks). Yadda, yadda, yadda he has a meltdown and realizes Kathryn should be in his life forever. (Side note: there is a moment where he comes out of his surgery, cancer free, and talks to Kathryn. He says “I’d like to make you pancakes.” Adorable.)
The Final Scene
Adam’s hair is grown back and his best friend (Seth Rogen) is applying his scar cream to the massive surgery scar down his spine. Doorbell rings, Kathryn is there for a date. Rogen leaves, Kathryn and Adam stand in the dining room smiling at each other. She says “Now what?”. He pauses. Smiles. Credits. Come on! You know what would’ve been perfect? What I would’ve accepted as a sufficient, sure ending? She says “Now what?” He says “I’ll make you some pancakes.” I should be a writer. All job offers can be sent to my assistant. But really, I need a little more assurance.
I need to let all my movie lovers – and literature lovers, too! – know that I love analyzing film, and I love symbolism and imagery. So many of these endings are indeed poetic and beautiful and meaningful. But sometimes I just need a kiss at the end of the movie that says, don’t worry, everything ended the way it should have. Maybe it’s commitment issues. Maybe I just want Joe Gordon-Levitt to be happy. Who’s with me?