A great ending is more than a conclusion of the stories. It elevates the entire experience, distinguishes good movies from great, and leaves us with an impression that last. Here are a few endings that really resonate with me. (SPOILER ALERT) While I am not going into very specific details, these are great movies and I recommend you to watch them first.
Another Woman (1988) Gena Rowlands plays the successful and well respected professor. Her self-esteem was crumbling as she accidentally learned of the lifetime of flaws she has committed and was disturbed by people's judgment on her. It would have been a depressing movie. But the ending has redeemed everything. Reading the book written by her best friend Larry, she realized that despite her imperfections, he was the one true believer of her. Recalling the scene in the book of their walk in the Central Park, it left her in a state of pensiveness.
The Descendants (2011) Its ending is the most uneventful. There were the three of them sitting on the couch watching TV. Then it ended. Certainly what matters is the story that preceded this, the trauma of crumbling marriage, dying wife, and alienated kids.
How is this ending moving? If only you have gone through storms as turbulent as theirs in your life, then you will understand the feeling of respite that it portrays. It was great to huddle in front of TV.
Some Like It Hot (1959) "Nobody's perfect", the tagline is so memorable that it was engraved on writer director Billy Wilder's tombstone. The duo Joe and Jerry were so desperate to hide from a gang, they disguised as women and joined an all women band to run away. When in Florida, the woman that was Jerry has attracted an old millionaire suitor Osgood. He tried to pick her up with ceaseless persistence.
Failed in every mean to fend off Osgood's advance, in the final scene, Jerry took off his wig to reveal he was actually a man. For this Osgood easily dismissed with the line, "Well, nobody's perfect".
Billy Wilder's scripts were so great because they often have double meaning. While we laugh our butt off for the absurdity of Osgood's radical acceptance, there is an aftertaste that left us thinking how judgmental we are toward other people. Is Osgood a fool? Or perhaps he is a model we can learn from?