The ending of a movie is much more than just the end. It leaves us with a specific type of feeling and it marks the start of how we will think about the movie after it is over. Good directors can use these strong feelings to create real masterpieces, but they can also make a rotten tomato out of the movie, if they choose the wrong ending.
That leaves us with the question: What makes a good ending? There are a few recurring themes in movie endings with directors can use to control our emotions. For example, the „riding into the sunset ending“. This ending was popularized by western movies. It takes us away from the original story and reintroduces us into the world. It symbolizes the end or the new beginning of a journey for our heroes. This type of ending often leaves you with a good and comfortable feeling.
But this ending can also be used to leave you with a creepy and uncomfortable feeling, as seen in the ending of “The Silence of the Lambs” were a serial killer walks back into society. Another very common ending is the closing of a door. One of the most famous movies of all time (The Godfather), used exact this type of ending.
In addition, many directors use an ending shot, were both the ending and opening scene relate to each other. This is great to leave the audience with a different feeling within a similar shot. There is another great video from Now You See It were he discusses movie opening scenes in depth.
In conclusion, there is no easy right or wrong answer to what makes a good ending, but we know that the mood which leaves you at the end of the movie certainly influences how you perceive the whole movie. A good ending therefore, is one that leaves you with the feeling the director tries to commutate throughout the movie.
If you want to know more about how the art and science behind movie endings, I highly recommend you watch the video below.
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