The ending of a film can be a bittersweet experience. Sometimes you’re not ready to stop spending time with these characters, and sometimes you can’t believe it took this long for the damn thing to end. But the very best movie endings leave audiences with mixed emotions—a sense of satisfaction, curiosity, or maybe even profound emotion. A new video essay takes a closer look at movie endings as a whole, attempting to explain why the best and most memorable endings work so well.
The essayist opens with a great comparison between Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake, explaining why Hitchcock’s ending works so much better than Van Sant’s due to one key difference. The video also covers classic endings like The Searchers and The Godfather, diving into the significance of doorways and the closing of doors, while also touching on one of my personal favorites, The Silence of the Lambs. And of course a video essay on endings wouldn’t be complete without David Fincher, and Gone Girl is used as an example of a film that uses the ending to reinforce the ideas of the film’s opening shot.
All in all it’s a fascinating and well-crafted video that should hopefully provide you with a bit more appreciation for the conclusions of films. What’s your favorite movie ending of all time? The Apartment is pretty unmatched as far as I’m concerned, although it’s hard to deny the impact of The Godfather. Going more modern, something like Enemy will stick with me for years and years to come. Sound off with your picks for the best ending of all time in the comments below.
Check out the video essay, by How to End a Movie, below via The Playlist.