Movie endings often remain a mystery to their viewers and cause a lot of arguments among them. We may have no idea what the director meant by the final scene or we may misunderstand the thought of the creator, especially if they used metaphors and allegories. And our final impression of the film is directly linked to how we understand the final scenes.
While the story of Denis Villeneuve’s film is progressing, it gives the viewers a lot of hints, but the main idea isn’t described until the very end. This sci-fi drama completely consists of closed cycles, in other words the story ends where it begins and begins where it ends.
The viewers might think that the film starts with the past of the main character, linguist Louise Banks, but in the end we realize that these episodes were from her future. After Amy Adams’s character learned to understand the non-linear language of heptapods, time became a circle for her.
The flashbacks about her dead daughter and divorce with her husband that we saw in the beginning of the film haven’t happened to her yet. Louise got a glimpse of her future and even though she knew she was going to lose her child and her love, she decided to not change anything.
This is the main idea of the film: time is not just a straight line. If you see time the way heptapods do, it looks completely different. And every person defines their own destiny.
“They are delighted. They understood everything but in different ways.” Javier Bardem’s character says about the reaction of readers to his book. The same could be said about the people who watched this film.
Almost all the films from this director are filled with symbolism and mother! is no exception. At the core of the story is the idea of how violent humanity is toward nature and the film itself is sort of a biblical fable.
In his interview for Variety, Darren Aronofsky explained that Javier Bardem portrayed God in the film and Jennifer Lawrence is nature, and the house is Earth. Nature is tortured, it is used. And the apocalypse at the end of the film (when the house is burned) is the result of our violence toward our planet.
The ending of Alejandro Iñárritu’s film, about an actor that lost his mind, is pretty difficult to understand. In the final scene, we see Riggan’s daughter coming into an empty hospital ward and seeing an open window with voices and sirens coming from the outside.
Emma Stone’s character looks down, slowly raises her head up and smiles. Some viewers must have thought that it was a happy ending and a hint that Riggan could actually fly. But most likely, the main character actually committed suicide and his daughter is just hallucinating.
Sam loses her connection with the real world and dives into a world of fantasy where her father is still alive. Riggan’s relationship with his daughter is the key to understanding this film.
The Dark Knight Rises, 2012
At the end of the film, Bruce Wayne tries to save Gotham from a nuclear explosion. He loads the bomb on his plane and flies fast into the ocean where it explodes. The city is saved and the grateful inhabitants mourn their hero and erect a monument of Batman. Alfred goes to Venice where he meets Bruce who is perfectly healthy sitting at a table with Selina (Catwoman).
Many viewers thought this part was Alfred’s dream. But as you might remember, in Batman’s lab the character said that the plane was on autopilot. Most likely, Bruce programmed the plane to get the bomb as far from the city as possible and faked his own death.
Besides, in the Venice scene, you can see a necklace on Selina that belonged to Wayne’s mother. She tried to steal it at the very beginning of the film. Alfred didn’t know about it, so this couldn’t be in his dream.
Ad Astra, 2019
When Roy goes on a mission to find a spaceship that disappeared, he was also going to put an end to Project Lima and save his father. When they finally reunite, the young McBride realizes that his father is not the hero he thought he was.
Clifford escaped to the space abyss because he knew there was nothing left for him on Earth. The most symbolic scene happens when the cord that connects the father and the son is broken.
When Roy returned home, he finally understood and accepted his place in the universe. He gets rid of the emotional and physical loneliness, he doesn’t have the burden of finding his father anymore, and he is ready to reunite with his ex-wife. Ad Astra is a film about self-knowledge and the important changes of the human soul.
Bird Box, 2018
When the main character with 2 children finally reaches the sanctuary, it turns out to be a school for blind people. And this is very symbolic. It was this blind faith that Mallory had that made her travel through the river rapids totally blindfolded. The film makes you think about what a weakness is and what a strength is. In the real world, blindness is a limitation, but in the film, it was a protection against monsters.
Mallory was able to save her children only when she opened herself to love. When in the final scene, the main character gives her son and daughter names and lets the birds out, she destroys the walls she had previously built around herself. The epilogue is the metaphor of hope and faith that it will all be alright and the bird box is the cage that Mallory kept her feelings in.
Perfect Strangers, 2016
In Paolo Genovese’s drama, a group of friends comes together to have dinner, enjoy the full moon eclipse, and just have a good time. When they start talking about mobile phones, one of the characters suggests they play a game: put all of their phones on the table and accept all the calls on speaker and read all their texts out loud.
During this seemingly simple and funny game, the friends realize that they don’t know anything about each other. This is the main point of the film: all of us, just like the moon, have 2 sides: the brightly-lit one and the side that nobody sees.
But the ending of the film confused many people. The characters leave the house, laughing and holding hands, as if nothing had happened. This is how the evening would have ended if they hadn’t played the game.
No disappointment, no resentment, no shame. All the problems are there, on the dark side of the Moon. You have the right to decide which is better — the bitter truth or ignorant bliss.
Black Swan, 2010
In the epilogue of the film, Nina (Natalie Portman) falls during the first act of the performance and while crying, leaves to change clothes for the second act. In the dressing room, she sees Lily (Mila Kunis) who is totally ready to replace her on the stage. The girls start to fight and Nina kills her competitor by piercing her with a piece of glass. She then hides her body in the bathroom and nails the second act.
After that, in the dressing room, Lily, who is totally alive and well visits Nina and tells her that she did a great job. Natalie Portman’s character realizes that she had been fighting herself this whole time and has a bleeding wound in her stomach. At the end of the 3rd act, Nina falls into the hands of the director, bleeding to death and we realize that the dancer wounded herself by trying to become perfect.