One of the favorite activities of filmophiles has always been interpretation of favorite movie moments, but this activity takes on an even greater significance when it comes to movie endings.
Directors rarely come out and explain the message they wanted to convey with a particular scene, thus contributing to the mistique surrounding their art which sometimes can stay alive for years, decades even.
But even in the case when they do exactly that – like Scorsese clarifying that Travis did not die at the end of Taxi Driver – does that make someone who believes he did die wrong? Of course not, and that’s one of the everlasting qualities of art.
So don’t take these explanations as if they were written in stone. They are still theories, albeit credible ones, but if your theory is different – we would be happy if you shared it with us!
The ending: Cooper wakes up to find his daughter Murphy over 90 years of age and on her deathbed. She urges him to travel to Edmunds’ habitable planet to join a still-young Dr. Brand and start a new human colony there.
Source: Paradise N-I-M-A-S
Prior to returning to reconnect with Murphy, Coop went through a black hole and managed to convey the solution to Dr. Brand’s equation onto his daughter which she then relayed to the scientist. This meant that after waking up back on Earth and saying goodbye to Murphy, who has aged normally while he was on planets where time passes way slower, Coop could go and meet Dr. Brand’s daughter on Edmunds planet. The solution to the equation meant that what was left of Earth’s population would soon join them on this newly-discovered, habitable planet.
Source: IMDb Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Paramount Pictures
2. Shutter Island
The ending: Teddy Daniels turns out to be a made-up alter ego of Andrew Laeddis, and the whole story up to that point had been an elaborate role-playing exercise aided by hospital staff. The final scene sees Andrew relapsing into his second persona and being carried away for a lobotomy which he agreed on if he relapsed again.
Source: Tumblr | silentinsomniac
Some people believe that Andrew knowingly goes back to being Teddy Daniels and that way commits suicide; the last line in the movie is: “Which would be worse? To live as a monster or die as a good man?”
The ending: The Hess family comes in contact with extraterrestrial creatures that can apparently be destroyed by water. Following the alien invasion, Graham Hess re-discovers his faith and returns to his role as a priest.
Source: IMDb Touchstone Pictures
One fan theory suggests that the aliens in Signs are not aliens at all. They’re actually haunting demons – thus the absence of any kind of technology. That’s why they are destroyed by (probably holy) water after which Priest Graham goes back to his religion.
We think it’s a legitimate theory for a Mel Gibson movie.
Source: IMDb Touchstone Pictures
4. Black Swan
The ending: Nina finishes the performance, but when her colleagues approach in order to congratulate her, they discover she is bleeding. She looks into the lights and says: “I felt it. Perfect. It was perfect.”
Source: Notes from the Underground
Some see the ending as a symbolic death, showing Nina’s transition from a child into a woman (or from a white swan into a black swan). Others believe Nina literally died.
The ending: Cobb returns home and spins his totem on the table before going outside to his children. The film ends with the totem still spinning, leaving the viewer unsure whether he is awake or dreaming.
So, was it a dream? Director Christopher Nolan has said that the viewers cannot really know because Cobb doesn’t know himself. Furthermore, he doesn’t seem to care since he’s not looking at the totem – either way, he only wants to be with his children.
6. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The ending: Sam returns to Riggan’s hospital room, but he’s gone. She worriedly approaches the window, looks up and smiles.
Source: Tumblr | justinspirin
Some people suggest Riggan had finally found redemption and made peace with his past and present; others claim that Birdman’s real and that Riggan actually possesses superpowers. The first theory does sound cliched and corny, but the second one doesn’t even deserve to be taken seriously. Perhaps you have a better one?
7. Mad Max: Fury Road
The ending: Max, Furiosa and their wives return to Citadel, cheered on by the crowds. Max turns away from Furiosa and the wives and takes off to an unknown destination.
Before the credits roll a quote appears: “Where must we go, we who wander this wasteland, in search of our better selves?” Perhaps through the prism of director George Miller’s lifelong fascination with mythology Max can be seen as a modern Ulysses, a reluctant perpetual hero.
Source: IMDb Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The ending: Joel and Clementine have no memory of one another but decide to give it another go nonetheless.
The film ends with Joel and Clementine playing in the snow. Although a happy ending at first glance, it apparently symbolized “two lovers in a cycle of meeting, breaking up, and erasing each other”.
The ending: Lucy reaches a full cerebral capacity and enters a time-space continuum. In the present day, it seems like she had disappeared, but then Del Rio gets a text saying “I AM EVERYWHERE.”
Source: Tumblr | perezhilton
As Lucy unlocks the full potential of her brain she acquires the powers of telekinesis; she doesn’t need her human form and transforms into energy instead.
10. The Others
The ending: While Grace and her children look at their home being put up for sale, they reiterate that they will never leave their house.
Apparently, Grace and her children were ghosts all along. Creepy or what?