As we approach the end of the decade, Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge names his favourite film endings of the decade.
Let us know your favourite film endings of the decade in the comment section below!
25. Misery Loves Company – The Favourite (2018)
Director Yorgos Lanthimos piles misery on top of misery in the final images of The Favourite. The scene features a dissolve of Abigail (played by Emma Stone); who is submissively massaging gout-ridden legs, Queen Anne (Olivia Colman); who is stroke-stricken and without her once beloved Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), and the rabbits; who are a reminder of Queen Anne’s miscarriages. Caged, perpetual torment for all.
24. The Whistle – Prisoners (2013)
Loki’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) persistence pays off as he returns to the scene of the crime and hears the faint whistle of a resilient Dover (High Jackman). A well-executed ending that sticks true to the film’s characters.
23. What Are You Thinking? – Gone Girl (2014)
After all they have been through, we witness Nick’s (Ben Affleck) reasoning for staying with Amy (Rosamund Pike). This is an unexpected ending (unless you read the book) which ends by calling back to the film’s ambiguous opening scene.
22. Riding Off – The Place Beyond The Pines (2012)
After sending a family photo to his mother, Jason (Dane DeHaan) heads out west on a motorcycle to start a new life. In contrast to the film’s opening – which closely follows his stuntman father (Ryan Gosling) – the camera lets Jason ride off into the sunset.
21. Live Deliciously – The Witch (2016)
Somewhere between deeply unsettling and seductive, this scene and Anna Taylor-Joy’s delivery bring a perfect close to Robert Eggers’ instantly classic horror film.
20. The Things We Do For Our Kids, Huh? – Hell Or High Water (2016)
Marcus (Jeff Bridges) and Toby (Chris Pine) – absent of their now deceased partners – come face to face for the first time as David Mackenzie’s film draws to a close. A tense, honest and brilliantly acted verbal stand off.
19. I Want You Flat On Your Back – Phantom Thread (2017)
Much of this final scene plays out through the eyes of our lead characters as Reynolds (Daniel Day Lewis) submits to Alma (Vicky Krieps). Romantic, psychotic, or both? I’ll let you decide.
18. Thank You – Lady Bird (2017)
After being moved by a visit to a Presbyterian Church, Christine (Saoirse Ronan) leaves a thankful and emotional answering machine message for her mother. This act of loving appreciation and willing connection brings a reflective close to a film that beautifully and honestly speaks to mother-daughter relationships.
17. Did Samantha Leave Too? – Her
Left by their A.I partners, friends Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and Amy (Amy Adams) climb to the roof of their apartment block to look out over the evening skyline. It feels emotional, alive and full of new possibilities.
16. It Was Perfect – Black Swan (2010)
Nina (Natalie Portman) delivers a triumphant performance to draw the curtain on Darren Aronofsky’s intense psychological thriller. As blood seeps through her white dress (an external reminder of her self-destructive pursuit of a perfect performance), the dancer can look up at the lights and finally be at peace. Bravo.
15. No Show – Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Nocturnal Animals ends with Susan (Amy Adams) sitting alone at a fancy restaurant as she waits for Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). There she is made to stew over her decisions and the emptiness of her life. A chilling and stark visual to end a haunting film.
14. Real Human Being – Drive (2011)
Driver (Ryan Gosling) underlines his true character by leaving the dirty money and his love Irene (Carey Mulligan) – in order to keep her safe – behind. As Irene hopefully knocks on his apartment door, we cut back to our hero driving off into the night with a tear in his eye.
13. Note In The Wall – A Ghost Story (2017)
After millions of years of slinking around, C (Casey Affleck) finally retrieves the note left in the wall by M (Rooney Mara), reads it, and then vanishes. David Lowery’s film, which unexpectedly transcends into something vast and existential, contracts once again to end on this note of personal attachment and meaning.
12. Live As Monster Or Die As A Good Man – Shutter Island (2010)
Teddy (Leonardo DiCaprio) delivers a jaw-dropping line to Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) that reveals his true state of mind. One of the best shock endings of the decade, and subtly done too.
11. Cut! – The Artist (2011)
Peppy (Bérénice Bejo) and Valentin’s (Jean Dujardin) spectacular tap dancing sequence ends with the film’s first piece of dialogue. The reveal of Valentin’s French accent caps off this enchanting film wonderfully.
10. I’ll Never Love Again – A Star Is Born (2018)
Returning to her more stripped back self, Ally (Lady Gaga) belts out a rousing tribute to her tragically deceased husband, Jackson (Bradley Cooper). The scene takes on a personal note towards the end as we cut to the first time Jackson played the song for Ally.
9. This Is Where Your Life Is – Brooklyn (2015)
Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) chooses Tony (Emory Cohen) and explains her choice with an elegantly expressed narration that speaks to the immigrant experience.
8. Remember The Last Time I Saw You? – Moonlight (2016)
This is a beautiful scene in which Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) and Kevin (Andre Holland) find comfort in each other. The film ends with a soothing embrace between the two before cutting to young Chiron (Alex Hibbert) on the beach – the setting for many of his key life experiences.
7. The Bear In The Big Burning House – Midsommar (2019)
A masterful ending to Ari Aster’s daylight horror. Bobby Krlic’s stirring score and Florence Pugh’s breath-taking transformation make this a captivatingly disturbing film climax.
6. That’s My Tempo – Whiplash (2014)
A lengthy closing scene sees Andrew (Miles Teller) unleash all he has on the drum kit and ascend to intensely high standards of Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Gripping, passionate and highly rewarding.
5. Out Of The Window – Birdman (2014)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s open ending leaves us to question what is reality and what is delusion as Sam (Emma Stone) looks out of the window at her father. Has he jumped to his death? Or is he soaring above the rest of us?
4. Restaurant Walk – Carol (2015)
Therese (Rooney Mara) makes her way across a busy restaurant to reunite with Carol (Cate Blanchett) in the final scene of Todd Haynes’ film. This is a scene heighten by Edward Lachman nervy camerawork and Carter Burwell heart-fluttering score.
3. Epilogue – La La Land (2016)
Damien Chazelle’s film comes to a stirring close as two lovers are momentarily whisked away by thoughts of what could have been. An appreciative shared gaze across the bar puts a poignant final note on this magnificent musical.
2. Spinning Top – Inception (2010)
Perhaps the most widely discussed and debated film ending of the decade. Christopher Nolan leaves it to the viewer to decide whether Cobb’s (Leonardo Di Caprio) totem keeps spinning.
1. Would You Change Things? – Arrival (2016)
Max Ritcher’s music returns from the opening scene for revelatory, cyclical and deeply emotional climax to Denis Villeneuve’s film. Simply stunning.