I was on a Eva Airlines flight this weekend to Shanghai, and one of the movies you could watch (kind of random actually) was Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset". I saw it a few years ago and remembered the ending being really good, but watching it again, even on a 6" screen - it's pretty fantastic. As "Just in Time" plays in the background, Julie Delpy does her Nina Simone impression, and Ethan Hawke sits their on that couch...heartbreaking.
So for fun here's a quick list of some of my favorite movie endings. Perhaps not so coincidentally, many of them also fall into the heartbreaking category:
Brothers Stanley Tucci and Tony Shahloub in the kitchen in the early morning. Stanley Tucci cooks up an omelette and serves it. All in one long take.
Ethan Hawke sitting on a couch, debating whether or not he should get on a plane and leave the woman he's been obsessing over for the last 9 years. "Baby, you are gonna miss that plane". "I know."
Woody Allen runs to Mariel Hemingway's apartment, only to find that she's leaving for London. He tries to convince her to stay, but it's too late. Despite being only seventeen, she's the one that has to console him. "You have to have a little faith in people." Cut to a shot of the sun rising over the Manhattan skyline.
"Hannah and her Sisters"
Woody Allen's character, obsessed throughout the film with his own mortality (perhaps because he's sterile), finally finds true love with his ex-wife's sister. Embracing and looking into the mirror together, she tells him "I'm pregnant".
Melora Walters suddenly looks up, right at camera and smiles...just as Aimee Mann's "Save You" kicks in.
"Empire of the Sun"
Christian Bale finally closes his eyes and falls asleep on his mother's shoulder. One of my first images ever that I can remember from a movie.
The entire movie up to the ending was all about precision (perfect compositions, camera moves, editing and pacing). In the very last shot (a bookend to the opening shot), Bong Joon-Ho goes fucking nuts. Out of nowhere - shaky handheld with the sun literally smashing into the lens. And a bus-full of dancing Ajimas.
Yang-Yang (Jonathan Chang) reading a tender letter to his grandmother at her funeral...truly heart-wrenching.
"Eat Drink Man Woman"
The daughter we least expected would end up back at home, cooks up a meal for her father who can no longer taste anything...until now. He looks up and says "Daughter".
Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine sit together on the couch. He tries to confess his feelings for her. She hands him a deck of cards. "Shut up and deal". Lovely.
"Be Kind Rewind"
Their little neighborhood video store is about to be shut down, but not before they get to screen one last homemade movie ("Fats Waller Lived Here"). In the last shot of the film, we see that the entire neighborhood has come out to watch it...
Harry Dean Stanton standing alone in a parking lot, looking up at the high-rise building where his son and Natasha Kinksi are finally reunited...
Probably one of the most famous movie endings of all time. Once-blind Virgina Cherill realizes when she touches the Tramp's hands that he was the Millionaire all along. "I can see now"...