I always tell my students not to conclude their stories with “The End.” If they have written their story well, we should be able to figure out that it is the end without them telling us. I also then admit to them that I think crafting a good ending is probably the hardest thing about writing. I agonize over it forever, rewriting, revising, and sometimes settling for a mediocre ending just because my non-writing life has to go on after that conclusion.
That said, I really appreciate a great ending–both in books and in movies. The creativity and effort that has gone into their conclusions makes certain works stick out in my mind. The other night, for example, I caught the last twenty minutes or so of the movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary. It’s an okay movie–not a favorite–but I really love the ending: the fight scene, her parents reuniting, her crazy, supportive friends, her realization of the lie that made her wrongly judge Mark Darcy, and the usual Bridget bumbling and fumbling that led to great embarrassment but eventually to her getting her guy. A good ending. Worth revisiting.
This got me thinking. What other books and movies have those endings that I would love to go back to–even for just a few minutes or chapters? (Spoiler alert–I’ll try not to be too specific about these endings, but I can’t make any promises.)
- J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Yes, of course, I expected great things from Harry, Ron, and Hermoine in this final book of the amazing series. Surprisingly, however, it was Neville Longbottom’s triumphant actions and Mrs. Weasley’s kicking butt after such great loss that really made my heart race during the final battle at Hogwarts.
Some Kind of Wonderful — My best friend in high school, Jill, and I would actually watch this 80’s teen masterpiece and rewind the ending just to see Eric Stoltz bite his lip before running to the girl he was meant to be with all along. Good writing or just good acting? Not sure, but I can still picture it.
- Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee — When Amanda Beale comes with Mars Bar to the buffalo pen to give Maniac a piece of her mind and to finally call him home–this makes me laugh and cry every time I read it to my students.
- Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner — I still can remember the hope and possibility surrounding that final scene of flying kites in the book. To go from such amazing tragedy throughout the story to finally a glimmer of something good again. It was too beautiful.
Those are just a few of the great endings that stick out to me right now–worthy of a reread or a re-view. If you only had 15-20 minutes, what ending would you revisit?
Oh, and on that note (and this is for all of my past and future students)…