In Arrival , Amy Adams’s character is haunted by visions of what we assume to be her past while trying to communicate with a new alien race. In the end, however, we find out that her visions of the past are actually visions of Louise’s future, which become vital in her journey to save the world.
After successfully saving mankind, Louise chooses to live her future, knowing that the pain of losing both her daughter and her husband awaits her down the line. Her “happy ending” is bittersweet because both the viewer and Louise know what’s coming.
The Shining director Stanley Kubrick decided to throw a big twist into the ending of the movie by showing Jack Torrance in an old picture of the Overlook Hotel. For years, fans have debated what the photo means, but they haven’t been able to come up with a logical answer.
Considering Kubrick likes to mess with his audience, it’s likely that the picture doesn’t actually mean anything. Instead, it was just an attempt to add a little intrigue at the end without contributing to the overall story. It has certainly kept people guessing, which is precisely what Kubrick wanted.
After his ex-wife Susan (Amy Adams) leaves him because she doesn’t believe in his talent, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) sends a copy of his new book for Susan to read. She’s quickly caught up in the story and ends the film asking to meet with Edward again, in part to tell him she’s impressed with his manuscript.
When the day of the date comes, however, Susan is stood up. The entire movie is simply a metaphor for Susan and Edward’s relationship that allows him to finally get his feelings out about their dissolution.
The Babadook features a mother and son who accidentally summon a terrifying monster out of a children’s book. The monster possesses the mother, and the child is forced to beat the demon on his own.
After the son sends the demon away, however, it appears to disappear into the basement. At the end of the film, the mother brings a bowl of worms downstairs to feed the Babadook. While some fans took this to mean that the monster never disappeared, others assumed that the monster was simply a manifestation of the mother’s own grief at the loss of her husband.
The Tree of Life
It wasn’t just the ending of The Tree of Life that was a little confusing—it was the whole movie. It centers primarily on a family living in a Texas town, though their lives are intercut with other scenes that represent everything from the dawn of time to the afterlife.
Director Terrence Malick never specified exactly what the movie was about. However, film critics have suggested that the movie prompts you to reflect on all the good and bad in your own life and how it fits into the bigger picture.