You know that feeling when you leave a movie and you're all like, "What the hell did I just see?!" So do we. These three films left viewers scratching their heads thanks to confusing endings, so we tried to make a little sense out of the mystery. Take a look for yourself to see if the explanations clarify anything for you.
SPOILER ALERT! These are about movie ENDINGS, so if you don't want to know how a film ends, then look away.
'Life Of Pi' — Does Richard Parker Even Exist?
After Pi gets picked up on the beach, he tells the officials questioning him the story about surviving at sea for 227 days with a tiger. When they don't believe him, he tells them an alternative story involving his mother, a sailor, the chef from the sunken ship and himself, instead of the story with Richard Parker. A lot of moviegoers took this ending to mean that the entire story had actually been a figment of Pi's imagination, and that the real story was the more believable one. But that's just not true!
Pi promised us a story about faith, and he gives us a choice between a dark, probable story or a tragic but adventure-packed one that, yes, requires a little belief in something mystical. So as long as you have some faith, then you don't have to let Richard Parker go altogether.
'Inception' — Is It But A Dream?
Christopher Nolan's Inception is already pretty confusing, given that people keep dropping in and out of other people's dreams like it's no big thang. Even the characters themselves get confused and have to carry around little totems to help them distinguish between dream and reality. The main character Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has a spinning-top totem. It spins without falling when he's dreaming. In the last scene of the movie, Cobb lets the top go on a table, then he runs off to see his children. The camera closes in on the top, just spinning and spinning and wobbling ever so slightly, and then shuts off! We don't know if it falls down or not, so most viewers assume that he must be stuck in a fantasy. However, in an interview with The Independent, Nolan says:
"The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Cobb — he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality. He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid."
So the point is not that Cobb is stuck in a dream, it's that he chooses to be with his kids, and that's a valid reality on its own. Y'geddit?
'Black Swan' — Does Nina Die?
At the end of Black Swan, things look pretty bleak for Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman). At first we thought she killed Lily (Mila Kunis), but then it turns out she's stabbed herself. After dancing the final dance as the Swan Queen, she leaps off the set onto a mattress and starts to bleed out. There's so much blood all over her white costume, and the screen fades to white as though she's going into the afterlife. But is she?
Well, maybe. But maybe not. The film is such a reality-twisting psycho-thriller, it's hard to tell which parts are real and which aren't. If we accept that the film is a metaphor for growing up, then it's possible that Nina doesn't actually die, only her "white swan," or her little-girl side has to go.
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