As I believe I've mentioned, I'm in the business of helping characters live happily ever after.
But I've got to admit, some of my favorite stories – even my favorite love stories – don't always meet that criteria. Sometimes a tragic or poignant ending is just what's needed.
Below, you'll find some of my favorite stories – some on film, some in books -- that don't end with that traditional happily-ever-after. And although I won't go into great detail, since I'm going to be discussing endings, let me preface the rest of this blog entry with: SPOILER ALERT!!
Casablanca: There's a reason this is considered one of the greatest movies of all time. Take two star-crossed lovers, give them an unresolvable conflict – then manage to have them part and leave the audience feeling good about it. Every scene in this movie is fabulous, but that ending … Here's looking at you, kid.
The Great Gatsby: Oh, I loved this book. At first I didn't think I'd be able to relate to any of the characters, but when I discovered the lengths Gatsby went to for love, I was blown away. He created a complete, artificial persona, yet he was so much more real than the people around him. At the end, he's destroyed by his own idealistic vision of Daisy, but I'm still consoled by Nick's final words to his friend: “You're worth the whole damn bunch put together.”
Roman Holiday: When you start with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, it would be hard to go wrong. And the writers don't go wrong. They even have the guts to resist working out an unlikely Hollywood ending that would make it possible for the couple to be together. It's lump-in-the-throat time, but it's so rewarding.
Tucker: He loses the battle, but it's a triumph of the spirit when he invites the jurors out for a ride in those beautiful, non-existent cars.
Gone With the Wind: Readers and moviegoers may disagree on whether Scarlett could ever get Rhett back, but there's no denying this is one of the most unforgettable endings of all time!
How about you? Which tragic/tear-jerker endings stand out in your mind?