The conclusion is always one of the most essential segments of the entire movie. Though most movies have a clear and undisputed ending, there are a few exceptions that tend to finish with a divisive moment that allows the viewers to interpret the scene according to their own perceptions. Here are the 15 great movies with ambiguous endings:
15. Broken Flowers (2005)
Starring comedy icon Bill Murray, Broken Flowers centers on Don Johnston. While enjoying his retirement, he gets shocked after receiving a letter from an unnamed girlfriend who alleges that he has a nineteen-year-old son who is searching for him.
In the hopes of finding his son, Johnston reaches out to four former girlfriends who could potentially be the mother of their child. After all four visits end up fruitless, he sees a young man in a Volkswagen Beetle. The song playing in the car is the same one Johnston listened to in one of his previous trips.
Though the movie never explicitly states that he had witnessed his son in the car, it is interesting to note that the young man was portrayed by none other than Murray’s real son, Homer Murray.
14. Total Recall (1990)
When construction worker Douglas Quaid decides to implant fake memories of himself visiting planet Mars for a secret mission, the operation immediately backfires. As it turns out, the memories were real and he soon discovers that he was once a secret agent by the name of Carl Hauser.
The plot gets even more complicated as the movie progresses but just as it’s about to end, Quaid wonders if it’s all just a dream. Instead of searching for answers, he kisses Melina, a woman from his dreams.
13. The Graduate (1967)
21-year old Williams College graduate Benjamin Braddock cannot bear the love of his life Elaine Robinson getting married to someone else. Merely seconds after she gets married in the church, Benjamin crashes the wedding and runs away with her.
As the two lovebirds hurriedly sit in the backseat of a bus passing by, they seem to be overjoyed. As the bus drives further, their face expressions gradually alter from cheerful to low-spirited as if they have regrets over what they had just done or seem to have anxiety about what the future might hold.
12. Lost in Translation (2003)
Veteran movie star Bob Harris is in Japan to shoot an ad for Suntory whiskey but is distracted due to his tumultuous marriage. He soon finds comfort by befriending a young college graduate Charlotte who is staying in the same hotel as him.
The crux of their friendship is witnessed in a heartfelt moment as the two hug in a crowded street to say goodbye. Before Bob departs, he whispers something in the ear of the weeping Charlotte. His inaudible words definitely consoled her but left the viewers distressed about what he said.
11. American Psycho (2010)
To say that New York investment banker Patrick Bateman is a man of violent tastes would certainly be an understatement. He spends a great deal of his time in murdering people through extremely brutal ways. Or does he?
One day, he leaves a long confession about his misdeeds on his lawyer’s answering machine but in the next morning, it is discovered that none of his violent actions ever occurred and he would always escape the punishment he deserves.
10. Shutter Island (2010)
United States Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels travels to Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island to track down the escaped resident Rachel Solando. However, the entire scenario is revealed to be a clever scheme planned by the doctors to capture him, who himself is a patient, in order to medically treat him.
It is revealed that Teddy’s real name is Andrew Laeddis and he had become insane after murdering his wife who had drowned their children. As a result of his insanity, he lost the entire track of his life and the scheme was plotted to remind him of the reality.
Just when it seemed that Andrew is cured, he apparently relapses and is escorted to be lobotomized. Prior to being taken away, he asks what would be worse – to live as a monster or to die as a good man? Upon closer inspection, the question spells out the possibility of Andrew actually pretending to have a relapse so he could be lobotomized because he cannot bear to live with the pain of what he had done.
9. The Wrestler (2008)
Professional wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson is no longer the superstar he once was during the 1980s. Past his prime and wrestling in the independent circuit, it is apparent that he should have retired long ago as age is definitely catching up to him.
Following a hardcore match, Randy suffers a heart attack and undergoes coronary artery bypass surgery. The doctor reveals that his heart can no longer bear a strenuous activity and he might not be so lucky if he wrestles again.
In an attempt to revisit his glory days, Randy wrestles a rematch with his most memorable opponent The Ayatollah. Despite experiencing chest pain during the match and The Ayatollah suggesting to end the match prematurely, Randy valiantly insists to continue as planned.
As he dives off the top turnbuckle to execute his finishing move known as the Ram Jam, the screen abruptly cuts to black, leaving the audience wondering whether Randy would have survived or not.
8. Memento (2000)
Who can ever forget the jaw-dropping directional debut made by Christopher Nolan when Memento was released? The psychological thriller movie showcases the amnesiac insurance investigator Leonard Shelby on the hunt for his wife’s murderer.
His search was not without its stumbles as Leonard is incapable of forming new memories and relies on the notes he pens down on a piece of paper. Though a cop reveals that it was none other than Leonard who had killed his wife, Memento beautifully persuades the viewers in believing that the mystery is yet to be solved.