10 Unhappy Movie Endings With Overlooked Positives

Sometimes movies can be pretty heartbreaking. From cancer in Terms of Endearment to bees in My Girl, deaths in film…

Nick F



Sometimes movies can be pretty heartbreaking. From cancer in Terms of Endearment to bees in My Girl, deaths in film have affected us in memorable and tear-jerking ways. Other times, the tragedy isn’t centered around death but love lost, as in the cult hit Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. These moments cause emotional resonance that leave audiences crest-fallen, giving them something to chew on long after the end credits have faded and the theater lights have again brightened the cinema.

But as we repeatedly had shoved down our throats by Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, sometimes seemingly tragic events have silver linings. In life, this may manifest as a car accident victim being an organ donor, saving the lives of many others in a final act of charity. And film, of course, gives us ample opportunities to find similar moments in which the apparently mournful finales actually have an upside.

In this article, a companion piece to the recent WhatCulture article that looked at seemingly happy endings that may have had terrible implications, we try to look at the bright side of life. So quit your crying and join us as we put a positive spin on some movies that have depressed you.

And of course, thar be spoilers ahead.


10. Life is Beautiful


The Sad:

People now often see Roberto Benigni’s 1997 film as slight and a bit shallow, but his idea to create a comedy out of a harrowing event like the Holocaust is actually rather audacious. The film follows as Guido, an enigmatic and charming Italian Jew, is sent to a concentration camp with his young son Joshua. Unwilling to make his son aware of the horrors committed by the Nazis, Guido convinces his son that their hardships are actually a part of a game in which the winners will receive a tank.

As the film winds down and the Allies are on the verge of liberating the camp, Guido is pulled away by a Nazi, and executed just out of the line of sight of his boy, who is hiding from the safety of a sweatbox.

The Silver Lining:

The concentration camp was liberated and the young Joshua survives. Of course it’s sad that his father and so many others perished in the film, but Joshua making it to the other side of the concentration camp walls is an occurrence that many weren’t so fortunate to experience.