12 Movies That Tricked You Into Thinking They Had Happy Endings

The cinema's a very downbeat place.

Inception Dicaprio
Warner Bros.

Who doesn€™'t love a happy ending? Some will say there€™s something to a bit recollective depression, but few screen moments can rival George Bailey wanting to live again or Carl Fredricksen finding a new lease of life. A good dose of optimism in the cinema is the ideal antidote to the crushing depression of the real world (seriously, have you seen how bleak it is out there). Heck, end happy and you can even get away with (on-screen) murder.

Slumdog Millionaire's full-cast Bollywood dance at the end, made up for two hours chock full of eye gouging and gangster killings. This coloured the feeling of the film so much the film posters even bore a review claim €œfeel-good film of the year€. Some films are so desperate to add in a happy ending they€™'ll do it at the expense of narrative coherence.

Ending the film before disaster sets in? Totally misrepresenting events? Just ignoring the nasty bits? As long as it€™'s nice and cheery these twelve films don€™t really care.

12. Avatar - Jake Has Doomed Humanity

Avatar faces
20th Century Fox

The Allegedly Happy Ending: A film about environmentalism that made stupid people want to commit suicide because they found a CGI construct more inviting than the Earth, Avatar is the biggest film of all time. Amazing what the possibility of alien boob will do to people.

The story is deviously simple. Bad men are desecrating natural beauty. In space. At the end, Jake €˜John Dunbar€™ Sulley manages to send the humans packing, saving the luscious Pandora from deforestation.

The Depressing Truth: Why are humans on Pandora in the first place? To get unobtanium, which sells at extortionately high prices for some reason (maybe it gives screenwriters creativity). Now the implication (and it really is an implication given the five seconds the film spends on it) is that Earth is dying and humanity need this magic rock to survive. So when Jake sends all the humans away he€™s actually dooming his homeworld. But hey, they were being mean, there was no other choice, right?

Hell yeah there was another choice; that was the whole point of the avatars. It€™s easy to forget after that arse-numbing run time, but the whole reason military action took over was because Jake started diverging from his mission. Which was to negotiate with the natives as to avoid conflict. Damn it Jake.


Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.