Lindsay Pietroluongo – Happy Movie Endings That Aren’t - Daily Hudson Valley News

Lindsay Pietroluongo – Happy Movie Endings That Aren’t

Mar 14th, 2013 | By | Category: Lifestyle

Movie Endings That Really Aren’t as Happy as They Seem

For many movies, the term “happy ending” is a mind trick. Does “happy” mean having to pull yourself up by your bootstraps to deal with life as you now know it? No? Then Hollywood directors lied to us (shocking, I know). Give these not-so-happy endings a second thought – they’re really, well, kind of depressing. Solid effort in trying to convince us otherwise, though – applause all around.

The Matrix Trilogy

Neo may talk a bit of sense into the machines that have taken over humanity, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when you think about it. Sure, the humans can be free of the Matrix if they choose to be. But there’s a reason why Neo said that nobody should ever find out what the Matrix is. When people learn that they’ve been living in a fictional land because the real world has basically been destroyed, society ain’t gonna take the news so well. The big question will likely be, “Why couldn’t the Matrix just have counteracted the machines? Or at least given us food when we were starving?” The answer? “Umm, because… we just didn’t.”


Robin Williams’ character in Jack is extremely true-to-life for the actor: a kid trapped in an adult’s body. At the end of the movie, Jack’s classmates finally accept and love him for exactly who he is. And who is he? He’s a child who’s not going to live past his teenage years, if he even makes it that far. See, Jack has a rare genetic disorder that causes him to age four times faster than normal. What makes this even worse is that there’s an actual condition like this, called Progeria, and most children with Progeria don’t make it past thirteen years old. The movie’s ending may be joyful, but the real ending for this fictional character is far from happy.

Back to the Future

After going back in time and helping his father become the man he never was (until the future, of course), Marty McFly heads back to the future to find his formerly depressing and dysfunctional family happy and actually getting along. Plus, Biff the bully is washing Dad McFly’s car and Marty has a shiny new truck. Not too shabby for his first stint at time travel.  Except, does Marty really know his new and improved family? These people are basically strangers to him, other than their appearances. He also doesn’t seem to have memories of what really happened as he was growing up, which is pretty sad if you think about it. How will he keep up with conversations at the dinner table? How long will it be until his family sends him to the psych ward to deal with his undisclosed bout of amnesia?

Pete’s Dragon

Just about every Disney movie ends with an overtly sad turn of events that you’re supposed to think are actually uplifting. Remember Pete’s Dragon? Elliot (the dragon) comes to rescue Pete’s sad existence as the son of a drunkard dad and a prostitute mother. Things turn around for Pete thanks to Elliot, but at the end, Elliot leaves his buddy high and dry, promising to never, ever return again. Ever.


Lindsay Pietroluongo is a full-time freelance writer in the Hudson Valley. Her work has appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal and Chronogram magazine. Lindsay also writes business content and marketing materials for professionals. Visit Lindsay on the Rocks and Poison Apple Ink to learn more. Lindsay can be seen on Hudson Valley Insider each Thursday under the Lifestyle section.


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