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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When Good Movies Have Bad Endings

"Lincoln" is among the films that has been criticized for its ending. (Disney-DreamWorks II)

“Lincoln” is among the films that has been criticized for its ending. (Disney-DreamWorks II)

Several of this year’s Best Picture nominees have been drawing criticism for their finales.

“Life of Pi” has a somewhat ambiguous conclusion that asks the audience to decide what the truth is.

“Lincoln,” “Django Unchained” and “Les Miserables” seem to end multiple times.

Steven Zeitchik, who writes about film for the Los Angeles Times told Here & Now’s Robin Young that audiences want to feel satisfied at the end of a film.

“[That] doesn’t mean it has to be neat, doesn’t mean it has to be purely historical, but it has to encapsulate what came before – maybe open up a new can of worms – but certainly leave viewers with a certain sense of satisfaction,” Zeitchik said. “For a lot of people, ‘Lincoln’ just didn’t do it.”

Some movie endings fail by trying to both surprise the viewer and provide closure, Zeitchik said.

“I think there’s an expectation now that endings have to do several things at once,” he said. “More often than not, when you try that hard, you pretty much fail.”

What movie endings do you take issue with? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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