I was watching a movie last night and I had what you’d call an epiphany moment about what type of movie experience I like to have. The movie was “Prime” with Uma Thurman (who played a 37-yr old divorcee) and Meryl Streep as her therapist. When Uma starts a relationship with a gorgeous 23-yr old guy (a very yummy and convincing Bryan Greenberg -right), Meryl suddenly realizes it’s her son. So, we have some good themes here, right? Older woman-younger guy, very traditional Jewish mom who wants her son to marry within the faith, plus issues of trust and betrayal. And it was a good movie… up until the ending. SPOILER ALERT!!!! Uma and Bryan break up, then get back together THEN when he wants to give her a baby (an underlying teaser throughout the movie, because Uma is hearing her body clock ticking) she refuses, saying she’d love it but it wouldn’t be right for him. Good sacrifice, yes? So then we go one year later and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘oooh, there’ll be a marriage, or at least the promise of one, maybe a baby…something.” Nup. Nothing. Nada. Bryan realizes his dream of painting, is about to jet off to Spain or somewhere, and he sees Uma in a restaurant with friends. Their eyes meet, they smile and then… nothing! Talk about being royally ripped off! Dammit. I’m still annoyed by it!
So now, when I pick up a movie billed as ‘romantic’, I’m Little Miss Skeptical. It was like Spanglish all over again, leading up to a promise, getting you to care about the characters (and dislike the horrid ones) then giving you the finger when you’re committed to an uplifting ending. Man, it doesn’t even have to be hearts-and-flowers marriage commitment – just give me that “aaaahhhh” feeling, dammit! I still remember praying for a good ending in The Lakehouse, because that movie had ‘potential sucky ending’ written all over it (which I also call “The English Patient” ending). And let’s not get started on sequels that ruin a perfectly good romantic relationship in the first movie – Speed, Miss Congeniality, to name two.
One exception – only because it was a beautifully filmed movie – was Titanic. And Rose did end up with Jack in the end anyway, even if it was bittersweet. But it was uplifting (even though many of you may disagree!)
Have you seen any movies that promised but didn’t deliver that happy and/or uplifting ending?