Twin Peaks taught us, “Owls are not what they seem.” So, many movies can be seen from a completely new perspective if you know the true meaning of their endings.
We at Bright Side have seen many movies that can only be understood if the director gives us subtle hints. We’re going to tell you about these movies and explain the meanings of the endings to some of the most twisted films in history. Be warned: this article contains spoilers and there’s a nice bonus at the end!
Mulholland Drive (2001)
This is one of those rare projects by David Lynch that has an unambiguous ending. However, despite the fact that every official DVD of the film has an attachment with 10 hints from the director, even they can’t help much when trying to crack the mystery of the film.
The movie touches on Lynch’s favorite topic of the “double world” and the story is split into 2 parts. The hints help us understand that in the real world, Diana ordered the murder of her friend Camilla and when she realized what she had done, she shot herself. At the same time, in a dream, Betty/Diana has a great relationship with Rita/Camilla. So, the first part of the film is Diana’s dream (where she is Betty), and the second part is the reality.
When watching the film, you should pay attention to 2 important details. The blue key is a sign of the murder and that the work has been done. When Betty sees it, she realizes that she can’t live with what happened. The Silencio Theater is in the scene when she’s in her dream and we realize it’s just that, a dream.
The story of a strange young woman told by Jean-Pierre Jeunet became really popular thanks to how naive and beautiful the film is. But it’s not all that simple. The movie is filled with hidden meanings and describes the initiation of Amélie, the crisis she is going through, and how she gets out of it.
In this case, the initiation is a psychological transition from being a girl to becoming a woman. In her childhood, Amélie didn’t get enough attention or understanding from her parents, so she lived in a world of fantasy for a long time and she is getting used to living in the real world.
Denis Villeneuve, the director of the film, described the meaning of his movie with the words of the main character. Antony is unhappy in his marriage to Helen and women are inside of his head making a spiderweb, and he wants to escape by cheating.
Adam is the bad side of Antony — he cheats on his wife with Mary. So, the main character wants to achieve 2 things at the same time: to be a good husband and to stay with his lover. This is impossible, so the cheating double dies in a car crash with the lover but the mistake turns into a mockery.
At the end of the movie, Antony does get back together with Helen but realizes that everything will happen again. His wife understands that too, so she turns into a giant spider. His enemy is himself, his nature, and his desires.
The Fountain (2006)
Darren Aronofsky’s philosophical movie is split into 3 interlinked plots. If you understand this connection, you’ll see the main point. In the first story, an oncologist named Tom is looking for a cure for Izzi, his wife who is dying of cancer. The second story is about the book Izzi is writing. The third shows Tom traveling through space looking for a mythical star, Xibalba.
In her novel, Izzi uses metaphors of her own life and shows her own attitude toward life and death; she believes in immortality but not within one body. She leaves the book unfinished in hopes that Tom will finish it and accept her death. At the same time, the movie takes us to space where Tom connects with the star — this is the moment when he accepts her death.
This was Aronofsky’s way of showing us the Eastern philosophy of life and death. All of us die but we don’t just disappear from this world, we’re just reborn into something new.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
Yorgos Lanthimos is one of the biggest metaphor artists in the world of cinema and his movies are never simple. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is no exception. This film is a reference to the ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides where King Agamemnon slew an animal sacred to Artemis and had to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia.
Surgeon Steven represents the king and Artemis is the weird kid Martin whose father died on the table and was the slain animal. Steven won’t admit his fault despite the fact that he was drunk while performing the surgery. But he doesn’t admit this even at the end when the forced victim (his son) is already killed and “justice” was restored despite if the main character was right or if he got what he wanted.
The “theater” in the movie directed by Lars von Trier makes us think about our own soul, morals, and the line where it all ends. Over the course of 8 chapters, Grace has to deal with what the people did to her and she justifies their actions. But it all ends with Dogville being burned in chapter 9.
The director showed that total forgiveness doesn’t make the world a better place, it only rewards the offenders. So, Lars von Trier says that total forgiveness and arrogance are the same things. Because when you don’t judge others by the same laws you judge yourself, it results in arrogance.
Justice should be restored and it does make the world a better place. But Grace had such a grudge that it made her burn the entire city to restore justice.
In her movie, Alex Garland showed us what seemed to be the most unusual alien invasion we’d ever seen. An asteroid fell onto the planet and a glowing area around it started to form. The anomaly is a prism that bends anything that gets inside of it, including genetic information.
There’s a direct parallel between this anomaly and a cancerous tumor. Because basically, cancer is a force that has no motivation but changes everything around it. At the end, there’s a scene with Lena who hugs her husband and has a glow in her eyes. It means that now, she is part of the anomaly. Additionally, it means that this is a happy ending for humanity that can overcome its mortal nature.
The Double (2013)
Richard Ayoade was great at capturing the essence of the story by Dostoyevsky that has the same name. This is not an adaptation, so there are differences in both the plot and the ending. Just like in the book version, the double is the result of a disease that is caused by the rejection of his own “self”. This becomes especially evident during the fight: Simon hits James and a mark appears on Simon’s face.
Likely, the dullness and the utopic nature of the world are both caused by the long-term depression of the main character. But the ending, unlike the book version, is a bit positive. At the end, we see Simon winning over the double and a jump out of the window symbolizes the new birth of the main character.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The film by Michel Gondry is a beautiful but complicated love story. It all starts with what appears to be the first meeting between the main characters that happened after the film’s main events. This underlines one of the most important ideas: if people were meant to be together, they will.
Most of the movie’s events happen in Joel’s head where he fights to keep memories about Clementine and realizes her importance in his life. The fight is lost and his memory is wiped, but his feelings are still there and they make them meet again.
Thanks to Mary, the characters find tapes with records of the negative moments of the past but Joel and Clementine are not scared by this anymore. The couple starts their relationship again, choosing a life that has both beautiful moments and dull days.
This is quite a hectic film directed by Steven Knight that didn’t get very good reviews but has a very unique plot twist. The entire film takes place in Patrick’s imagination while he was creating a computer game.
The father of the main character died at war, his mother lives with his tyrant stepfather, and Patrick escapes from reality by spending a lot of time in front of the computer. He creates a game where the main characters are the people from his life. The game is his way of preparing to kill his stepfather.
The Lobster (2015)
The Lobster is an allegory of relationships that is really absurd. There are no half-measures in the world, you are either in a couple or alone and if you take too much time to think, you’re turned into an animal. This is Yorgos Lanthimos’ way of showing how crazy all these approaches are because nobody can know what will happen.
The main character does everything he can to go away from the rules but his affection is still not sincere. And when his lover loses her vision, David doesn’t make the right decision which would be to stay with her no matter what. Instead, he decides to lose his eyes too in order to be more like her. But the ending is quite open-ended: he either runs away or stays with her, but blind.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)
This is a film that Terry Gilliam had been hoping to make for 29 years. Over time, the movie has acquired a lot of new meanings. This is a multidimensional film about director Toby Grisoni who met the hero of his old film about Don Quixote.
Finally, when the director gets the chance to release the film, he makes something different from what he planned originally. Instead of telling the story of Cervantes, he creates an illusion about his own attempts to shoot the film. So, in the end, Gilliam turns out to be the man who killed Don Quixote.
Lost Highway (1997)
There are a lot of ways to analyze Lost Highway but if we pay attention to the pre-premiere hint, we can get closer to the truth. Fugue state is a phrase that is in the commercial slogan of the film and in medicine, this term describes a psychological disorder where a person has selective amnesia.
The first half of the film tells the story of a musician named Fred Madison who kills his wife. This is the reality. The moment when Fred is magically replaced by an innocent mechanic named Pete can be explained by a fugue state where the brain creates a different personality in order to avoid traumatizing memories. This state can’t last forever and the fantasy disappears when Pete turns back into Fred. The Mystery Man plays a big role in the story, too. He is an abstraction of the main character’s madness.
So, in the second part of the film, we see the main character’s agony when he’s waiting for his execution. At the beginning of the film, Fred hears the phrase, “Dick Laurent is dead.” And at the end of the film, he says the same words which means that he admitted his guilt.
“They” are the people from the distant future who’ve managed to survive the crisis on Earth and create a wormhole near Saturn that leads to a black hole. They travel through the wormhole to help the humanity of the present to get inside the black hole and learn the secret of how to move from Earth in the most efficient way.
Inside the black hole, time doesn’t pass, it intersects with space. So, when Cooper gets inside the 5-dimensional cube created in the future, he’s outside of time. This is where he gives all the necessary calculations to his daughter.
With this scientifically accurate film, Christopher Nolan showed how people from the distant future can influence our reality.
Bonus: Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017)
After the 26-year-long wait, we still haven’t gotten a single answer to the questions about this iconic show by David Lynch. The new season only gave us more questions. We’ll say this: there isn’t one, single clear ending, but there are several versions.
Everything that happens in the show is the dream of Laura who is raped by her father. Her mother keeps turning a blind eye to it, so she impersonates evil. Agent Cooper is part of Laura’s subconsciousness that helps her fight her fear of reality.
The deliberately ideal ending with the death of evil Cooper is the moment when Laura accepts reality. She collected all the power she had and went to her parent’s home but they were not there anymore. So, the story of Twin Peaks is Laura Palmer’s path to healing.
Which of these movies seemed to be the most confusing to you?
Preview photo credit Annihilation / Paramount Pictures