6 Movie Endings That Audiences—and Critics—Absolutely Hate
From sci-fi blunders to rom-com mistakes, these finales did not go over well.
If you commit two hours to watching a movie, you likely want to feel satisfied by the time the credits role. But, of course, that doesn't happen 100 percent of the time. Even some otherwise enjoyable, sensical movies don't stick the landing. And then there are those already lackluster films that are capped off with even worse finales. One of the biggest film hits of all time even has an ending that is still being discussed and dissected 25 years later. Read on for six movie endings hated by critics and audiences alike. Spoilers ahead, obviously.
READ THIS NEXT: 7 Classic Movies That You Can't Watch Anywhere.
By 2004, writer and director M. Night Shyamalan's name was synonymous with twist endings, thanks to his earlier hits, The Sixth Sense and Signs. But the reveal at the end of The Village wasn't quite so well-received. The movie appears to be about an 1800s community, who are threatened by mysterious creatures living in the forrest surrounding their home. But the audience learns towards the end that the movie is set in the 21st century, and that the characters are actually members of a cult, who are being tricked by their leaders so that they won't ever venture out into the modern world.
"The twist, of course, is That of Which We Must Not Speak, but I suspect many viewers will see it coming for a country mile," reads Newsweek's review. The Evening Standard concluded, "Frankly, if you believe this twaddle, you'll believe anything, and if you believe anything, you don't need to go to the films – you can just sit at home and fantasize for free."
The 2010 romance Remember Me didn't need a twist ending, but it got one—and one that many viewers found distasteful. During most of the film, two college students, Tyler (Robert Pattinson) and Ally (Emilie de Ravin) fall in love while confronting trauma from their pasts and drama within their families. In the beginning of the conclusion, it's revealed that the date is Sept. 11, 2001, and that Tyler is visiting his father's office in the World Trade Center. The film ends with his death and the other characters moving on afterward.
The Guardian wrote of Remember Me, "Tyler, it transpires, is about to be stitched into history in a most cheap and tawdry fashion" and called the movie an "oddly exploitative affair." In its review, E! News explained that "the use of those history-changing attacks—as, essentially, a vehicle for tear-jerking romance—feels cheap and manipulative."
Titanic, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary, is still beloved today, but one aspect of the ending is still bothering fans. It's not the fact that Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) dies at the end that's the problem, it's how he dies. Rather than floating on a door with Rose (Kate Winslet), he succumbs to the the freezing water.
Whether Jack could have reasonably been held aloft on the door with Rose has been debated endlessly, including in an experiment on an episode of MythBusters. In December 2022, Winslet even said that she was body shamed by journalists and fans after Titanic's release, who said that Jack could have fit on the door if she were smaller.
"Apparently, I was too fat," Winslet said on the podcast Happy Sad Confused (via BuzzFeed). "Why were they so mean to me? They were so mean. I wasn't even [expletive] fat. If I could turn back the clock, I would've used my voice in a completely different way."
The 2014 science fiction movie Lucy stars Scarlett Johansson as a woman who develops all sorts of superhuman abilities after being forcibly exposed to a drug. When telepathy, time travel, and extreme strength are not enough, Lucy becomes an all-knowing omnipresence that can no longer be contained to a human form, making for a confusing ending to the film.
Many reviewers praised the action, Johansson's acting, and even the absurd plot, but the ending didn't go over well with everyone. The Toronto Star's review said of the finale, "[I]t's in the film's final throes that [director Luc] Besson lets his audience down badly, delivering a conclusion that falls flat, feeling both anti-climactic and unsatisfactory."
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Yesterday is a comedy about a struggling musician named Jack (Himesh Patel) survives an accident to find that he's the only person in the world who remembers the existence of the Beatles. So, he begins performing their songs as his own, before learning lessons about love and honesty as he achieves fame. The twist towards the end of the movie is that Jack gets to meet John Lennon (Robert Carlyle), who—in this universe—is still alive and had never been part of the band.
This inclusion of Lennon in the 2019 film was divisive, though the remaining Beatles and the musician's widow Yoko Ono were supportive.
"Yesterday makes some really strange and questionable choices, especially in a late, pivotal scene surely designed to touch our hearts but coming across (at least to this reviewer) as shameless and manipulative and, to use a technical term, icky," read the Chicago Sun-Times' review. Meanwhile, the review on RogerEbert.com explained, "I am conflicted about a choice made late in the film. You'll know it when you see it. It felt cheap to me, and also strangely underdeveloped…"
War of the Worlds
Based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name, 2005's War of the Worlds stars Tom Cruise as Ray, a man trying to protect his family during an alien invasion. While the aliens are able to cause a lot of destruction on Earth, it turns out that they cannot survive for long due to their immune systems not being able to protect them against the planet's microbes. But, the antagonists being felled by bacteria wasn't the only the issue viewers had with the movie. The fact that Ray's family was somehow able to survive everything when so many others didn't was also a problem.
Director Steven Spielberg himself once admitted that the ending of War of the Worlds isn't great. "The film doesn't have a good ending. I never could figure out how to end that darn thing," he said as part of the book James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction (via Digital Spy).