Ambiguous endings in films/novels

  • Love 'em
  • Hate 'em

0 voters

For example, you’re left not knowing if the main character is dead or alive at the end. I’m not including films where it’s a cliff-hanger for the next film in the series, I’m talking standalone films (or novels).

Feel free to discuss your favourite ambiguous endings.

Ambiguous ending where it fits in with the theme of the thing, and also makes you question some of the things that happened earlier in a way that fits in with the themes of the whole piece → :cook: :ok_hand:

Ambiguous ending where it feels like they never had an idea on how to end it and this was easier than making sense of all the wild ideas they threw at it previously → :cook: :poop:


The thing about ambiguous endings is that maybe I like them. But maybe I don’t.


There are good and bad ambiguous endings. Just like there are good and bad biguous endings. Am/biguous doesn’t determine it, all the other shit like writing and how well it fits with the themes of the work do.

Yes I know that biguous is not a word. It should be.


It does very much depend on just how its done. I think it depends on how invested you are in the character(s). If its someone you’ve really got behind then it can make sense to leave this ambiguous for you to draw your own conclusions. Usually though I find them annoying and a bit of a cop out

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At the end of Inception was he asleep, wasn’t he asleep? Some people may have found it interesting to ponder this ambiguity, but if you ask me, I was more interested that the film was over and I could go home.

Only other ambiguous ending I can think of is Twin Peaks, which absolutely fucked incredibly hard. I love it. No idea what went on.


I really feel strongly about them. I absolutely


You’re right of course. I thought the ending of Inception was great. But the ending of Lost Daughter has driven me crazy.

In what sense? I don’t think the ending to that was ambiguous!

I think they’re great because i like annoyed and confused faces

Feel really really ubiquitous at the moment and think they’re rarely earned. Majority of the time I walk away thinking ‘they didn’t know how to end it’, instead of ‘ooo intersting I wonder what happened next’. Particularly an issue with buzzy indie films I think

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Lost Daughter spoiler - is she alive or dead at the end? She wakes up in the morning with an orange and her phone, neither of which she had the night before and has a lovely conversation with not one, but both her daughters, and says “I’m alive”. In the book she says “I’m dead”

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I know writers who use ambiguous endings, and they’re all cowards


Goin to watch all these movies I’ve not seen knowing there’s an ambiguous ending…
or will I?

Less ambiguous endings - MORE ambiguous beginnings!


I like how people get angry when you suggest it’s not possible to know if Tony soprano is dead or not

See also: Lost. Refuse to tell the audience anything to create mystery, then absolutely fuck it.

Of course it may just be that all the writers had was a massive box with a question mark painted on it, rather than actual answers.


Sopranos? Ambiguous on first watch, but with a bit of thought there is more than enough info given to reach a conclusion, even if David Chase still refuses to confirm one way or another.



Don’t give a fuck. All about the journey for me. A friend asked me if they thought Colman was alive or dead at the end of The Lost Daughter. Couldn’t remember anything about the end of the film and if it was even ambiguous. That might just be me having awful memory.