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Monday, January 28, 2013

The power of a sad ending

I don't know about you, but a tragic story can sometimes pull me in like no other story can. Such a story is one of my favorite films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The story follows a slight re-imagining of the Batman character known in the original animated series. He is heroic and steadfast, never seeming to waver in the purity of his heart.

In this particular film, the criminal masterminds were once part of a common brotherhood, but now someone is taking them out, one-by-one.

During the course of the film, Bruce Wayne's passionate love for Andrea Beaumont is revealed when she returns unexpectedly to Gotham. The movie shifts seamlessly between the present troubles and Batman's flashbacks.

The script for this is amazing. It grabs from the get go and there is no happy ending to the tale. And yet, it has become a cult classic, and I understand why.

This has made me sit back and re-evaluate the contemporary stories playing out on screen and in books. Most stories, especially the superhero type, have happy endings and there are few permanent losses that the heroes and heroines must endure. As storytellers, are we forgetting the power of a sad ending? Are we afraid to let a beloved character die, and are we afraid to make our heroes stalwart and true?

So here is a tip of my hat to the stories of yesteryears, and the tragedies that hooked me and stayed in my memory.

What movies and books had this effect on you?


Writer4Christ said...

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It was a great movie but no one else in my family liked it because it didn't have a happy ending. But that's what made it pop out.

Anonymous said...

This book/movie goes back to my childhood, late 70s early 80s. Where the Red Fern Grows. It is very moving with sad ending but ir has stayed with me all this years.

Anonymous said...

Though I have not yet come upon a book or movie that has a sad ending (and I am sure I will), the story I am writing with a friend will. I now believe that a tragic story is the most powerful of all.

Scott Appleton said...

Hmm... Writer4Christ I have never heard of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Is it good?

Scott Appleton said...

Anonymous #1, yes! Where the Red Fern Grows was an amazing film! I grew up on movies like that one.


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.