Top 10 Best Movie Endings of the 2000s



Top 10 Best Movie Endings of the 2000s

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Thomas O'Connor
These great films from the 2000s really stuck the landing! From The Others, to Saw, to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mine, these decade defining classics have endings that still stick with us today. WatchMojo ranks the best movie endings of the 2000s.

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Special thanks to our user Sanjeev Srivatsan for suggesting this idea!
A great film deserves a great conclusion… and these did not disappoint. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Movie Endings of the 2000s.

For this list, we’re looking at the very best movie endings from the first century of the new millenium, so anything between 2000 and 2009. Obviously, there will be major spoilers.

#10: “The Others” (2001)

Even before the jaw-dropper of an ending, this gothic horror movie starring Nicole Kidman is a captivating and terrifying ride. But that ending pushes the film from frightfest to absolute rollercoaster. After watching Kidman’s family seemingly encounter a succession of terrifying apparitions, the final scene reveals that we’ve actually had it backwards the whole time. We learn that Kidman and her family are the ghosts, and the visions they’ve been seeing are in fact their home’s new tenants. It’s a wonderfully executed twist that throws a delightful wrench into the classic haunted house formula and finishes the film on a tragic note.

#9: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

The secret to a great movie twist is that it re-contextualizes what we’ve seen up until that point, making us see previous scenes in a new light. And the twist from Michel Gondry’s 2004 sci-fi romance does just that. After undergoing a procedure to eliminate all memories of their relationship, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet’s characters meet at a train station, at which point we realize that the first scene of the movie is actually their second meeting. After learning that they had been in a relationship and had their memories erased, the two decide to try again in spite of the risk that history might repeat itself.

#8: “Saw” (2004)

When two unsuspecting victims awaken to find themselves chained up in a bathroom with two hacksaws and a corpse to keep them company, the stage is set for one of the most nail-biting and shocking horror films of the decade. Faced with the choice of either killing each other or cutting off their legs to escape, the pair soon deduce that they’re the latest victims of the notorious Jigsaw killer. But in a shocking twist, the corpse in the room is eventually revealed to be very much alive, and the Jigsaw killer himself to boot. The franchise never again reached the heights of this incredible ending.

#7: “In the Mood for Love” (2000)

Wong Kar-Wai’s legendary romance film centers on a man and a woman who form an unlikely bond when they learn that their respective spouses are having an affair together. United by this shared trauma, the two begin a friendship that slowly evolves into something more as they develop feelings for one another. But in the end the two part ways, unable to engage in the same kind of betrayal that they fell victim to. In the closing scene, the male lead whispers a secret into a hollow in a wall, referencing an earlier scene and ending the film on an ambiguous and melancholy note that still makes us tear up no matter how many times we rewatch it.

#6: “The Departed” (2006)

Martin Scorsese's twisting tale of betrayal and violence is not shy when it comes to character deaths, with the vast majority of the cast winding up with their brains decorating nearby walls. But just when we think that Matt Damon’s character, a mobster placed inside the Boston police, has escaped the bloodbath, here comes Marky Mark Wahlberg with one last bullet to close the film out. The shocking final scene ends with Damon dead on the floor, one last victim of the brutal cycle of revenge and betrayal that formed the heart of Scorsese's modern-day crime epic. Oh, and swearing. Swearing was a big part of it too.

#5: “No Country for Old Men” (2007)

Like many of the Coen brothers movies, their 2007 thriller ends on an ambiguous note, one meant to underline the seemingly random and indecipherable chaos of life itself. After being hit by a car, falling prey to the random chance he previously seemed to hold mastery over, ruthless assassin Anton Chigurh limps off into an uncertain future. Meanwhile now-retired sheriff Ed Bell shares a seemingly ominous dream he had the night before. Is Sheriff Bell’s dream the secret cypher to decode the film’s deeper meanings or is it simply chaos and chance? We still don’t know, and frankly we’re cool with that. Much like “A Serious Man,” this one is all about ambiguity.

#4: “Before Sunset” (2004)

The middle film in Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy is a bittersweet one, reuniting Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy from “Before Sunrise” nearly a decade later. After meeting nine years before in Vienna, protagonists Jesse and Céline meet again in Paris and discuss their lives since that first meeting. Over the course of their time together, their feelings for one another gradually re-emerge, but Jesse’s imminent departure looms overhead. In the film’s closing scene, Céline warns Jesse that he’s going to miss his plane, but rather than leave, he simply says that he knows. Audiences had to wait another nine years to find out if this ambiguous note meant what we all hoped.

#3: “Memento” (2000)

Boy, that Christopher Nolan sure knows how to end a movie, doesn’t he? Nolan’s career-making film follows a man with anterograde amnesia, a condition that leaves him unable to form new memories beyond the past five minutes. To make matters worse, he’s on the trail of his wife’s killer. The film is an often confusing maze of twists and turns, with a curveball ending that leaves many shaking their heads. We eventually learn that the entire film has been shown to us out of order, and that our amnesiac protagonist has been the pawn of an undercover police officer this whole time, and that he already avenged his wife’s death years prior.

#2: “Lost in Translation” (2003)

As already discussed, there’s something maddeningly interesting about an ambiguous ending, one that keeps us wondering well after the credits have rolled. A standout from this period is definitely the finale to Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film, which stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as Bob and Charlotte, an unlikely duo who form a friendship after a chance meeting in Tokyo. After parting ways to return to their respective lives, the two meet one last time and share a final embrace, after which Murray whispers something into her ear. The film doesn’t clue us in to what that something is, leaving us forever guessing.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Dancer in the Dark” (2000)

“The Mist” (2007)

“Oldboy” (2003)

#1: “There Will Be Blood” (2007)

Movie endings that throw you for a loop with a twist or leave you guessing from ambiguity are all well and good, but sometimes you want a finale that puts a big old button on things, and this one certainly does that. A big bloody button, that is. In a final confrontation between oil baron Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday, a mild-mannered but ambitious pastor, star Daniel Day-Lewis’s fiery performance reaches a fever pitch as he drunkenly berates Eli before savagely beating him to death with a bowling pin. It’s the kind of ending that leaves you exhausted, satisfied and absolutely certain that you will never see anything like that again.