Lindsay Doran featured in a Times article about what makes movies successful:
“Audiences don’t care about an accomplishment unless it’s shared with someone else. What makes an audience happy is not the moment of victory but the moment afterwards when the winners shares that victory with someone they love.” So she mentally rewound the concluding scenes of these “accomplishment” films. Ms. Grey leaps into the arms of Patrick Swayze at the end of “Dirty Dancing,” and after that she reconciles with her father. Jaden Smith performs that impossible kick at the end of “The Karate Kid,” but afterward makes peace with his opponent and shares the moment with his mother and trainer. Colin Firth conquers his stammer at the end of “The King’s Speech,” and then shares his victory with his wife, daughters and the crowds cheering outside the palace. The film closes with a title card that reads that the king and his speech therapist remained friends for the rest of their lives.
An interesting observation. I'd say it holds true for most movies of a certain type - particularly those with an 'up' ending. I can't think of any examples at the moment, but I'm sure there are stories out there where the absence of someone special at such a moment provided a moment of poigniency or sadness.
Actually, 'Into The Wild' made exactly this point with it's tragic ending. McCandless's quote, 'Happiness only real when shared', is a keen observation, obtained at great cost.
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