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Short-term reactions to Vertigo (1958)

Happy ending?

In the Learning Assessments this week a number of students had questions about the ending of Eternal Sunshine, like: Is it a happy ending? Should it be happy ending? What do the final shots mean in terms of what we see Joel and Clementine doing and where they are doing it? What do the jump cuts (editing) mean?

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Becky Bond

I feel like it's hard for a movie like this to have a blanket ending. Clementine and Joel's relationship throughout the entire movie is very fickle, and very on-again off-again. They show a lot of signs of having an unhealthy, even emotionally abusive, relationship when we begin the flashbacks. I think if there is one thing we should glean from the ending is that they have learned from their mistakes. They are restarting the relationship with all their dirty laundry on the line. If anything I would say that the ending is neither happy nor sad, but hopeful.

Jessica Brown

I think the ending is happy for the most part.
I don't think that the jump-cuts indicate that this has happened over and over again in their relationship, because of other cues in the story. Perhaps they imply the passage of time, and their running through the snow implies they are still happy.

Gabriel Yanez

I would call the ending to be bittersweet, as before the end scene we have Joel and Clementine reuniting, deciding to become a couple again with their previous thoughts and feelings being known to one another. The end scene itself is taken from an earlier memory found in the film. I view the ending sequence as how many times they will break up and reform as a couple, and how long each time the reunite how long their relationship lasts.

Josh Riddell

I think the ending is very optimistic. I think it is a look into how there relationship will play out in the future. The movie went through and touched on a lot of bad and some good memories. I think the ending is showing the viewer that they Joel and Clementine are going to enjoy each other more and focus on the good qualities about each other.

Garret Adams

I think all in all the ending is optimistic, but in its own way. Clementines and Joels relationship was patchy and very on again off again which makes sense in relationship to the ending of this film. I think that after this event they will appreciate each other way more.

Andy McDonald

Calling the ending to eternal sunshine either happy or sad is like calling a dog either big or small. Relationships are complicated, and to say that the eternal sunshine (nevermind just the ending) is complicated is the understatement of the year. It’s likely that our protagonists will have a lot of difficult events in the future, but I also believe that they both found some sort of appreciation for eachother that they lacked before. So I guess it’s a sweet, but also bitter ending.

Kevin Smith

I agree with Josh in feeling that the ending is more optimistic than anything. I wouldn't say it's a happy ending because Joel and Clementine find out how much they disliked each other by the end of their relationship, but it's optimistic because they both agree to try and have another go at it.

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