Happy Endings in Fiction: Love Them or Hate Them?

Young couple walking past a movie theatre
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Written by Frankie Cameron

Are you a fan of happy endings? Do you associate storybook endings with Walt Disney movies or romantic comedies? After writing a post about sad endings a few weeks ago, I  thought I would turn my focus to happy ones this week.

There are many reasons to like happy endings, and here are a few:

1. Break from Reality

Positive or hopeful endings offer a pleasant break from reality.  We need something uplifting, especially after the year we just had. 

2. Character Attachment

As you read hundreds of pages over the course of a book or series, the characters almost become real to you. Because you become attached to the characters you don’t want anything bad to happen to them. You want to leave the story knowing that they are in a good place.

3. Emotional Boost

Having a novel or movie end on a positive note is uplifting and can boost your mood for the rest of the day. We love to see heroes triumph over villains and the oppressed rise up.

4. Endings With Solutions

There is something wonderful when a character works toward finding a solution no matter what struggles they face along the way.

5. Memorable Moments

You’ve probably read stories where the main character goes through adversity and prevails against all odds. When a character triumphs over obstacles to find happiness, it is inspiring. Particularly true stories, where you can ask yourself, “wow, if they can do that, what can I do.”

Two diverse women watching a laptop; a movie project; popcorn; happy ending in fiction

Image created in Canva.

Happy Endings in YA Books

Read Brightly reports that these YA books will uplift your heart:

  • 19 Love Songs by David Levithan
  • Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
  • Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
  • Frankly in Love by David Yoon
  • Going the Distance (Kissing Booth 2) by Beth Reekles
  • Hearts Made for Breaking by Jen Klein
  • If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
  • Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne
  • Prince Charming by Rachel Hawkins
  • The More and More and Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  • Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

To be honest, I have read none of these books but have added a few to my to-be-read list.

Happy Endings in Romantic Movies

According to IMBD, these are the top ten happy ending romance movies:

  1. Chocolat 
  2. The Impossible
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. An Officer and a Gentleman
  5. 27 Dresses
  6. When in Rome
  7. Killers
  8. What Happens in Vegas
  9. The Lake House
  10. The Proposal

Among the other notable films on this list are Dirty Dancing, Safe Haven, and Miss Congeniality.

TV Series with the “Best” Endings

With endings, TV series are tough. It is impossible for creators to satisfy everyone no matter what they do. IndieWire recommends these series for their positive endings.

  1. Mad Men
  2. Friday Night Lights
  3. Six Feet Under
  4. The Leftovers
  5. The Sopranos
  6. Halt and Catch Fire
  7. Twin Peaks
  8. Breaking Bad
  9. Lost
  10. The Wire

Some of the other notable shows on their list include Friends, Angel, and Justified.

My Favourite Happy Endings

There are so many books, shows, and movies that come to mind when I think about my favourites it is hard to pick. Ask me again on another day and I would probably choose different ones but these are today’s picks.

Because I knew I could count on a happy ending, I have devoured romance novels like To Die For by Linda Howard, Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey, Two Alone by Sandra Brown, and The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.

These movies have happy endings: The Duff, The Martian, Apollo 13, Eddie to Eagle, and School of Rock.

Besides the TV shows on the list above, I also enjoyed Supernatural, Gilmour Girls, Jericho, Battlestar Galactica, and Falling Skies.

Final Thoughts

Fictional happy endings can give us a break from reality and an emotional boost. Do you like happy endings or sad endings better? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time

Frankie

 

Feature image by Rolando Marin from Pixabay.

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