Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Best last line in a movie

I'm not saying this is the best movie (though it's a good one).
Just that it's the best last line.

The line is "And that will be all."

The problem is that it isn't the best line taken from the end of a movie--a line that can stand up and walk around by itself. This is the best last line to a movie that I've seen, after having seen this movie, with the scene that leads to this line in my consciousness as I hear this line.

So I'll have to give you what leads up to it. It's the tale of a womanizing photographer who renames all of his many adoring, much younger girlfriends "Guinevere"--hence the title of this 1999 movie, starring Stephen Rea and Sarah Polley (also with Sandra Oh in it).

One of those girlfriends, played by Polley, is visiting him years after their affair ended, as he lays dying (a bit like Falstaff in Henry V), his life having unraveled after she'd left. But she still cares about him, sort of.

I love this scene because it's such a bracing antidote to all the celestially rewarding death scenes I've seen in Hollywood movies. This is, by contrast, in the grittier tradition of Canadian moviemaking, sweetly brutal:

Okay, Connie. You want me to give you an image?
Here's what I'll do for you. I'll make it the Connie special.

You'll find yourself down in your hallway, only it's much brighter and cleaner than you've ever seen it before. And you feel yourself starting to float.

And let's see. I don't want you to be lonely in there, so...you look to the side, and there's Linda dancing and smiling...as you glide past.

Okay, I know it's corny, but you asked for it, and I'm here to please. So you keep floating down your hallway, and a little further down, there's Billie. She's taken her long hair out of those braids of hers 
and she's waving good-bye.

You see? Dying really isn't so bad. And you're feeling pretty good about yourself when Cindy appears.

All is forgiven.

Well, wait a minute. I think she just said, "Kiss my ass".

Now you turn your head to the left, and there's the seamstress you never thought I knew about. I bet you're picturing her naked. You're so predictable.

And now you turn your head to the right, and there I am.
Of course I look unspeakably beautiful.

"I loved you the best", you call out as you pass by me.  
And I blow you a kiss.

Now you're almost at the end of the hallway.

Do you see April? She's still crying, the poor thing. Well, we all did that for a while, but that's another story.

And now you've reached the end of the hallway. What do you think is waiting for you, Connie? Is it heaven, or is it hell?

It's a beautiful 18-year-old girl with an overbite. You know the type, and she's waiting for you. And just as you reach your hand out to touch her cheek, you see that what she's holding is a camera. And as she lifts it 
to her face, guess what? It's your old Nikon F--the one you left at the pawn shop too long and thought was gone forever.

But now this pretty girl has it, and she's turning it on you. "Smile", she says, and you do.

And suddenly the flash goes off with a brilliant white burst of light, the brightest, purest light you've ever seen.

And that will be all.

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