We recently looked at some of the greatest opening lines in cinema history and explored the importance of starting strong, but equally important is how a story concludes. Often, the final line will be the one that sticks in the back of your mind for days after the credits roll. The closing line can be a real haymaker and have an enormous impact on the audience, and it can be a great way to thrill, raise a question, reinforce an idea, drop a bombshell or neatly tie up the story. Here are the 10 best closing lines in cinema history.
“Now, where was I?”
Much like nearly all of Christopher Nolan’s films, Memento is a complex and twisting story which requires your full attention. It is not until the end of the film that the narrative becomes cohesive and complete, and this makes for a thrilling watch as the protagonist, Leonard (Guy Pearce), is in an endless loop where he is lost in his own reality as he suffers from anterogade amnesia. He realizes at the end that he is the one trying to deceive his own mind, as when he discovers the actual reality he immediately wants to forget it. The narrative ending is not the chronological ending, but this fantastic closing line confirms that his delusion will not stop and this will lead to the events of Teddy’s death. It is a challenging yet rewarding watch, but also brilliantly explores themes of memory, grief and perception.