Why “What’s So Wrong with Happy Endings?”

If you’ve been around The Crossing for the last few weeks, you’ve likely heard about the summer film screening series we’re presenting in partnership with Ragtag Cinema: “What’s So Wrong with Happy Endings?” I thought I’d briefly give you a few reasons why (a) we’re excited to offer the series and (b) you might want to check out one or more of the events.

If you watch many films, you know that there’s no shortage of angst, ambiguity, and sorrow in the art of cinema. This has been true for a long time, and it’s perhaps particularly noticeable during the awards season. In fact, many of our finest actors and filmmakers have been recognized for their efforts in portraying these moods. And given that much of life in our broken world can be fairly characterized in various shades of gray, this is both understandable and appropriate.

Granting all of this, it’s understandable to wonder why anything approaching a happy ending isn’t relegated to status of novelty or the cinematic equivalent of an endangered species.

And yet, the modern landscape of films betrays no shortage of films ending on a decidedly positive note. To be sure, some are forgettable, paint-by-numbers affairs while others produce something truly powerful. But both kinds of films acknowledge a fundamental point: stories with happy endings seem to have a deep and enduring appeal to human beings.

All this raises what we believe to be interesting and important questions. Why do we love these kinds of films? What makes a happy ending “work”? What makes something of this sort exemplary, even a classic?

Along with other film-specific points of interest, these are the kinds of topics we want to explore briefly in the time following each screening. In the process, we also want to encourage anyone, regardless of his or her familiarity with either Ragtag or The Crossing, to join in the discussion.

A quick rundown on the particulars:

  • All screenings will take place at Ragtag Cinema (10 Hitt St.) on Thursday nights beginning this week (July 11) and ending August 1.
  • Showtime is 6:00 p.m. 
  • Admission is free. For those sure they can attend, we’ll have a limited number of tickets available at The Crossing on the Sunday morning prior to each screening (sorry, we’re out of tickets for this week’s showing of City Lights). 
  • Otherwise, you can pick up a ticket at the Ragtag box office beginning at 10:00 a.m. on the day of the screening.
  • We ask that you arrive by 5:45 so we can determine how many seats we have available for those still waiting to attend. 
  • The discussion will take place following the film. 

For more on each film, visit Ragtag’s website.

(As always, we encourage parents to research each film before deciding whether to take kids. For help with this, consider sites like IMDb.com or kids-in-mind.com.)

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