To counter the heartache and weeping, here are my three favorite "best ending" movies. The story lines still contain disappointments and struggle, but the endings - all surprises to me on my first viewing - are so rewarding. They could not end any better.
1. Streep, again. She's simply the best. She can play pathos, and she can play pure sacrifice and love. In Kramer vs. Kramer, she's a confused, depressed, struggling mom who abandons her son. Chaos and legal battles ensue. Dustin Hoffman is so entertaining as the then confused, depressed, struggling father. His fight with his son over the ice cream is a classic tangle to which every parent can relate. The beautiful resolution does not come until the very last minute.
2. For the ultimate tale of woe, nothing beats Les Miserables (the miserable, or the wretched.) The musical stage production is incomparable, but the non-musical film version is very good. Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush are wonderful. As Fantine, Uma Thurman is trembling and fragile and dismally beautiful. This is the classic tale of good vs. evil and judgement vs. forgiveness. Good wins in a surprising way.
3. I'm not a Jane Austin fan, but I love this film. Emma Thompson was the screenwriter, which is probably the appealing difference. She brought her own ambiance to the story, as well as Hugh Grant. Nobody can play befuddled like he can. The pre-Titanic Kate Winslet is fresh-faced and adorable.
I have never been so shocked (and delightfully so) by an ending. When my sister viewed it for the first time, she sat up in her chair and, crying happy tears, declared, "We have to watch it again." And we did. Right then. Sense and Sensibility might be my favorite movie of all time.
These movies are true valentines to my heart. When I want to see love and truth prevail, these stories take me there.
I hope they do the same for you.