2. The Green Mile (1999)
The Green Mile isn’t a film that’s known for being particularly positive or upbeat. However, its ending leaves things on a rather touching note that actually seems to be somewhat sweet and decidedly magical. In terms of the narrative, its an interesting and important ending that actually adds much to the film itself, but it’s far more sinister than it seems.
After treating the wrongly accused John Coffey with kindness, the large man with fantastical abilities offers a kindness of his own to prison guard Paul Edgecomb. This results in Coffey healing Edgecomb’s physical ailments, but The Green Mile‘s ending reveals a side effect: Edgecomb has lived an unnaturally long life. Revealing to a friend in a retirement home that he’s 108 years old, Paul briefly ponders the gift given to him by Coffey.
Technically, The Green Mile‘s ending isn’t really happy at all, but the implications of it are even sadder than they seem. Paul is revealed to have already outlived his own family, and simple mathematical analysis of Mr. Jingles’ (a mouse also healed by Coffey) increased lifespan seems to evidence that Paul may live for at least another 500 years. It would seem that not only was Coffey’s gift an accidental curse, dooming him to walk the Earth alone, watching anyone he cares about dying as he continues to exist around them thanks to Coffey’s healing power.