Surprise Ending

Every once in awhile, I see a piece of film, and I experience something that I dearly feel must be addressed.

Such is the case for the 1992 adaptation of the Virginia Woolf novel “Orlando.” I just watched it. After scouring the internet for some sort of explanation or even acknowledgment, I have come to the conclusion that I am the only person to have watched this film and pondered much about the ending. For those who find this post having seen this particular film and came looking for solidarity, or for those who wonder why I’ve made it, let me say outright—after an hour or more traveling through history from the eyes of an ageless British gender-transcender, who has now finally found some peace in the world having a child and losing his/her/their mystical monarch-bequeathed aristocratic lands, and as the film is finally rounding out, with her sitting at the selfsame tree as when we first met him, and to have the last scene suddenly transform into a gay angel singing a gay house anthem in the sky, shot in shaky-cam mode… is a little… unexpected. Perplexing. Baffling. Really, really weird. Makes me a little cross-eyed; forces my eyebrows to do all sorts of weird shapes. Kinda makes you wonder if they ever really had a point, and/or if just ran outta time and adaptational[1] stamina, and said:

“Hey, you know what? We’ve got this gay pop star who says he likes the book. What are the chances we can get him up on crane later singing something about unity? Or harmony? Or unity and harmony? Oh, well do you have any better ideas for how to finish the movie?”

No, I do not. But for those of you who also don’t, and just really wish the filmmakers did, let me say: you are not alone.