It’s likely happened to every single one of us, although some may be reluctant to admit it. You watch a movie, either with friends or alone. Let’s be honest, it was probably alone. You think about what happened throughout and you feel confident that you understand it all. Then you start discussing the film and certain scenes with other people. This is when it dawns on you. That one scene that you thought you understood actually went totally over your head. Sure, maybe the scene has a surface meaning and a deeper meaning, and you only missed the latter. But then, you still missed it. Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone.
Filmmakers are incredible people. They have the power to create a film and various scenes that work on multiple levels. Even if we don’t always have the ability to peer into these different levels, we can appreciate the overall package. But today is about digging deeper and helping you see what you never knew was there. You thought you understood it all, but you were wrong. But we’re not here to hurt your feelings. Why don’t we pretend that you understood all of these scenes perfectly? That way, you can learn something and still feel great about yourself. We won’t tell. Here are 16 Movie Scenes We Thought We Understood But Had All Wrong.
16. Tangled And I Love You Most
We all know that Mother Gothel is a selfish witch. She values Rapunzel’s hair and its power far greater than the girl. This is clear. But there is a misconception about Gothel. Some believe that she does show that she cares for the Rapunzel in some scenes, if only a little. In this interpretation, Rapunzel is just so sweet and so caring that she has broken through Gothel’s crusty and bitter exterior, piercing her heart briefly. This gives Gothel a small inkling of a redemptive quality. The truth is, however, that Gothel doesn’t care for Rapunzel (the girl) at all. Every embrace, every kind remark, is about the hair. Look at the way that Gothel always hugs or strokes the hair when they embrace. Perhaps the most striking example is during the “I love you most” exchange. When Gothel says “I love you most,” she kisses Rapunzel, not on the forehead, but on the top of the head, on her hair.
15. Get Out And The Deer Scene
As in most movies, there are several scenes throughout Get Out that change with another watch. But, since the film is still so fresh in our minds, we thought we would look at a couple that were interpreted differently at first. Both scenes happen very early on. The first is the simplest. After hitting a deer, Chris is accosted for his ID by a police officer. Rose defends him. We, at first, see this as honorable. Obviously, we learn later that she’s a fraud, but the real reason she did this wasn’t to create trust with Chris. It was to avoid creating a record of this interaction prior to Chris’ disappearance.
More importantly, this scene brings us that strange moment between Chris and the dying deer. While some see this as a way of demonstrating Chris’ compassion, there is something much more important happening here. Chris is being reminded of his mother’s death (she was also hit by a car). Later, when we get to Rose’s house, her father applauds them hitting and killing the deer. He talks about eradicating their species. We also see some mounted deer heads in the house. These are dispersed among the many appropriated pieces of black history and African art. We are meant to draw a strong connection between deer and the black population.
14. Fargo And The Dinner Scene
We’ve talked about this scene in the past because it is often confused as meaningless or simply character-building. It’s much more. It’s revelatory. The scene in question is when Marge (Frances McDormand) has dinner with her old friend, Mike. Many people see this as a way to show how sweet Marge is and to give the film some more room to explore the wacky characters of Fargo. After all, the city of Fargo is a character all to itself in the film, so coloring it with some more colorful characters can’t hurt. While this is one of the goals of the scene, there is something more important happening. When Marge is asked to dinner, she trusts that Mike has good intentions. She believes him. As dinner gets weirder and weirder, Marge still has her trust. Finally, it gets too much, and she leaves. The next morning, Marge is told that Mike was being completely deceitful. This leads Marge to rethink her last conversation with Jerry (William H. Macy). She goes back to question him and is less trusting in the rest of the film.
13. Wonder Woman’s Handshake
There is an amazing little scene in Wonder Woman between Diana and Chief that gained a lot of attention online after the Blackfoot dialogue became known. We want to highlight this scene again for all those who missed it. Throughout the film, Diana is presented with several handshake opportunities that she turns down, if only because she doesn’t understand the custom. Later, when Chief talks to her in Blackfoot and presents his hand, Diana shakes it. Now, there are a couple common interpretations here. Some believe that Diana is finally understanding of the custom. Others believe that she understands the plight of the Native Americans and respects them enough to shake Chief’s hand. Some think that he acknowledged her as a god in his own Blackfoot language. But, what really happened here is that Chief revealed himself as a god, Napi.
12. The Rug In The Big Lebowski
While there may not exactly be a single misinterpreted scene in The Big Lebowski, the rug and the value placed on the rug is more important than most people give it credit for. Some have even gone so far as to say it’s a MacGuffin and nothing more. Let’s take a look. First, we’re introduced to the Nihilists in the film, which provides us with a comparison for the Dude and his way of life. By definition, the Dude is much more of a nihilist than the nihilists are, but that’s because he and his generation were abandoned and left behind. When the rug is peed on, the whole situation changes. The Dude used to abide. Then the rug is peed on and his way of life is challenged. He realizes that he is being taken advantage of, and we realize that he placed a great deal of value on the rug. After all, it really tied the room together. This causes him to alter his way of life, and this is when things start to go astray for him. In different ways, every character in the film is forced to confront or alter their way of life and things go wacky.
11. The Confusion In The Shining
There are two types of people who watch The Shining—those who see inconsistencies as mistakes and those who seem them as intentional. We’re in the latter group, but we understand the other side, if only because it’s almost impossible to ever pull out Stanley Kubrick‘s true intentions. One thing we’re adamant about defending is the alleged continuity errors in the various discussions. Take the talk about Danny’s abuse, for example. We hear that it happened years ago, and it caused Jack to stop drinking. But then, not long after, Jack says he’s only been on the wagon for several months. Is this a mistake? No. There are two possibilities here. Either Jack hasn’t been sober for as long as Wendy thinks, or it’s the more plausible explanation, which is that this is meant to represent a cycle of behavior not an isolated incident. These types of inconsistencies are everywhere in the film. Were the murdered girls twins or regular sisters? Were they killed in the bedroom of the hallway? Is it Delbert Grady or Charles Grady?
10. Chance In Gravity
Although this one is more about a theme, it is still largely misunderstood or missed entirely. The film juxtaposes chance and purpose quite a lot. We will ignore the religious symbols, although they play a large role too (for what reason is up for debate). Many people see Gravity as a story of survival against impossible odds, which is correct. But the film explores the insane amount of chance involved in all that. Compare Sandra Bullock‘s plight with her daughter’s. Her daughter fell over randomly and died. Bullock, when faced with a million different death obstacles, survives. In the end, she accepts the role that chance has in her reentry scene. She even plays “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” to find the docking button in the capsule. We then get the metaphor for life on earth, as Bullock crawls out of the water and stands upright. This is forcing us to accept the role of chance in life as a whole.
9. A Tall Tale In 300
One of the most frustrating things about the criticism of 300 is hearing about how silly and over the top the film is. Exaggeration, prejudice, glorification, these are some of the words that we often hear used when people talk about this movie. That’s the point, guys. The ending smacks us in the face with that when we learn that the entire thing was a story told by Dilios (David Wenham). The entire film was meant to be exaggerated to inspire the Greek forces. Xerxes wasn’t an androgynous giant god man, but it would sound better if he was, especially knowing that Leonidas made him bleed. The Persians weren’t monsters, but to inspire the Greek forces, they were described as such. It was a tall tale. It was intentional. In real life, the story of the Battle of Thermopylae was also a rallying tale. It was a demonstration of Greek valor and courage of the highest order. The historical record of the battle was greatly exaggerated to allow Greeks to puff out their chests. The ancient historian Herodotus put the Persian numbers at 1 million when it was probably closer to 10 times less than that. If we’re going to criticize, let’s ensure we don’t ignore the film’s intentions.
8. The Mist And The Shocking Ending
We all know how shocking the ending of The Mist is. Hell, it might be one of the most shocking endings in film history. We don’t want to take away from that. Honestly, we couldn’t even if we wanted to, but we will discuss something that adds a different element to the ending. Throughout the film, we are confronted with a religious interpretation of events. In the film, the town, or at least the supermarket, is divided by the religious and the not religious. The zealots believe that they are experiencing a reckoning of sorts and that a blood sacrifice is needed. The hero and the audience pretty much toss this aside as baloney. But think about the ending. After the shocking deeds are done, the hero is saved. We take this as an insane twist, but could it be that the religious fanatic was right all along? It is a strange coincidence that right after a blood sacrifice is made, the army rolls in and saves the day.
7. The Wizard Of Oz And The Diploma
The ending of The Wizard of Oz, like the movie as a whole, is so classic that people often only see its surface. Many assume that if there was some major twist or interpretation, they would know it. Truthfully, we used to understand this film a lot better than we do today. It seems that over time, people have ignored the meaning or stopped thinking about it. So, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here.
The message of the film is that the gang had what they wanted the entire time. We’re positive you know this. We also know that you know that the wizard is a fraud. At the end, when the Scarecrow asks for a brain, the wizard mocks our world by giving him a diploma and saying that people down here use a diploma to show how smart they are. Now, this is where people get confused. No one believes that the Scarecrow magically gets intelligent here, but A LOT of people think that he has always been smart. It’s only that he is just now realizing it. So, when he spouts off saying, “The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side,” viewers and the gang next to him are all amazed. But wait. Yes, the Scarecrow was smart all along, but he was street smart (or yellow brick road smart) not book smart. That math crap he just said was wrong. The true statement, if you were wondering, is the Pythagorean Theorem: “The sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.”
6. The Joker And The Rhubarb
The line uttered by the Joker in Batman, “Never rub another man’s rhubarb,” is one of the film’s most famous. It also has a universally accepted meaning. In this case, nearly everyone believes that the Joker is telling Bruce Wayne that he shot him because he messed with the Joker’s girl, Vicki Vale. Sure, we can buy that. But pay attention to the scene. Right before he is shot, Wayne goes crazy. With a fireplace poker in hand, Wayne says, “You wanna get nuts? Come on, let’s get nuts.” He then smashes a couple vases and the Joker shoots him. This is when the Joker says the famous line. In other words, the Joker is saying that going nuts is his thing or his “rhubarb.”
5. Titanic And Never Letting Go
The big climactic scene with Jack and Rose in The Titanic has been loved and ridiculed the world round, but few people ever think about what’s happening or what’s being said. Take the line “I’ll never let go,” for example. People have mocked this since 1997 because right after Rose says this, she let’s go of Jack and he dies. But hold on. Did you already forget what was said five seconds before that? Jack makes her promise that she will go on living. He then says, “never let go of that promise…never let go.” So, there’s that, for starters. But it goes deeper than that. Think back to the first time Jack met Rose. She was suicidal. She was about to jump off the boat, but Jack stops her. When she tells him not to come any closer, she says, “I’ll let go.” So, this final conversation between the two is about letting go of the will to live.
4. The Temple Of Doom And The Meat Eaters
In Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, we are introduced to a very exotic dinner menu. The monkey brains, eyeball soup, and other weird crap is a way of exoticizing the film and the people, right? Wrong. This is not what is happening here. While many people have criticized the film for being racially insensitive to Hindus, that’s the point that is being made. Hindus don’t eat that type of thing and Indy and company are made suspicious of their hosts because of that. The group was actually a remnant of the Thuggee cult hiding in plain sight.
3. The Hammer In The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight has been analyzed to death, so it’s incredible that we’re still learning new things about it, but we are. In the scene with the Joker and Harvey Dent in the hospital, there’s a great exchange between the two men. The Joker puts a gun in Dent’s hand and says, “introduce a little anarchy.” This, we believed, was demonstrating how crazy the Joker is. With the gun pointed at his forehead, the Joker goes on about chaos and how he is an “agent of chaos.” Dent flips a coin to decide if the Joker lives or dies and the scene ends with the Joker walking away. Yet, while the Joker is certainly psychotic and loves the thrill of chaos, he was never really in danger. Look at his finger in the scene. It’s holding the hammer. If Dent did pull the trigger, it’s very unlikely that the Joker wouldn’t have allowed the hammer to fall. This changes the dynamic of the scene entirely.
2. Catwoman’s Motivations
In Batman Returns, Selina Kyle is a self-deprecating spinster. She mentions several times about her lonely love life and that she has a cat. That’s about all we know. Then Max Shreck tries to kill her and she becomes Catwoman. As Catwoman, Kyle gets her revenge. But there’s an underlying current here. The first man she attacks is a guy trying to assault a woman. There is a strong violence against women vibe here. Now, while most see Catwoman’s motivations to be entirely based on Shreck’s crime, she seems to have a deeper revenge plan in mind. The next day, when Kyle returns to work, she drops a major hint to her past that many people miss. She says, “I remember the time I forgot to wear my underpants to school and the name of the boy who noticed was Ricky Friedburg. He’s dead now.” We can’t say for sure if Kyle was assaulted, but the way her smile faded as she said, “he’s dead now,” implies that she has had the Catwoman inside her for a long time.
1. Snape And McGonagall Battle
We all know that Snape is a good guy and that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but there are some great extents that he goes to without anyone really noticing. In the stand-off between Snape and McGonagall in the Great Hall, Snape uses only defensive maneuvers. This much is clear. But look at what else happens in that scene. First, Snape deflects McGonagall’s strikes into the Death Eaters behind him (the Carrows). They are stunned and they fall. Many people don’t even see this take place, but then real magic happens. Before Snape flees the hall, he whips down beside both of the stunned bodies on the ground. We can only assume that he is taking both of their wands to ensure they can’t hurt anyone when they wake up.
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