Christopher Nolan Discussed The Meaning Of The ‘Inception’ Ending During Princeton University Commencement Speech

by 4 years ago
inception ending meaning christopher nolan

Warner Bros.


Remember the end of Inception? Of course you do. But if you don’t watch it below right now and then continue. The rest of you can just skip the video and carry on.

The big question when the movie ended was, did the top fall over or keep on spinning? Was Cobb in actual reality or was he off in some other dimension? Fucking cliff hangers, man. Well, when Christopher Nolan gave the commencement speech to the graduating class at Princeton University, he tried to offer up a bit of insight as to what really happened.

Per The Hollywood Reporter:

“In the great tradition of these speeches, generally someone says something along the lines of ‘Chase your dreams,’ but I don’t want to tell you that because I don’t believe that. I want you to chase your reality.

“I feel that over time, we started to view reality as the poor cousin to our dreams, in a sense….I want to make the case to you that our dreams, our virtual realities, these abstractions that we enjoy and surround ourselves with – they are subsets of reality.”

He continued…

“The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Cobb — he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality. He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid. The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black.

“I skip out of the back of the theater before people catch me, and there’s a very, very strong reaction from the audience: usually a bit of a groan. The point is, objectively, it matters to the audience in absolute terms: even though when I’m watching, it’s fiction, a sort of virtual reality. But the question of whether that’s a dream or whether it’s real is the question I’ve been asked most about any of the films I’ve made. It matters to people because that’s the point about reality. Reality matters.”

That’s not really an answer, is it? “The ending is what you want the ending to be blah blah blah…” FUCK YOU, NOLAN.

I guess I’m kind of glad he didn’t offer a real answer. That way I can continue to conclude what I have always concluded the ending to be: The top stopped spinning, Cobb got all super depressed and shit, then he went to the bathroom and absolutely destroyed himself for five minutes to take the edge off.

Basically, he did what we all do after a long day of realizing our real life sucks a bag of assholes compared to our dreams. Bust a nut and realize you might as well live to see another day/load.


TAGS2015 Commencement SpeakersChristopher NolanInceptionMovies