While I think both endings of the two selected films were impactful in their own way, I saw the ending of Four Little Girls to be much more insightful. At the end of Boycott, the symbolism of King being left behind the bus, and every component of his bending of time by visiting the 21st century can be dissected into various interpretations and commentaries, many probably outside of Lee’s intention. In my opinion, while this ending left a lot to think about, I personally feel a lack of direction on how the audience was meant to feel about these scenes that ultimately made it less impactful. By contrast, the ending of Four Little Girls gives a personal narrative from someone who has lived through both of these eras and has been affected by brutality on the most personal level, while continuing to see it happening systematically today.
The ending of Four Little Girls has been discussed so far as being less impactful because of its feel good ending and lack of invoking outrage or emotion, which I disagree with. Whether by the editing and questioning done with the directors intentions, or by Alpha Robertson’s intent herself, her message of personal recovery is one that does not deny the call for action and justice. I see this ending as a display of the personal dealings that occur after a tragedy. While Robertson doesn’t mention the general and communal outrage that leads to action, my understanding of her message is one that does not condemn it or deny its importance. Robertson mentioned the personal healing she had to work through in order to simply keep moving forward with her life. Peace is made within her own life regarding the past that she has no control over now, but her story isn’t just an end-of-story feel good moment, even if she isn’t giving direct and explicit calls to action. Action requires a balance of outrage and anger, and care and support, and I think the ending of this film follows that idea.