I've noticed that many, especially newer, films employ the technique of repeating the same catchphrase or aphorism at the beginning and at the end. The goal for this is clear, but I find it incredibly infuriating, cheap and on the nose.

I would accept this worst kind of cliche on cheesy action blockbusters, but this thing is ruining films all across the board... Must be in fashion. For example, I just re-watched Imitation Game and ending on such a face palm ruined otherwise fine experience.

I figured to search around a bit to see what others think of this. To my surprise, I could hardly find anything. I guess I couldn't find the right words to search by. So my questions: What is this technique called? When did it become such a thing? Does it becoming such a thing have an interesting backstory? And of course, am I the only one it drives mad?


Example from Imitation Game: “Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

First said by Christopher to comfort Turing after getting bullied. Repeated at the end by Joan when Turing was beat down by hormone therapy and the conviction. Not a clear-cut example, as this was also repeated in the middle of the film once or twice.

  • Do you have any examples? I don't know that I can think of any off hand.
    – Catija
    Jul 27, 2016 at 22:54
  • A good point. Added an example to the original question.
    – Juho
    Jul 27, 2016 at 23:01
  • 1
    Technically, you're not allowed to ask that last question. Jul 28, 2016 at 3:20
  • 1
    I totally agree with you and also thought that there must be a name specifically for this. Another recent example is in Logan, and "We are Groot" in Guardians of the Galaxy is a similar thing that you could see coming from a mile away. But like you say just about any recent movie does this and it really is cringeworthy, I can't think of a worse cliche that ruins a movie more. May 17, 2017 at 22:51

1 Answer 1


This is a form of a bookend.

Matching scenes at the beginning and end of a story, often to show how things have changed through the course of the series, or to demonstrate that they haven't changed at all.

Usually an entire scene that is repeated as a bookend, but if the dialog is meaningful enough it may suffice to serve the same purpose.

An example of the bookend as a treadmill can be seen in...

Inside Llewyn Davis.

Circular Plot Structure is another term for this.

Simply enough, a circular plot is a non-linear plot that progresses more or less chronologically and ends with its protagonist returning to a situation similar to the one at the beginning of the story.

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