SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven’t seen Inception yet, stop reading now!
I think we can say we finally know what really happened at the end of Inception now, thanks to an interview with the film’s costume designer, Jeffrey Kurland…
That darn top never stopped spinning at the end of the movie… or did it?
Remember how the Cobb’s kids looked the same in every flashback scene, where they were in that field outside his house, facing away from him? But then at the end, when Cobb finally returned home, the kids turned around and embraced him at last.
Many fans have speculated that since the kids looked exactly the same in the finale as they did earlier in his dreams, then the end was still a dream after all. But hold your horses, because that theory is based on a faulty assumption.
In the interview, Kurland is asked:
Cobb’s children are wearing the same clothes at the end of the story as they are in his dream “memory” throughout the film. Is there something to be interpreted here?
To which Kurland replies:
…the children’s clothing is different in the final scene… look again…
So there you have it! The kids’ clothing is different in the final scene, which has to mean that we’re not looking at his dream! It’s all real!
Okay, so we still can’t say 100% for sure. But at the very least, I’m thinking that this piece of costuming was specified in the script by director Christopher Nolan, so it at least gives us a hint as to how he interprets the ending. And if it’s good enough for Nolan, it’s good enough for me.