Minority Report was widely seen as an impressive film that was a bit tainted by it's too obvious happy ending. In which Anderton solves the murder, gets his wife back and starts a new family. It always seemed like a bit of a cop out. This was not new for Spielberg, who drew similar criticism with the "I could have done more" ending of Schindlers List, and the "Am I a good man?" Ending of Saving Private Ryan.
There is however a theory that the final part of the film, from the moment Anderton is put in hibernation is an imagination. The one clue regarding this is in a line given by Gideon, the jailer:
"It's actually kind of a rush. They say you have visions. That your life flashes before your eyes. That all your dreams come true."
I've always been a bit dubious about this. Since it really isnt Spielberg's habit to do ambiguous endings at all. The bulk of his work as a director has things fully wrapped up and clear cut.
There is some precedent for this though. Not so much in Spielberg's work itself, But the fact that this is a film based upon a Philip K. Dick story. And the two most famous films to be based on Dick's works certainly have ambigious endings.
Blade Runner, the director cut at-least famously stops in mid-action, just before giving viewers a final tantalizing hint regarding the true identity of it's lead character. It's one of the more famous modern examples of leaving things unsaid in a movie.
The second film is Total Recall. On first Glance a expensive and clever glossy sci-fi action starring Ah'nuld kicking ass at his most violent. It certainly doesn't look like anything but that at first glance. But like Robocop, Verhoeven's film can be enjoyed as "just" an action film, but also as one that has some deeper, hidden layers.
The hero Quaid either becomes entangled in a elaborate chase where his wife tries to kill him, he is actually a henchmen to a human dictator on Mars who's had his memory wiped. Or his mind is experiencing a virtual reality fantasy gone out of hand at Rekall.
The clues given here is that the adventure Quaid requests just before his brain is hooked up is conforms very much to the events that unfold in the film. This is conformed later by the fact that an attempt at intervention by a Rekall doctor tells him exactly how the events in the remainder of this VR scenario will unfold...which is actually exactly how the film goes from that moment on. Yet the script and Verhoeven never settle this matter for sure. Leaving tantalizing clues, but leaving it up to the viewer.
Spielberg is a great admirer of Blade Runner. Minority Report contains a number of references, both subtle and less so to that movie (both use eyes a lot in their visual imaginary).
Is it possible that Spielberg wanted to in some way emulate these previous two Philip K. Dick inspired movies and feature aspects that aren't quite so clear cut as they would appear at first sight?