A Day and a Half Ending, Explained: What Happens to Artan? Does He Free Louise?

Directed by Fares Fares, Netflix’s ‘A Day and a Half’ (originally titled ‘En Dag och en Halv’) is a Swedish-language action thriller film loosely inspired by true events. The film follows Artan, an armed man who holds his ex-wife, Louise, hostage and demands to meet his daughter. As a result, Artan and Louise go on a road trip across the Swedish countryside accompanied by policeman Lukas. The film’s ending provides some resolution to Artan’s quest but also marks his future with a dark question. Hence, viewers must seek an explanation about the movie’s ending. SPOILERS AHEAD!

A Day and a Half Plot Synopsis

‘A Day and a Half’ opens with Artan, an armed man, entering a medical center in Stockholm, Sweden. He enquires about his ex-wife, Louise, but is asked to wait. Artan becomes impatient and draws out his gun, threatening to shoot the medical center staff if Louise does not see him. Louise is forced to intervene, and Artan demands answers from her for missing their appointment. Artan requests Louise to let him meet his daughter, Cassandra, aka “Sandro.” However, when Louise refuses, Artan loses his cool and holds her at gunpoint, leading to a hostage situation.

Soon, the police arrive on the scene and try to rectify the situation. Lukas, a policeman, is sent to negotiate with the captor and defuse the tension. Lukas arrives at the medical center and slowly wins Artan’s trust. After some probing, Artan reveals that his ex-wife, Louise, took away his daughter with whom he wishes to reunite. However, Louise and her family have prevented him from meeting his daughter. After explaining his situation, Artan demands a car so Louise can take him to her parent’s house to meet Sandro. Lukas ranges a car and is forced to drive it as Artan keeps Louise hostage.

During the car ride, it is revealed that Artan is an Albanian immigrant and he was married to Louise. However, when their daughter was born, Louise briefly left the family, leaving Artan to raise Sandro alone. Later, Louise returned and kicked Artan out of the apartment they shared. Moreover, Artan was falsely accused of assaulting Louise’s father and imprisoned for three months. After he was released from prison, Louise took custody of their daughter and refused to let Artan meet her.

A depressed and desperate Artan explains that he was forced to take extreme measures to reunite with his daughter. Along the car die, Artan and Louise bicker over the differences between time, but Lukas calms them down by sharing the story of his own failed marriage. Eventually, the group arrives at Louise’s father’s house. Louise’s father, Stefan, speaks with Artan inside the garage, where he offers to pay to get Artan out of Louise and his grandaughter’s life. However, the situation escalates when Stefan tries to shoot Artan, and Lukas is forced to intervene.

Meanwhile, Artan and Louise reunite with their daughter, and it becomes evident that Louise does not share a good relationship with her parents, creating a hostile environment for Sandro. After reuniting with his daughter, Artan takes her and Louise hostage, forcing Lukas to drive them away. The National Task Force contacts Artan to know his demands, and he requests a passage to Albania with his family. However, he refuses to lower his gun, resulting in all the airlines refusing him a seat. Therefore, Artan asks Lukas to drive them to a nearby port, where he hopes to catch a boat to Poland and drive to Albania.

A Day and a Half Ending: What Happens to Artan? Does He Free Louise?

Towards the climax, Lukas reasons with Artan and asks him to lower his gun as it could jeopardize the safety of Louise and Sandro. However, Artan refuses, declining the Albanian ambassador’s offer of a safe passage. Later, the group’s car is struck by eggs dropped by some children, which fuels the already heated argument between Artan and Louise, with the former accusing the latter of being a mad mother. Louise reveals that she had a psychotic breakdown, which led to her leaving their family. Since then, she has constantly feared another breakdown and is overly reliant on pills.

Eventually, Lukas brings the car to the dock, where the National Task Force negotiates with the ferry drivers. Meanwhile, Lukas uses Artan’s phone to speak with Theodore, his estranged son. Through his conversation with his son, Lukas shows Artan that it is not too late to be a good father despite his past mistakes. As a result, Artan asks to speak with Louise alone. Artan is remorseful for his actions and wants to rectify his mistake after Louise encourages him. She apologizes for her past behavior and promises Artan that he will get to visit his daughter more.

In the end, Artan is finally convinced to lower his gun, as he cares about his daughter’s wellbeing more than anything. Although Artan and Louise do not reconcile, they agree to be better parents to Sandro. Ultimately, Artan realizes his mistake and frees Louise and Sandro from captivity. Artan understands he cannot fix his family’s situation by forcing them to escape to Albania with him, as he has no resources or home in the country. The film ends with Artan stepping out of the car after dropping his gun and being arrested by the police officers. However, Artan smiles, having met his daughter, and feels motivated to become a better father.

Does Lukas Reconcile With His Son?

The story of Lukas’ failed marriage is layered into the tense drama sparked by Artan holding Louise hostage. Lukas’ story parallels Artan’s, with the former revealing he cheated on his wife. Lukas explains that his son, Theodore, found out about the affair after he cheated. Initially, his relationship with his ex-wife soured because of the infidelity, but they found a way to be okay with each other. In contrast, Theodore is yet to forgive his father. Lukas explains that he is trying to be a better father for his son’s sake. These feelings seemingly resonate with Artan, encouraging him to abandon his charade and start fresh. However, because Lukas is involved in the hostage situation, he is forced to miss his son’s birthday.

Lukas calls Theodore from the car and exclaims his love for his son. Although Theodore seems upset about his father missing his birthday, the conversation takes a lighter turn, implying that Theodore understands the situation. Therefore, the film ends without Lukas fully reconciling with his son but progresses along that road. Moreover, Lukas’ love and affection for his son and determination to make things right stop Artan from destroying his own life, along with Louise’s and his daughter’s as well. As a result, Lukas’ mistakes, courage in admitting them, and willingness to win back his family’s affection are important factors in diffusing the tense hostage situation he finds himself in.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s A Day and a Half Filmed?