Delving into life’s messy and complicated curveballs, the Netflix Polish show ‘Absolute Beginners’ follows two best friends, Lena and Niko, in the last summer of their youthful teenage weeks. With dreams of applying to an esteemed film school, the duo embarks on a journey to bring Lena’s creative vision to life and create a movie about love. Luckily, when things start going south on their intimate indie film set with a population of two, Niko and Lena find a solution after crossing paths with the fresh-faced athlete, Igor. However, the basketball player and his own baggage’s introduction to their sturdy dynamic brings its own complications.
Ripe with interpersonal drama and a focus on self-discovery, the show brings a coming-of-age tale with refreshing plotlines and character arcs. If you’re curious to see where this partnership leads the leading trio, here’s everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Absolute Beginners.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
Absolute Beginners Recap
In preparation for their film school applications, Lena and Niko plan to work on their film “On Love, Briefly,” a product of Lena’s artistry, and film scenes for it on their way to their families’ shared beachside cabin. Lena, who is on the autistic spectrum, has a very specific idea in mind about her film, and Niko does his best to help her execute it to perfection. Yet, the duo keeps running into one crucial hurdle: the explicit sex scene Lena insists is instrumental to the plot.
Still, Niko is reluctant to perform the scene with Lena, his sole co-star, due to their longstanding friendship and his complicated feelings for the girl. The same raises some problems between the two friends, with Lena feeling alienated by the one person in the world she felt understood her best.
The night after their heated argument, Niko and Lena find a boy drowning in the ocean at a distance and immediately rush to his help, pulling him out of the water, followed by Niko’s CPR administration. The boy—Igor, in town for basketball camp— returns to consciousness, clinging to Niko on instinct. Lena, who captures the moment on camera, realizes that he is perfect for her film. Nevertheless, the boy, who insists he only drowned due to a bad cramp, storms away from the duo once he regains his wherewithal.
As a result, Lena and Niko find themselves at a basketball camp party, trying to pursue Igor to become a part of their project. Although Igor is reluctant at first, he’s swayed by the chemistry between him and Lena and agrees to her proposition. While Igor’s inclusion is great news for Niko and Lena’s film, the former can’t help but be bothered by the disturbance in his dynamic with Lena.
However, once they start filming, even Niko is pleased by how smoothly things are coming together since Igor’s chemistry with Lena is thicker in tension than her and Niko’s easy camaraderie. During this time, the three teenagers grow closer together, giving in to the youthful abandon that the summer called for.
When the time comes, Igor agrees to film the sex scene, still real but tamer now, with Lena at the beach under the cover of the night while Niko films. Yet, the palpable tension between the trio only leads to the three of them sleeping together, with bits and pieces of them caught on camera.
As such, Lena’s film turns into one about a love triangle. Still, while Lena stays laser-focused on bringing her movie together, Igor becomes conscious of his decision. Therefore, he expresses his discomfort at granting Lena free access to footage of him sleeping with her and Niko.
Likewise, Niko, who attempts to date Igor for real, urges Lena to drop the scene. Things take a grave turn when Niko discovers his mother is having an affair, leading to a fight between him and Lena, wherein he accuses her of being selfish. As a result, Lena, who already believes Niko doesn’t care about their film since he applied to dental school as a safety net, takes their argument as a sign of the same and leaves their cabin with her film in a memory card.
Absolute Beginners Ending: Do Lena, Niko, and Igor End Up Together?
The captivating dynamic between Lena, Niko, and Igor remains the central storyline throughout the show, with the trio’s relationships constantly growing and evolving. In the short summer that they spend together, the trio undergoes dramatic change and learns new things about themselves.
Although Lena and Niko have known each other for most of their lives and continue to be each other’s favorite person, the attraction between them also becomes noticeable. Yet, a part of Lena’s motives behind her advances toward Niko remains her need for perfection in executing every scene of her film. As such, she wishes to sleep with Niko, but the boy begins to question the same. Furthermore, both easily realize that Niko isn’t the right man for the part since his easy friendship with Lena shines through, undercutting the amateur actors’ on-screen romance.
On the other hand, Igor’s instant connection with Lena fuels the chemistry between the pair and translates beautifully on the camera. Still, the boy isn’t as carefree about filming a sex scene as his co-star. Eventually, they work out a mutual understanding and decide to shoot the scene a little differently while still ensuring it retains the emotional resonance Lena craves. However, Niko’s spontaneous involvement in the same ends up changing everything.
Even though Lena wanted to sleep with Igor, her feelings for the boy barely graze her need to perfect her movie. Nonetheless, the spark between Igor and Niko that Lena catches on tape is authentic and genuine, born from the boys’ tentative but intense feelings for one another. Therefore, Igor, who already receives flak from his teammates for this theatrical endeavor, doesn’t want Lena to put his interaction with Niko so brazenly in her film.
Yet, Lena maintains that the film won’t be viewed by anyone other than the film school committee. In contrast, Niko tries to talk her out of her stubborn decision, asserting that putting the scene in the film without Igor’s final consent would be a gross breach of his trust. Although Lena leaves the cabin and finishes her final cut at her parent’s hotel room away from Niko and his input, she still takes her best friend’s words into consideration.
In the end, when Niko arrives at the hotel to retrieve the filming gear Lena left with, he learns that Lena has made the decision to cut the scene from the film. Even though Lena’s end-all romance lies within her desperate filmmaking passion, she’s unwilling to hurt Niko over it. Furthermore, she helps Niko rush to Igor’s campgrounds, where the boy is playing one of the most important games of his life.
Initially, Niko is reluctant to reach out to Igor, convinced that the other boy is angry with him because of the film debacle. Yet, the bond the two boys have discovered between them turns out to be stronger than Niko’s anxieties. Consequently, he arrives at Igor’s game well past its over as a hail mary to save their connection and turn it into something more substantial.
As the show ends, Niko and Igor give into the shy beginning of their relationship, with Niko making plans to hang out with the other boy’s family. Ultimately, Niko and Igor end up together, and Lena pursues the thing that has always been the most important to her: filmmaking.
Does Lena Get Into the Film School?
Despite finding her in a love triangle throughout the show, Lena’s narrative makes it clear that her true passion lies within ensuring the well-being of her movie. While Niko and Igor often prioritize their relationship with each other and Lena over the shoots, Lena keeps her intense attachment to the film visible. Even though Niko understands the film’s significance in Lena’s life to some extent, Igor, who hardly knows her, remains detached.
Consequently, when Lena produces her final cut, Niko offers her instrumental advice. After cutting the sex scene from the film, the story is left with a gaping cavity that is obvious to every viewer, even Lena’s mother. Therefore, Lena needs something to conclude her film and provide it with the satisfying end that it needs in order for her portfolio to be worth noticing.
Since Niko has decided to pursue another career, having realized he was only into filmmaking because of Lena, the girl feels alone in her undertaking. Yet, Niko, Lena’s perpetual target audience of one, steps in and helps her with the project’s final cut. Lena desperately wishes to convey the world as she sees it through her film. Due to her autism, Lena can’t help but feel othered by the general public, who hardly understand the inner workings of her mind without putting in effort.
Therefore, Lena wants her film to convey emotions and truth with striking authenticity. Thus, Niko suggests Lena insert a voiceover outro to her film, now renamed “On Summer, Briefly,” to round out the narrative. With the edits made, Lena submitted her portfolio to the film school. On the day of her interview, she screens her story for the board members and discusses her filmmaking with them.
The interview remains nerve-wracking, with a few stones in the path, but Lena faces it head-on. In the end, the girl learns that the film school has accepted her application and celebrates her life-altering accomplishment.