Directed by debutant filmmaker Mary Nighy from a script by Alanna Francis, ‘Alice, Darling’ is a 2022 psychological thriller drama film that explores the importance of a robust support system for people facing abuse in their relationship. The plot revolves around Alice (Anna Kendrick), who, at the start of the film, seems to lead a typical urban life. However, it becomes increasingly clear that her boyfriend, Simon (Charlie Carrick), is psychologically abusive toward her. When she goes on a vacation with her two closest friends, Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku), her issues also become apparent to them. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘Alice, Darling.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Alice, Darling Plot Synopsis
The film begins with a brief flashforward. We see Alice swimming underwater, and she appears happy. The story then shifts back to the present, and happiness is replaced by apprehension, doubt, and fear. She is out on a rare get-together with her friends, and they discuss a potential vacation together “up north” to celebrate Tess’ 30th birthday. There is a cabin there belonging to Sophie’s parents, and she promises that the owners will not drop by unannounced. Alice visibly flinches whenever she receives a message from Simon and tells her friends that she will consider the vacation plans before leaving early.
Simon isn’t physically abusive, but he controls almost every aspect of Alice’s life, which has led to a co-dependent relationship between them, with Simon always in charge. Alice knows he will not let her go on vacation with her friends. So, she gathers enough courage to lie to Simon and tell him she must go on a work trip to Minneapolis. Simon initially doesn’t think much of it, and Alice leaves for her vacation. During the vacation, her friends realize that Alice is not alright.
In parallel to the main plot, there is a secondary narrative that revolves around a missing local girl named Andrea Evans. After arriving at the cabin, Alice and her friends learn about her disappearance, and at one point, Alice joins the search party looking for the girl. Andrea’s disappearance represents Alice’s own struggles in her relationship with Simon and where it can potentially lead if she doesn’t walk out of it.
Alice, Darling Ending: Does Alice Leave Simon?
It is established early in the film that Simon and Alice’s relationship is toxic for the latter, and she is gradually losing her sense of self-worth. Simon is a successful artist who turns to Alice for support when he has doubts about his future and abilities, using the imbalanced relationship between them to prop up his confidence. In return, he seems to take pleasure in subtly and openly humiliating her, knowing well the effects it has on her psyche. His control on Alice is so absolute that the latter has often wondered if he can read minds. And that alludes to another aspect of Simon’s personality — he is intelligent and manipulative.
Simon knows that Alice’s biggest source of support and strength is her friendship with Sophie and Tess. So, he tries to pull her away from them, subtly influencing Alice’s behavior in such a way that she becomes confrontational with the other two girls. This is why arguments between Tess and Alice during the vacation regularly devolve into Alice pointing out that Tess is not a successful artist compared to Simon and doesn’t know where her life is heading. Although Alice has a better relationship with Sophie — likely because Sophie is not as brutally honest and assertive as Tess — she isn’t exempt from Alice’s attacks, which the latter commits unknowingly.
Sophie realizes that Alice has developed an eating disorder because of Simon and points it out to her friend. Alice puts a handful of blueberries in her mouth to prove her wrong. But then she receives a phone call from Simon and proceeds to spit the blueberries out before speaking to Simon. Eventually, she tells her friends the truth, shattering the conditioning that Simon has put her through.
After that, things get better for Alice. She once more becomes the person she used to be before she met Simon. As she regains her old self, Alice ignores Simon’s incessant calls, focusing on her vacation with her friends. For the first time in a long while, she lets herself be without the reservations that Simon has placed on her mind. As her friends change her life, it allows the dynamic between them to change in return.
Having not heard from her in a while, Simon arrives one day out of the blue and soon forces Alice to leave with him. It seems that Simon’s arrival has made her relapse. It surprises her friends, who initially watch her go. However, they realize that what Alice is doing is not necessarily of her own volition and decide to rescue their friend. Sophie and Tess catch up with Alice and Simon, and Sophie slams her maul into the back windshield of Simon’s car, shattering it. This seems to also undo the control Simon has over Alice. Alice gets out and resolutely ignores Simon’s demand for her to return to the car. Tess puts herself between Alice and Simon like a physical barrier protecting her friend. Realizing that he has lost his hold on Alice, Simon makes a snide remark about giving it a week and throwing out all of Sophie’s luggage from his car before leaving.
The ending scene circles back to the flashforward we saw at the start of the movie. Alice rows a longboard to the middle of the lake and jumps in. As she looks up at the surface of the water, she is happy and at peace. She breaks out of the water and lets herself breathe — an action that serves as a metaphor for Alice moving on from her relationship with Simon.
What Happened to Andrea Evans??
The subplot involving Andrea adds complexity to the narrative of ‘Alice, Darling,’ while underscoring some key themes of the film. Shortly after arriving at the cabin, Alice learns about Andrea’s disappearance from two police officers. She later decides to join the search party instead of accompanying her friends. Although they are initially agitated at her, Sophie and Tess gradually realize why the girl Alice doesn’t even know has suddenly become important to her.
In many ways, Alice sees her current circumstances reflected by what has happened to Andrea. She comes to believe that the young woman has been trapped somewhere just like her and can’t get out. By joining the search efforts for Andrea, Alice tries to help herself as well. However, it is again Simon who takes away that dash of hope by showing Alice and her friends the newspaper, where it is reported that the girl’s body has been found.
We never really learn what actually happened to Andrea, and that’s alright because the purpose of that subplot has already been fulfilled. It is there to underscore the devastating effects that Simon’s words have on Alice. She desperately hoped that the girl was alive and would be found, which would mean that there was hope for her as well. By revealing Andrea’s fate, Simon takes away Alice’s hope and the progress she has made since coming to the cabin.
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