Netflix’s ‘God’s Crooked Lines’ is a Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Oriol Paulo. Originally titled ‘Los renglones torcidos de Dios,’ the movie is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Torcuato Luca de Tena. The story follows Alice, a private investigator who poses as a mentally ill person and admits herself to an asylum. Her true motive is to uncover the truth behind a potential murder inside the asylum, but as she learns about the hospital, she realizes something bigger is at play.
Alice’s mental health is one of the film’s biggest mysteries. The various doctors and staff question Alice and themselves about the true nature of her mental state. Toward the end, we seem to reach an absolute answer, but a final twist leaves us in a dilemma. The narrative is left open-ended, and the audience wonders what is true and what isn’t. Well, allow us to appease your curiosity. Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of ‘God’s Crooked Lines.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
God’s Crooked Lines Plot Synopsis
‘God’s Crooked Lines’ is set in 1979 in a mental asylum named Our Lady of Fountain Hospital. Dr. Teodoro Ruipérez, one of the doctors at the hospital, receives information about Alice from Dr. Donadio. The latter tells that Alice is a compulsive liar and an extremely manipulative person who can entrap anyone in her web of lies. When Alice reaches the hospital, she asks for Director Samuel Alvar and learns he will return only after two to three weeks. After Dr. Ruipérez asks about Alice and her relationship with her husband, he diagnoses her with paranoia. He talks about how she poisoned her husband three times and tried to kill him. But Alice denies those allegations despite expressing animosity toward her partner.
As the narrative progresses, Alice reveals to another doctor, César Arellano, she is a private investigator whose only aim is to find out about the death of a former patient named Damian del Olmo. Alice explains Damian’s father, Garcia, tasked her with the job, and only Dr. Damuel Alvar knows about her assignment in the asylum. Initially, Arellano doesn’t believe her, but as the narrative progresses, she gains his confidence. Alice snoops around the hospital, gets access to Damian’s files, and wonders why Dr. Samuel Alvar never informed the police about it.
When Dr. Alvar returns to the asylum, he says he doesn’t know Alice, and the two haven’t ever spoken. Alice says that he’s lying and behaves violently. Due to her actions, Dr. Alvar gives her a sedative, and later, she gets a chance to explain everything to Ruipérez, Arellano, Alvar, and a few other staff at the hospital. Alice describes how she lied to Ruipérez when they first met. The investigator says everything is perfectly alright with Heliodoro and reveals how Heliodoro introduced her to Garcia del Olmo. Alice reiterates her mission and asks people to vet her story. After the story is over, she sees a person who says he is Garcia del Olmo. Alice cannot recognize the person and the staff members question the legitimacy of her accounts.
As the movie progresses, Alice tries to prove her mental stability while Samuel Alvar applies his most aggressive methods to treat her. During one of his procedures, Alice gets an epiphany and realizes that her husband planned the entire thing with Dr. Alvar. According to her, Heliodoro wanted Alice’s wealth and money, so he trapped her by drawing her attention toward a fake case. Alice says her husband is powerful enough to influence Alvar and make another man pose as Garcia del Olmo. Toward the end, Alice convinces the staff about her sanity, but Dr. Alvar doesn’t budge from his analysis. After the board votes on whether Alice is ill, Dr. Alvar summons Dr. Donadio to prove his point, and Alice doesn’t seem to recognize him either. So, is Alice sane, or is she ill? Let us find out.
God’s Crooked Lines Ending: Is Alice Gould Mentally Ill or Sane?
The ending of ‘God’s Crooked Lines‘ comes down to a simple question – Is Alice lying or not? Throughout the movie, the hospital staff sways between the two possibilities. Each revelation leads them to change their stance, and the movie’s end leaves them on an eerily uncertain note. Why doesn’t Alice recognize Dr. Donadio? Is she cooking up another explanation in her mind? Well, here are our theories.
Theory 1: Alice Gould is Mentally Ill
Alice Gould might be mentally ill in ‘God’s Crooked Lines.’ We do not know much about Alice’s past and her relationship with her husband. We only know that she might have poisoned Heliodoro thrice before he realized it. But the movie never mentions the motive behind her actions. If we look closely, we can infer the probable motive from several instances, habits, and traits. In addition, her mannerisms might also prove Alice is a compulsive liar and manipulator. One of Alice’s significant characteristics might be narcissism; we see it manifest on different occasions. Alice discredits Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory, which was prevalent in 1979. Every time someone tends to disagree with Alice, she turns against them. Dr. Alvar becomes her nemesis because he is not ready to believe her lies like the others. Owing to his experience, he understands that condition Alice suffers from.
Alice’s superiority complex might lead her to poison her husband. Although she says she studied chemistry and later became a private investigator, we never see her do anything related to both fields. We see her involved only with Damian’s case, which seems odd. On the other hand, Alice puts her husband down in front of the doctors by saying how he only knows to play poker and polo. She also mentions that she doesn’t believe that her husband studied law. But when we look at Heliodoro, he seems to be doing more than Alice. He plays polo, interacts with various people, attends charity functions, and appears to be a part of influential circles.
When Heliodoro is talking to some women at a club, Alice gives him a look that seems to come from a place of jealousy. After all, he seems more accomplished than her. These instances show that Alice harbored jealousy and animosity toward her husband and wanted to kill him. We also see a pattern in how Alice lies and uses different pieces of information to form her truth.
At the film’s beginning, Alice says that she doesn’t like her husband, but when she gets into a problem, Alice says that everything is fine between Heliodoro and her. When Dr. Alvar doesn’t buy her explanation and performs the electroshock procedure on her, she imagines that Heliodoro is the true perpetrator behind everything. So, Alice changes her stance and blames everything on the man she wants to kill. Alice’s theories and explanations seem too convenient at all points. She lies her way through almost anything due to the lack of proof. But when Dr. Alvar proves that Alice does not know Garcia del Olmo and Dr. Donadio, Alice is at a loss for words.
Every time Alice faces reality, she goes through dissonance, and Alice convinces herself that she is right. At the end, when Dr. Donadio appears before her, we see her expression alter drastically. Alice’s mind seems to be processing the dissonance, and the audience is given the impression that Alice has been lying all along. Thus, to reiterate, Alice might be mentally ill and a compulsive liar who changes her story in a way that nobody can disprove it.
Theory 2: Alice Gould is Sane
Alice might be sane and a victim of an extensive scheme plotted by Heliodoro and Dr. Alvar. One of the significant reasons behind this conclusion is Dr. Samuel Alvar’s behavior throughout the movie. Although the man talks about healing everybody and bringing reforms to mental health institutions, he seems quite selfish. For instance, when Luis Ojedas dies, he doesn’t feel the need to inform the police. When a murder occurs in the hospital, Dr. Alvar only cares about his reputation. He calls the inspector to his office and tries to bury the matter. The two instances give us a glimpse of who Dr. Alvar is beneath the facade of a contemporary mental health specialist.
Another intriguing aspect of Dr. Alvar’s character is his behavior toward Alice. Every time Alice tries to disprove him and discredit his analysis, the man gets defensive. In one scene, he yells at her because he cannot stand Alice questioning him. If Dr. Alvar truly believed that Alice was sick, his demeanor would have been different toward her. He would be more empathetic toward Alice’s condition. A major part of therapists’ job while treating their patients is establishing trust. Dr. Alvar never tries to build that with Alice because she will likely expose him.
Besides Dr. Alvar’s mannerisms, we also discover that Heliodoro paid him two million. Thus, it becomes more obvious that he is co-conspiring with Alice’s husband and wants to prove that she is insane. When Castell finds the receipt, he says it is merely a donation from Heliodoro, which he deposited in the foundation’s account. The explanation doesn’t add up because Heliodoro doesn’t know Dr. Alvar personally. Ideally, Alice’s husband should have donated it directly to the foundation.
In the end, when everyone takes a vote on Alice’s discharge, he withdraws his vote and acts pompous. Dr. Alvar says he feels sorry for all the doctors and their incompetence because they believe in a sick patient. He gives Castell an envelope that is addressed to the Minister of Health. Dr. Alvar resigns for personal reasons and asks Castell not to file a report against him. As he is about to leave, Dr. Alvar tells how he summoned Dr. Donadio to prove that Alice is wrong. When Dr. Donadio appears, Alice is unable to recognize him. Considering how Dr. Alvar has connections in various places, it is likely that Dr. Donadio might be a conspirator too. Alice might again prove her sanity by telling the board how Dr. Alvar, Heliodoro, and Dr. Donadio plotted the scheme together.
Does Alice Leave the Mental Institution?
Alice likely leaves the mental institution because the board of doctors unanimously votes that Alice is mentally stable. Although Dr. Donadio appears in the end, Alice might find a way to explain everything. In the beginning, she says that she takes pride in getting what she wants, no matter the cost. Thus, Alice can leave the mental institution even if she is mentally ill. After all, she could have escaped after starting a fire but decided to stay back due to certain circumstances. If Alice is truly sane, the doctors will let her go, but if she is mentally ill, she will plan another strategy to run away.
Read More: Where Was God’s Crooked Lines Filmed?