Is Netflix’s Where the Tracks End Based on a True Story?

Netflix’s ‘Where the Tracks End’ (also known as ‘El Ultimo Vagon’) is a Mexican drama movie directed by Ernesto Contreras. Set in the backdrop of rural Mexico, the movie follows Miss Georgina, the elderly teacher at a wagon school who tries to transform the lives of her young students. When a young boy named Ikal arrives in the small town with his parents, he forms endearing friendships and receives life-changing guidance from Miss Georgina. Given the heartfelt and feel-good nature, rustic atmosphere, and realistic performances, viewers must wonder if real events inspired it. If you wish to learn whether ‘Where the Tracks End’ is based on a true story, here is everything we know!

Is Where the Tracks End a True Story?

No, ‘Where the Tracks End’ is not based on a true story. The film is an adaptation of  ‘El Ultimo Vagon,’ a novel by author Angeles Donate. The book was first published in 2019 in Spanish and became a critical success. It tells a fictional story and isn’t inspired by any true events. In an interview, the author Angeles Donate revealed that the primary idea behind the book was a desire to explore the impact teaching and teachers have on society, especially the lives of young minds such as the book’s main character, Ikal.

She described the book as a story of the people who generously make us better and stronger. However, the book also tackles the idea of reacting to injustice and violence and does so with the help of some white humor. The 2023 film adaptation of the novel is helmed by director Ernesto Contreras best known for directing episodes of the Netflix crime drama series ‘El Chapo.’ Writer Javier Peñalosa (‘Have a Nice Day!’) wrote the screenplay based on Donate’s book.

For Contreras, the film was a very personal experience since his mother was also a teacher in Mexico, similar to Miss Georgina from the movie. In an interview, the director revealed that his mother, Margarita, was a teacher for nearly 40 years. Contreras wanted to examine and explore his mother’s relationship with her students in the film. The look of Miss Georgina’s house, which is full of books and homework in the movie, was inspired by the director’s own childhood home. Contreras also noted that he wished to pay tribute to teachers in Mexico through the movie. Thus, the director drew inspiration from his personal experiences to shape certain characters and events in the movie.

In a separate interview, Contreras spoke about the movie’s primary themes and messages. The director explained that he wanted to talk about the life-changing encounters people experience, especially during their childhood. It also explores a child’s worldview and their earliest perception of friendship, solidarity, and the possibility of love. These components are contrasted against the reality of the workers, poverty, and the condition of the education system. Lastly, the movie highlights the idea that one person can inspire and transform lives.

All things said, ‘Where the Tracks End’ is not based on a true story. It is a mostly faithful adaptation of author Angeles Donate’s novel ‘El Ultimo Vagon.’ The movie depicts a realistic take on the influence of teachers on young minds and explores the realities of the world through the naive yet thoughtful and innocent worldviews of children. As a result, the movie is high on nostalgia and remains rooted in its characters’ emotional journeys, which denote universally relevant themes. Most of all, the movie pays tribute to all the people and childhood moments that shape us.

Read More: Best Mexican Movies of All Time