Steven Soderbergh is known for his unique take on movies. He is able to capture the minute details of the simplest things with an intriguing perspective that keeps the audiences hooked. In his 30-year career as a filmmaker, Soderbergh has delivered some brilliant movies, and ‘Let Them All Talk’ is just another example of his mastermind. The film dropped on HBO Max on December 10, 2020, with a star-studded cast including Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest, and Candice Bergen. The three play the role of friends who have lost contact with each other after a trip to San Francisco.
The film, which was predominantly shot aboard the magnificent ship, Queen Mary 2, also stars Lucas Hedges and Gemma Chan. It embodies tales of friendship, love, and newly discovered meanings of life through a light-hearted yet thought-inducing plot-line. The film ends in a way that seems to bring about in a circle the various sub-plots tackled in the 1 hour 53 minutes of its run-time. We tried to understand the ending with a little more in-depth scrutiny. Here’s what we figured out. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Let Them All Talk Plot Synopsis
‘Let Them All Talk’ is essentially a movie about a brief journey of self-discovery through attempts at reconciliation with old friends. The story begins with Alice Hughes (Meryl Streep), who seems to be experiencing writer’s block. She is an acclaimed writer more popularly known for her Pulitzer prize-winning book. During a meeting with her newly-assigned editor Karen (Gemma Chan), she reveals her resentment towards her most notable work.
Additionally, she states that she is rather biased towards another of her works, which to her is more personal and is hence a “much better book.” On being inquired about her new endeavors, Alice expresses her interest in the Footling Award for which she has received an invitation. However, she is forbidden from flying, a restriction that has promptly put a stop to her dream of receiving the award in person. Karen suggests that she could opt for a “crossing” via the Queen Mary 2 in exchange for a motivational talk aboard the beautiful ship.
Alice agrees to this offer, and she invites her two friends Susan (Dianne Wiest) and Roberta (Candice Bergen), along with her nephew Tyler (Lucas Hedges). Unknown to Alice, Karen also joins the party of four in a mission to extract facts about her writing processes. The journey from New York to Southampton is filled with revelations about the relationships these people share over talks between two characters at a time, highlighting the priorities of each of these characters; thus, adding to the flavor of the film.
Let Them All Talk Ending
The ending of the film is characterized by the death of Alice Hughes while she makes one last attempt at eliminating her writer’s block. The next morning when Tyler comes to check on her, he is told that Alice died in her sleep. The man, who informs Tyler, is Alice’s physician Dr. Mitchell who can also be spotted on the cruise from time to time, either accompanying Alice on her swim or emerging from her room early in the morning. The latter incidents were mostly Tyler’s observations based on which he had assumed that his aunt was having an affair.
Dr. Mitchell then tells Tyler, Susan, and Roberta that he had insisted he come with Alice on the ship. He reveals to them that Alice had been suffering from a serious physical disorder called Deep Vein Thrombosis, which might have traveled to her lungs, heart, or brain. He says that Alice was bent on traveling to England for the prize and to visit the grave of one of her favorite authors, Blodwyn Pugh.
The three remaining members of the original traveling group then decide what they want to do now. Roberta suggests looking for plane tickets to fly them out as soon as possible, and Susan agrees. Tyler, however, implores that they visit Blodwyn Pugh’s grave in accordance with his aunt’s final wish. Besides picking up the Footling prize, which clearly meant a lot to Alice, we also realize that she was looking for an opportunity to reconcile with her oldest friends with whom she might have spent the most delightful time of her life. The three friends lost touch after a somewhat unsettling trip to San Francisco.
Roberta’s story begins with her selling lingerie to women and her evident discernment towards life, which she mostly blames on Alice. Her life struggles seem to stem from the fact that her rich husband left her with nothing to her name. Her basic motivation is to gain easy money to make her life more comfortable. More than an apology from her dear friend, Roberta stresses on monetary compensation for the use of her story in Alice’s book. In the end, she is seen still trying to work on her ambition as she tries to sell Alice’s diary that she had stolen.
She gets in touch with Karen, who turns the diary down but reciprocates Roberta’s idea of a sequel to Alice’s famous book. Even though she does forgive Alice, her priorities for living a luxurious life remain constant. Susan also turns to the world of writing as she assists Kelvin Kranz, a thriller writer, on his new book involving a murder a poisoning. Susan’s intentions have always been to lead a life that provides meaning to her existence. Her deal with Kranz is exactly the thing that helps her attain a fine balance. She holds no grudges against any of her friends but is clearly devastated by Alice’s death.
Tyler returns to his aunt’s apartment. He defines Alice’s presence in his life to be the most influential. He finds his pictures on Alice’s worktable, and he realizes that he meant as much to Alice as she meant to him. Tyler, shown to be partying with his friends at the beginning of the movie, turns into a mellowed down version of himself on his aunt’s death. He is the one to suggest the visit to Blodwyn’s grave. His own understanding of his aunt and the inspiration she leaves behind, explains why he chooses to return to his aunt’s home.
Does Alice Finish Her Book?
No, Alice does not finish her book. In what can be described as a vague series of abrupt clips, we see how Alice’s thinking processes shape her books. However, in the end, the montage of clips, including a green satin bed, a beehive, the hand of a man adorned with an engagement ring, and her own lifeless body, indicates that she was on a path to a different style of the book. The only remnants of this idea are preserved in the diary that Roberta steals but later asks Karen to give it to Tyler. Alice’s nephew then returns the diary, her last tangible piece of memory, to its rightful place – her home.
Why Does Alice Invite Roberta And Susan?
The invitations extended to Roberta and Susan are Alice’s own attempts at redemption. She wants to reconnect with them, especially with Roberta, whom she knows she has wronged. She also agrees with Roberta’s demand for monetary compensation. Her willingness to share her favorite author’s work with her friends is also a reflection of her motivations. Alice’s aspirations to visit the grave of Blodwyn were perhaps her perceived end to her efforts at reviving her friendships.
Read More: Is Let Them All Talk A True Story?