‘Carnaval’ is a light-hearted Brazilian friendship comedy that follows a social media influencer who, following going viral for all the wrong reasons, heads to the flamboyant Carnival festival with her friends to boost her online following. What follows are four colorful journeys of self-realization amidst the celebrations, as each of the friends grapples with their insecurities and overcomes their fears. An ending, though predictable, sees the protagonist and her friends decidedly wiser and closer together. Let’s take a look at the ending of ‘Carnaval’ and make sure we got everything that this colorful social media tale offers. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Carnaval Plot Synopsis
‘Carnaval’ opens with Nina excitedly listening to her fortune being told by a tarot card reader. The fortune-teller informs Nina of her inherent likability, which she readily acknowledges, informing the old lady that she’s a social media influencer and that her boyfriend is a perfect match due to his own significant online following. Nina is then informed that she will soon go on a transformational journey, which she also acknowledges, as she’s planning on going for a trip with her beau Marcao.
Soon after, Nina sees a video of her boyfriend cheating on her, and her reaction goes viral. However, she manages to get herself and her friends, Mayra, Michelle, and Vivi, invited to the Carnival celebrations in Bahia as guests of the famous pop singer Freddy Nunes. The girls are excited, but upon reaching there, they realize that due to Nina not having reached a million followers, their stay is not going to be as glamorous as expected. Nina also runs into a famous influencer she idolizes at their resort but finds her aloof.
Soon enough, the aspiring social media celebrity catches the eye of Nunes, who whisks her and her friends up into the VIP party scenes they’ve been hoping to get into. However, her friends get increasingly annoyed as Nina pushes them aside to get more opportunities to collect online followers. Things get heated on their way to the final celebration, after which the four get separated amongst the thronging crowds of the Carnival parade. An increasingly anxious Nina then finds out that her popular pop idol love interest is gay.
Carnaval Ending Explained: Does Nina Reach a Million Followers?
Nina and her friends make up after Nina realizes how lonely her life would be without them. She also sees her social media idol fall from grace over insensitive comments she made whilst inebriated. Nunes, with Nina’s encouragement, comes out of the closet and surprises his clandestine boyfriend of many years. Nina’s friend Vivi, though initially skeptical, falls for one of their trip’s organizers, Samir. Michelle’s ongoing mystery about not being able to find the man she shared a magical kiss with is also solved. Nina is thanked by her once idol who decides to go on a journey of self-exploration herself and, in the closing scenes of ‘Carnaval,’ we see Nina and her friends reunited on the beaches of Bahia.
We see Nina’s priorities shift over the course of the movie as she realizes the importance of the people in her life, specifically her friends. However, her all-encompassing goal since the beginning of the movie is to reach a million followers on Instagram. The target is reinforced when Nina and her friends realize that only influencers with over a million followers are welcome to the resort hosting Nunes’ high-profile parties. So, did Nina hit that count?
During Nina’s high point in the movie — when she finds herself on the stage with Nunes, surrounded by thousands of adoring fans — she briefly checks her phone. At this point, her Instagram profile has just over 900,000 followers, which already makes her very excited. Considering that her following has already doubled since she arrived at the carnival and that it is growing at an unprecedented rate, Nina does reach 1 million followers.
However, it is interesting to note that bookending her realization that she is close to a million followers are scenes that portray people protesting her social media idol’s ignorant comments and her friend Mayra getting manhandled by the crowd. Soon after this scene, Nina is thrown into a turbulent series of events during which she can’t find any of her friends and ends up going live on Instagram whilst alone on the beach, crying. It is at this point, her lowest, that Nina most probably reaches her target of a million followers. She is then seen briefly checking Instagram at home, surrounded by her sleeping friends, where her profile has crossed a million followers.
What Did Nina Realize?
This film is a journey of self-discovery, and that is made obvious as such right from the get-go with Nina being introduced as someone who only measures the value of people based on their social media following. Her excitement about her relationship with her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend is based on how he has even more followers than her, and her subsequent anger at his infidelity is raised when she realizes that he slept with someone who only had 1400 followers.
In the movie, Nina has multiple realizations that show her what is truly important. The foremost lesson that she imbibes, and states as such near the end of the movie, is that friends are the most important thing in the world. Her idol, who initially advises Nina not to get held back by her friends but who eventually falls from grace because she has no one to stop her when she’s wrong, plays a big role in Nina’s transformation.
Seeing her idol Luana delete her Instagram account— the source of all her fame— obviously has a deep impact on Nina, who, it should be noted, keeps her own account active despite her realizations. In a way, it’s funny that in a movie about Nina, it is a side character that undergoes a much more significant transformation.
Nina and her friends’ proudly Bahian guide Salvador also helps Nina realize the beauty of the present, telling her that he lives his “stories” in real life, not online. He also stops the influencer from taking photos, imploring her to just look at the view. In the end, we see Nina with Salvador, who doesn’t even use social media, telling us that Nina’s priorities have indeed changed.
Do Nina and Salvador End Up Together?
After a brief spark at the end of a day spent with Salvador showing Nina the cultural, less commercial side of his city, the ambitious social media influencer cuts short their evening in favor of being with the famous pop singer Freddy Nunes. However, through all her realizations, Nina finally sees the wisdom in Salvador’s advice of living in the moment and, at the end of the movie, is seen with him. Does this mean the two end up together? It seems unlikely.
For one, despite Nina being reminded about the importance of friends and a life outside of social media, she still seems to be very attached to her online persona. Her first gesture after being reunited with her friends is to post a picture of all of them together on her Instagram profile. This is unlike the “reformed” celebrity influencer Luana who deleted her profile in favor of finding herself.
Nina hasn’t given up on social media. Through the experiences we see her undergo, she is cognizant of the importance of her friends and has likely become more empathetic towards them. However, we don’t see anything to suggest that Nina’s ambition has diminished. Hence, apart from a fling lasting for a few days, it is difficult to see Nina getting into a relationship with the laid-back Salvador, who doesn’t seem to believe in social media. The two also live in different cities, making it all the more difficult for the unlikely relationship to blossom.
How Did Nina’s Friends Evolve?
Nina’s friends each go through their own, less intense transformational journeys during their time in Bahia. Vivi, who holds great disdain for anyone who looks like they go to the gym and looks down on them as not being smart, has to grapple with their shockingly macho tour guide Samir who also happens to be a geek. In the end, she learns not to judge a book by its cover, as she accepts that she was wrong to hold Samir’s looks against him.
Mayra, Nina’s spiritual friend who underwent a traumatic experience as a child when she got lost, also makes her peace with her childhood self after surviving being lost in the madness of the carnival. It is also hinted that her friendship with Nina began when, as children, the latter held onto her hand to stop her from getting lost.
The promiscuous party girl of the group Michelle, though unclear if there is a lesson, evolves from being with one partner to two. Realizing that her confusion about the inconsistently magical kisses of her mystery man was because he also had a twin walking around at the party, Michelle is seen with both men at the end of the movie.
Read More: Is Netflix’s Carnaval a True Story?