‘The Father Who Moves Mountains’ is a hauntingly beautiful movie. It’s not just because it was filmed in the gorgeous and imposing Bucegi Mountains, but also because writer-director Daniel Sandu pits his protagonist — a man of seemingly indomitable spirit — against the might and immovability of the mountains where his son has gone missing.
The film unfolds like a morality play and does have a central lesson it wants to teach its audience. But it also enunciates the human elements, investing time and effort in establishing why the protagonist is willing to financially and emotionally ruin himself to find his son when everyone else, including his former wife, seems to have given up. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Father Who Moves Mountains.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Father Who Moves Mountains Plot Synopsis
Former Romanian intelligence officer Mircea Jianu (Adrian Titieni) is settled in his life. He is an affluent man with connections in the government because of his work. Mircea is in a relationship with a much younger woman, Alina (Judith State), and they have a baby on the way. They have even gotten a new house, which they are getting ready for the baby’s arrival. Just when Mircea’s new life seems to be happy and fulfilled, the old one comes calling. He learns that his son Cosmin and his girlfriend Daniela have gone missing in the Bucegi Mountains.
Daniela contacted the emergency services and told them that she was lost in the mountains. The authorities subsequently informed Daniela’s parents, who told them about Cosmin. While heading toward one of the towns located at the foothills of the Bucegi, Mircea finally gets a hold of his former wife, Paula (Elena Purea), and tells her what has happened.
After reaching the town, Mircea meets Cristian Nistor (Valeriu Andriuta), the head of the mountain rescue team. He learns that all their efforts up until this point have been futile. They have found no signs of either Cosmin or Daniela. With their phones being dead, the best-case scenario is that they are trapped somewhere. But it’s winter, so even if they have shelter, they can only last for so long.
Mircea has always been a man of action and feels that he can’t sit idly by while his son is out there in the mountains, likely freezing to death. So, he convinces Cristian to let him join the search party but soon realizes how grueling trekking in snowy high altitudes can be. Frustrated by the lack of progress in the search operation, he reaches out to his old contacts in the agency. Shortly after, a unit of the intelligence agency arrives with state-of-art technology to help him find Cosmin. Meanwhile, Paula spends most of her time in the church.
Even with the agency and their equipment, no traces of Cosmin and Daniela can initially be found. Cristian feels that his authority has been usurped after the agency comes to the town. A local girl goes missing in the mountains, and her mother begs Mircea to allocate some of the resources to find the missing girl. But both he and Paula decide that finding Cosmin takes precedence over everything else. The Mountain Rescue eventually finds the girl, and Mircea’s actions earn him the resentment of an entire town.
The Father Who Moves Mountains Ending: Does Mircea Find Cosmin? Are Cosmin and Daniela Dead?
No, Mircea doesn’t find Cosmin. Yes, Cosmin and Daniela are dead. Arguably, the two most important motifs in the film are guilt and obsession. Mircea cheated on Paula and ultimately left her. Cosmin was predominantly brought up by his mother. When he goes missing, Mircea is overwhelmed with a sense of guilt because he hasn’t been there for his son all this time. His frantic search for Cosmin stems from that guilt and eventually evolves into an obsession.
The agency operatives eventually find Cosmin and Daniela’s phones buried together under several meters of snow. This leads them to conclude that the young adults died together in an avalanche. Filip (Tudor Smoleanu), Mircea’s old friend and colleague, suggests that they should wait until spring to recover the bodies. But Mircea refuses, convincing him to keep digging. His obsession has now turned from finding his son alive to recovering his body as soon as possible. And that obsession nearly kills several people during an avalanche. The agency subsequently refuses to help him any longer and leaves.
Alina leaves when she finds out that Mircea has sold their home so he can use the money to offer a reward for whoever recovers Cosmin’s body. Daniela’s parents leave soon after, too physically and emotionally exhausted to continue any longer. Even Paula leaves, thinking that it’s her presence that’s keeping Mircea there. But Mircea stays. Every day, he goes out with some hired people and trusted and loyal assistant Laurentiu (Virgil Aioanei) to dig out Cosmin’s body.
Eventually, Alina comes back, and they reconcile. But Mircea’s struggle against the mountains continues. At this point, his actions are driven not necessarily by obsession but by a selfless and deeply-rooted resolve. On the radio, he hears that a man has been injured in the mountains, and he lets others go help that man while he keeps on digging. The film ends there, with Mircea not yet recovering his son’s body.