Nocebo Ending, Explained: Does Christine Die?

An excellent psychological thriller flick is hard to execute, but director Lorcan Finnegan brings ‘Nocebo‘ to life brilliantly. Starring Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, and Billie Gadsdon, the Filipino-Irish movie is written by Garret Shanley. The story is of an ambitious fashion designer who dreadfully faces an unknown illness. The mysterious symptoms leave the doctors, and her husband stunned. Eventually, a Filipino caretaker enters their lives, and she exposes the harsh truth that leads the family to ruin. There are various elements of the film that go unexplained in the plot and leave the viewers in confusion. We have all the answers explaining the ending of ‘Nocebo’ for you right here. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Nocebo Plot Synopsis

The movie starts with Christine and Felix fighting over who will drop Roberta, aka Bobs, off to school. The couple is ready to leave for work, and eventually, Christine drops Bobs off. This sets the movie’s tone as the parent neglects their daughter and only pays attention to their work. As Christine arrives at the office, she fixes up a few children’s costumes as they are getting ready for a photo shoot. Christine designs kids’ apparel for a living and is quite good at it.

She steps out to answer a call where she is informed of a horrible incident. At the same time, she sees a tick-infested dog standing in front of her. As the dog slowly moves towards her, it shakes itself, making the ticks spread over to Christine. She screams and shouts, but nobody comes to rescue her. A tick is seen attaching itself to the back of Christine’s neck.

After a time jump of 8 months, Christine is seen suffering and taking medicines to improve her health. Felix and Bobs are worried for her as they are unaware of how to make her feel alright. She gets shakes, rashes, headaches, and even memory loss, where certain simple and regular things slip her mind. One day, a Filipino woman named Diana comes to the house claiming that Christine asked her to come. In comparison, Christine does not know the same. She reluctantly welcomes Diana and makes room for her.

As the story progresses, we see Diana’s past life in flashbacks. Her memories show her teenage years, her personal life, and even her daughter’s birth. When Diana sees Christine suffering, she offers to help. Diana reveals herself as a Healer or Umu, as known in their language and culture. She uses folk remedies and natural substances to make her feel better. But with the healing process, we also see something sinister brewing in her ways. Diana collects nails, hair, and even Christine’s blood. She keeps all of this in a makeshift altar with her other healing apparatus.

Felix is not too trusting and doubts Diana’s motives. He goes to talk to Diana but to no avail. She warns Felix to be careful on the stairs when their pet, Big Bird, flies around Felix, making him imbalanced. To protect himself, Felix slaps the bird away and kills it. Bobs is very upset over this and befriends Diana in the sadness. Even though Bobs does not like her, Diana slowly includes herself in Bobs’ life.

Felix finds Christine’s lost medicines under Diana’s bed. This causes Christine to throw her out of the house. But having Bobs on her side now, Diana asks her to help her stay there forever. Bobs lies to Christine about the medicines being in Felix’s car. Christine and Felix fight, and he moves downstairs to give her space. As he steps on the stairs, Big Bird reappears out of nowhere, and Felix falls onto the floor and gets badly injured. With Felix admitted to the hospital, Diana clears her path to Christine and eventually seeks her revenge, forming the movie’s climax.

Nocebo Ending Explained: Why Does Diana Make Christine Work On The Sewing Machine?

After Diana departs from the house, Christine starts feeling uneasy again. She takes her medicines though nothing makes her feel better. Her symptoms get worse day after day. With Felix in the hospital after being accused of stealing the medicines, Diana returns to the house scot-free. However, this time, instead of curing Christine, she reveals that it’s time to tackle the root of the issue.

Diana makes Christine sit at the sewing machine and presents the incident that intertwined their paths in the form of a vision. She makes Christine see what she is paying for and the horrible acts her ambition committed. To earn some extra money, Diana used to go to a fabric workshop where numerous women stitched clothes for a high-end fashion brand. It turns out to be none other than Christine’s brand. The working conditions are horrible with the ensuing heat and continuous work to meet a certain quota.

When Christine visits the workshop, she meets Diana’s daughter Anina and even clicks a picture with her. She even compliments Diana on her work. Christine notices no lock on the door from where workers come and go. She instructs the manager to keep it locked so that the clothes are accounted for. Furthermore, she urges the manager to increase the workload. When he argues that the quality will be hampered, she cites finding a way where there’s a will.

The working conditions worsen after Christine’s suggestions come into effect. Diana’s purpose behind making Christine work at the sewing machine is to precisely make her experience the consequences of her ambition as faced by other workers. With the harsh restrictions, she brought misery to all women who worked there. Diana makes Christine realize her wrongdoings and does not let her stop working. Christine continues to operate the machine as she gets lost in the vision that Diana creates.

Christine’s hunger for more is compared to a parasite latching on a person and taking away everything. It’s safe to assume that this is why Diana chooses a tick to be her motif which ultimately makes Christine pay for her actions. The movie also sheds light on a side effect of capitalism which often neglects humanism and basic human requirements. A reflection of today’s greedy society, ‘Nocebo’ makes viewers face the repercussions of humans’ never-ending thirst for success.

Does Christine Die?

Diana keeps shouting at Christine and makes her sew continuously. She makes Christine suffer just as the women in the workshop suffer. In the vision, we finally see the reason behind Diana’s contempt for Christine. The awful conditions in the factory led to a fire that burned the whole building. This happens when Diana steps out to get water for her daughter Anina.

She cries and yells to be let in, but she cannot go back and save Anina. Due to the locked exit door, the fire kills numerous workers. Had it been open, the workers could have fled the fire and saved their lives. This is how Christine’s relentless ambition causes the death of the workers and innocent Anina as well.

Diana recreates the whole scene in Christine’s eyes as she sees bodies burning and screaming in plight. Christine even sees Anina covering her eyes and ultimately catching on fire. In this twisted tale of revenge, Christine burns just as Diana’s precious daughter Anina succumbs to her death. Felix comes home to find his wife on the sewing machine, burnt to ashes. He recognizes her by her lucky shoes still intact on her feet. Christine’s life ends in a poetic fashion when she reaps what she sows; even her lucky shoes cannot sway karma.

What Happens To Bobs?

After being extremely kind and sweet to Bobs, Diana earns her trust and befriends her. She even makes Bobs lie to her mother about the medicines, pinning the blame on Felix for stealing the meds. Returning to Christine’s good graces, Diana puts her plan into motion and gets her revenge.

While healing Christine, Diana tells her that an Umu is a mighty being. They are capable of healing you or completely destroying you with their powers. They understand the world as regular humans don’t. But it’s said that one should never be near an Umu when one dies. The reason is that as their souls exit their bodies after death, it enters the body nearby. This is what happened to Diana in her childhood, giving her the power of an Umu.

At first, we get the impression that Diana will take Bobs for herself and raise her as a daughter since Anina dies. But she does something worse, and burdens Bobs with the power of an Umu. The soul of an Umu is personified as a baby crow in ‘Nocebo.’ The Umu’s soul exits Diana and enters Bobs, making her continue the legacy of the powerful beings. The last scene witnesses Bobs collecting plants and stones. She sees a glimpse of Diana and realizes that Diana fulfilled her promise of being with Bobs forever.

What Happens To Diana?

Diana feels heartbroken and dejected after her daughter Anina’s death. She feels lost and ultimately resolves to get revenge on the woman responsible for her misery. This is why she goes through so much effort and uses her Umu powers to make Christine go through hell.

Following Christine’s death, Diana asks Bobs to go to the garden and look up. Diana jumps from the terrace and falls to death. This scene foreshadows a glimpse earlier in the movie when Bobs tells Felix that she saw Diana flying. Having exacted her revenge and fulfilled her purpose, Diana now set the path to punish Christine’s daughter just as Anina suffered at the hands of Christine. Bobs stands over Diana’s body when she dies. The Umu’s soul, shown as a young nestling, enters Bobs and gives her the power of cure and destruction.

Diana’s fate connects to those of Christine and her family. The universe does work in mysterious ways and the interconnected lives brought wrath and misery upon everyone. It can also be argued that Diana got closer to Bobs and left her with the Umu’s power as a gift. But, in the flashbacks, we see that Diana suffered because of her powers. Everyone took advantage of her and used her for the abilities she had. Bobs would feel the same pressure but can be helpful to people. It all boils down to how she plans on using the abilities she received. Nonetheless, the powers of Umu will extract a toll on Bobs’ health as well.

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