If cats are not enough to trouble you, imagine having a Schrodinger’s husband! In Mennan Yapo’s 2007 psychological thriller ‘Premonition,’ the story makes sense only if you think like the movie. Linda hears the news of her husband’s death but finds him alive the following day. Is Jim dead, or does Linda secretly fear the death of her husband?
Sandra Bullock delivers a remarkably grounded performance against Julian McMahon in the lead role. Although the movie cannot get past its temporal paradox, the noir-tinted family thriller is nearly not as bad as the aggregator sites would suggest. If you are still scratching your forehead, we will not blame you because the movie does not make a lot of sense at first glance. But let us attempt to reconstruct the timeline from afresh, and the meaning will perhaps become clearer. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Premonition Plot Synopsis
Jim and Linda move into their new two-storied house and planning to have children in a prologue. This prologue would have no part in the story other than showing a loving and memorable past between the pair. But after two daughters, Megan and Bridgette, the marriage has seemingly turned cold. Linda wakes up, as usual, and takes her children to school.
When she is home, Sheriff Reilly gives her the news of her husband’s death. Her heart sinks, and her mother, Joanne, comes to look after the children. Before going to sleep, Joanne and Linda talk about the funeral arrangements, but on the following morning, Linda finds Jim alive and even in good humor. As she delves deeper into the non-linear rabbit hole, reality and fiction get distorted.
Premonition Ending: What Is the Linear Timeline?
On Sunday, Linda has the suspicion of Jim dying and initiates the butterfly effect. She visits the church, and the father tells her about the dangers of the faithless. At night, she asks the girls to give their father extra hugs and demands Jim say how much he loves the kids. This incident seemingly implants a guilty conscience in Jim’s mind. The bird gets electrocuted. On Monday, Jim leaves for the “Monday morning meeting,” saying that he has to train his new assistant manager, which would be Claire.
On Tuesday, a lot of things happen. Linda shows up in Dr. Norman Roth’s office, claiming that her husband is dead one day and alive the next day. Dr. Norman administers lithium to her on the same day, which she mistakes in her chart to be administered on Saturday. Linda visits Jim’s office to discover that Jim is having a fling with Claire Francis.
This is the woman Linda meets at the funeral and the day before that. Towards afternoon at home, rain disrupts the girls’ play. Bridgette runs through a glass door, and the accident leads to scars on her face. Linda tells the daughters to never talk about Bridgette’s scars, a lie she would herself believe. In front of Jim, she is overly protective of her children and fears abandonment.
On Wednesday, Linda fears Jim’s death, but he calls her after canceling the rendezvous with Claire. Jim makes a detour to his lawyer to opt for triple indemnity, and Linda, after her non-linear experience of the sequences, believes Jim would kill himself. She desperately pursues Jim and makes him stop near mile marker 220.
Jim divulges to Linda that he has broken up with Claire, and Linda asks him to turn around the car. Jim’s car stops working in the middle of the highway. He dies anyway in the collision with the oil tanker, and his body is scattered. On Thursday, as the Sheriff admits in front of the doctor, he goes to Linda’s house to give her the news of Jim’s death. The world collapses in front of Linda all over again.
Claire claims that she and Linda spoke on the day before the funeral, which would be Friday. Linda picks up the cue through the midway and speaks to Claire to prove it’s Friday. Claire tells Linda that Jim was cheating on her, but she already knows about it. On Friday, Linda visits the lawyer to learn that Jim activated triple indemnity right before his fateful trip on Wednesday.
They have Jim’s funeral on Saturday, although Linda’s mother thinks it’s a little too early. (Linda calls Roth, but there is no answer, as the office hours are from Monday to Friday). But Joanne and Annie have probably contacted Roth beforehand because he appears at the doorstep of the bereaved, along with the Sheriff. Dr. Roth commits Linda.
Is Linda Mentally Ill? Is She Pregnant?
Although we initially think of the scars on Bridgette’s face to be a figment of Linda’s imagination, it turns out that the wounds are pretty authentic. The denial of Megan causes the suspension of early disbelief of the audience. When she dismisses there being any mark on Bridgette’s face, we jump on to think Linda to be an unreliable narrator. The disbelief withers when Linda’s mother, Joanne, and Annie both see it, and they accuse Linda of harming her child.
They call Dr. Norman Roth, who strangely comes accompanied by the Sheriff. The party takes Linda to a hospital, and the doctor seemingly administers a sedative that makes Linda sleep. When she wakes up, Jim is back, and everything is apparently normal. Even though the story is non-linear, it is linearly registered in Linda’s mind, and she tries to find a causal connection. This is the paradox that the film cannot get over, and the audiences feel as puzzled as Linda. We get the answer to the question in a few moments.
On a retrospective Sunday morning, Linda visits the church after a long time. The father tells Linda that the ailment she is suffering from is something the ancients called “Blasphemare absens fides” or, as the father himself translates shortly after, the dangers of the faithless. Stuck in a monotonous marriage, Linda feels suffocated. On top of that, she has the premonition of Jim having a fling on Sunday. Linda also confronts Jim out in the rain, but they come back into the house as the bird gets electrocuted. A dead bird has symbolized a premonition since Alfred Hitchcock, and if you are a bit too superstitious, the event can even cause the time anomaly in Linda’s experience.
But we can probably find her ailment more in the reality of her fear of abandonment and the troubled marriage. On Monday, she is talking about her “boring” marriage on the phone with Annie. Her premonition gets a palpable form as she visits Jim in the office on Tuesday and sees Claire in person. This is the same day she gets her first dose (probably overdose) of lithium, and the timeline gets disrupted. After the visceral death of Jim, she blames herself for the deed because it was her who asked Jim to turn the car. And Linda ends up losing time in the conflicting layers of emotions, stuck in the loop of the one week.
The series of events come as a shock to her, and the lithium presumably worsens things. However, the finale gives us some hope, following the father’s advice that it’s never too late to begin anew. The final shot shows that Linda is pregnant. In the flashback, we see Linda and Jim making love on the Sunday night before his death. The baby is supposedly the miracle the Priest hinted at.
Read More: Is Premonition Based on A True Story?