Co-written and directed by Ignacio Tatay, Netflix’s ‘The Chalk Line‘ is a Spanish mystery, psychological-thriller film. Originally titled ‘Jaula,’ the movie marks Ignacio’s debut as a feature film director after making short films such as ‘Mano a mano’ and ‘Novio.’ The story centers upon a traumatized girl named Clara (Eva Tennear), who is found by a couple, Paula (Elena Anaya) and Simón (Pablo Molinero), in the middle of the road.
The girl doesn’t talk and has drawn a box around her with chalk. Every time someone tries to get her out of it, she acts hysterically. The movie chronicles how Paula tries to understand Clara, finds her identity and unravels her dark past. As the audience, we are left with a few pressing questions about the various aspects of the film. Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Chalk Line.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Chalk Line Plot Synopsis
The film begins with Paula and Simón driving on a road when they spot an unknown girl ahead of them. They take the girl to the hospital, where they find out that she isn’t talking and her kidneys are pretty damaged. Besides this, the two learn that the people at the hospital do not have any information about her. Her parents and possible address are unknown. However, they deduce that her name is Clara because one of the nurses shared the same name, and she strongly reacted when she heard it.
The mystery around the girl becomes denser when the couple sees that the girl has drawn a box with chalk around herself and refuses to get out of it. She screams and fights the hospital officials as they try to get her out of it. Paula watches this and tries to pacify Clara. Almost instantly, they form a connection. The hospital officials decide that Paula and Simón could provide a good home and environment where they could gain Clara’s trust, find out her identity, and help her.
Initially, Paula and Clara form a great bond, where Clara draws different things and shows them to Paula. She, in return, shows Clara how the lines of chalk can be rubbed, and a new line can be made. This way, Paula draws lines and boxes all over the house, slowly getting Clara to move from one part to the other. However, as the film progresses, unfortunate events start occurring.
While Simón believes it’s the girl’s doing, Paula refuses to entertain that thought. Amidst this, a glimpse of their past is revealed as the two have a conversation about parenthood. Simón decides to let the girl be taken away by the police so that they can find out about her identity and help her. Before they can do so, Clara goes missing.
The police detectives inquire about the various incidents and probe Paula for answers, but she is only focused on finding Clara as soon as possible. Later, she receives a call on her landline and hears Clara’s voice. On reporting to the police, they find out that the number from which she called was her own. While Paula is forced into submitting her phone, she knows there’s more to the case and decides to start an investigation of her own. She steals the police files and discovers the various cases of missing girls and crimes against children.
This leads her to the autopsy report of an unknown girl, and in one of the pictures, she sees the same paper trinket that Clara had earlier given her. She reaches out to the forensic specialist who did the girl’s autopsy report and finds out she had a lazy eye. This clicks in her mind, and she finds a similar-looking girl named Ingrid in the missing person file. It leads her down a path that reveals that the missing girl could be Clara’s mother.
When Paula returns home with all this information, she gives one of Clara’s drawings another look while sitting where the girl used to sit. She looks around her and finds that the drawing points to Eduardo (Carlos Santos), who lives in the house across from Paula and Simón’s home. The film reveals how Eduardo had held Clara and Ingrid captive and confirms that Ingrid was Clara’s mother. It also shows how Eduardo was responsible for the unfortunate incidents and how his wife might have something to do with Clara. In the end, despite Eduardo’s best efforts to silence Paula by brutal means, the police manage to rescue her and Clara. The film ends with Clara back with Ingrid’s mother, her grandmother, and Paula being pregnant.
The Chalk Line Ending: Who Are Clara’s Parents?
Eduardo and Ingrid are Clara’s parents. While reviewing the case files, Paula connects two reports and draws this conclusion. One is Ingrid’s missing person report, and the other is an autopsy report of an unknown girl. When Paula first sees the autopsy report, she sees a photo of Clara’s paper trinket next to the body. This piques her interest, and she finds crucial details about the case.
According to the forensic report, the girl’s kidneys and several internal organs were severely damaged. The girl had also gone through a significant amount of trauma, including sexual abuse and rape. She notes the year of the autopsy, 2019, and reaches out to the forensic doctor who performed it. In conversation with the specialist, Paula learns that the girl also had functional amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye.
Something strikes Paula’s mind, and she checks Ingrid’s missing person report, in which she is wearing an eye patch. She scours the internet and finds an article and a video of her parents talking about her after she was missing for a year. In the video, Ingrid’s parents, Klara and Christian, mention how she used to craft those trinkets, give them to her loved ones, and call them guardian angels. Interestingly, they speak German.
Paula sees the article was written in 2012, a year after the disappearance of Ingrid, who was only 12 years old when she went missing. Paula realizes two important things. First, the girl (Ingrid) who went missing in 2011, and the girl who was murdered in 2019, are the same. Besides this, Paula already knows that Clara is six years old, and there is an 8-year gap between the disappearance and death of Ingrid. Furthermore, she is also privy to the sexual trauma Ingrid went through. With this information, Paula deduces that Ingrid is Clara’s mother, and the person who kidnapped and raped Ingrid is the father.
Although Eduardo’s fatherhood isn’t confirmed in the film, he is revealed as the culprit, and only he could have impregnated Ingrid by force. Another crucial thing that the film subtly points to is how Eduardo’s wife is ready to help him silence Paula and Clara. However, she is visibly scared of him and insists that there’s no need for her sons to come home. She also seems hesitant about every word she says. So, it is essential to understand her involvement in his crime.
Does Eduardo’s Wife, Matie, Abuse Ingrid or Clara?
It is unlikely that Eduardo’s wife, Matie abused Ingrid and Clara. Almost all instances in the film point to this, even if the film doesn’t explicitly reveal her role in Eduardo’s crime. The first instance is when we see Eduardo and Matie conversing while having a meal. There’s an air of dominance with which Eduardo speaks. On the other hand, Matie seems pretty hesitant while talking to him. It’s almost like she is walking on eggshells and doesn’t want to trigger anything.
In the brief conversation, she mentions how she wants to see her sons, who are studying in college. She says she had informed Eduardo before, and he had given her permission. This showcases the power dynamic between the couple. Eduardo says he wasn’t previously asked about this and hasn’t given her consent. He then tells her that instead of going to college, she can call the children home to visit them. When he does so, Matie says she can see them some other time, and the conversation ends there. This shows that she doesn’t want her sons to be anywhere near Eduardo because she knows of his actions.
The second instance is when Matie sees Clara escaping from their house. She says, “You’re Clara, right?” This is an odd statement considering Clara has been in the house for six years. It indicates that Clara barely left the basement and that Matie never headed there. However, she still grabs her and locks her in the basement. Later, while talking to her husband, she tells him that she’ll be allowed to go to visit her sons whenever she wants, and they will never return to this place. This will be in exchange for not exposing Eduardo, who thanks her. Almost instantly, she says that she is doing this for her sons.
All these instances show that she was aware of his crimes but never participated in them. However, this still doesn’t explain how the police break into their house when Matie steps into the garden. After all, she makes a deal with her husband and chooses to be silent about everything he does.
How Do Eduardo and Matie Get Caught?
Before Eduardo attacks and drags Paula into the basement, she calls the police and informs them that he might have something to do with Clara and Ingrid’s disappearance. After this, the police reach Eduardo’s home to ask him a few questions while Paula is in the basement. However, nothing comes out of this. Later, we see how Simón is frantic about his wife’s disappearance and aggressively urges the cops to do something about it.
If we look at this from the police’s perspective, they received a tip from a person about her neighbor, and now the person is missing. So, it only makes sense to check the neighbor’s house first and act before it’s too late. This and Simón panicking over the phone while speaking to the detectives would have led to them organizing a team and breaking into Eduardo and Matie’s house. The shot where Simón, along with the two detectives in charge of the case, look from the window as their neighbors walk out in handcuffs is a testament to this theory.
Why Can Clara Not Walk Out of the Chalk Line?
Although it isn’t explicitly revealed, it is logical to deduce that Clara was born in the basement. For six years, that’s all she’s seen and known about the world. In the climax scene, we see her say that she didn’t want to face mama’s punishment. This could mean that Eduardo had trained Clara to stay within the line all her life. Every time she stepped out of it, he would punish and harm her mother, Ingrid.
Clara doesn’t want to see the same happen to Paula, with whom she forms a close bond. Besides this, the film reveals that Eduardo tells Clara not to talk. She associates his instruction with the one about the chalk line and hence abides by it. In essence, Eduardo builds Clara’s reality of the world around her. Therefore, it is unimaginable for the six-year-old girl to visualize or even think of a reality beyond it. This is why she cannot walk out of the chalk line.
Who Is Buma?
In one scene, we see Clara shout Buma, and we wonder who the person could be. In a particular scene, Paula tries translating the word from German to Spanish. When she does so, she tries a few variations with the spelling until she lands on buhmann, which translates to the boogeyman. This means Clara sees Eduardo as the boogeyman who punished her mother, Ingrid, every time she stepped out of the chalk line.
What Shots Is Paula Injecting Herself With?
Paula likely injects herself with pregnancy-inducing hormones at regular intervals. In a scene, Paula and Simón talk about how the two have been trying to get pregnant for the last six years. When Simón finds out that Paula has been injecting herself with shots, he asks how many cycles she has completed. Paula confesses that she injected herself with the shots only to one day give him the news that she is pregnant. Paired with the final scene, which shows Paula being pregnant, it leads us to conclude that Paula injects herself with pregnancy-inducing hormones.
Read More: Where Was Netflix’s The Chalk Line Filmed?