Maybe you want to see a cold thriller fraught with lies, misery, and melancholia. Or maybe, you want to see a live heart beating. Either way, Austin Stark’s medical suspense drama ‘The God Committee’ leaves you with a feeling of fulfillment. In our world, the advancement of medical science has made Gods out of doctors — they can dictate everything from your jaw shape to the longevity of your life. And yet, here is a film that paints doctors as biased, corrupt, and flawed, but above all, deeply humane.
At a run-down hospital, six people, including veteran surgeon Dr. Boxer, attempt to decide the fate of three patients. Six years down the line, the decision still haunts the doctor, who struggles to cope with the irony of life. With Julia Stiles and Kelsey Grammer headlining, this is one of those movies that encourage the audiences to reflect upon it. If some aspects elude you, fret not, since we come to the rescue! SPOILERS AHEAD.
The God Committee Plot Synopsis
Early in the story, a boy is musing about the progress of science and technology on a rooftop with his girlfriend. Shortly after, he gets into a fatal accident in a Buffalo suburb. Doctors cannot save the boy from the accident, but they recover his young heart for better use. The past story follows a series of events that unfold on November 6, 2014, an ordinary day in the life of Dr. Andre Boxer, a veteran surgeon facing retirement. Little does he know that the day would prove to be one of the most extraordinary in his life. At daybreak, while having breakfast with his romantic interest and colleague Dr. Jordan Taylor, Boxer gets a call about the heart.
The heart is compatible with elderly but opulent patient Serena Vasquez, a top-priority patient on the list of the Organ Transplant Committee. While Boxer thinks that Serena is too old for the transplant and that the organ can help younger patients live longer, his opinion hardly matters in the hospital’s bureaucracy. On the same date, Dr. Val Gilroy introduces Dr. Jordan Taylor as Boxer’s successor, as he is leaving the hospital for the private sector in the following month. Corrupt attorney turned spiritual guru Father Charlie Dunbar also joins the conversation at the committee.
However, the situation complicates when Serena dies in the middle of the surgery. The heart is on the way, and they find three patients in the hospital who are compatible with the heart. The patients come from diverse social and economic backgrounds — an African American doorman, an elderly lady, and the son of a wealthy businessman who has ties to the hospital administration. In 2021, Dr. Boxer is in the middle of a breakthrough — he may have been able to create the formula to initiate inter-species transplant. However, Boxer may also have a failing heart.
The God Committee Ending: Who Gets The Heart? Did They Survive The Operation?
Following the sudden death of Serena Vasquez, the doctors look for another compatible patient while the clock keeps ticking. The other patients in consideration for transplant are Walter Curtis, Status 1-B, who has DCM. Jordan’s patient Walter has high morals and is apparently the cheerleader of the ward. His modest job as a doorman has arranged for his daughters’ higher studies. However, Walter also tried to kill himself nine years ago by ingesting a bottle of Percocet, and may still be unstable.
The second match is Trip Granger, the son of Emmett Granger, whose Granger Venture Partners practically runs the hospital. On the plus side, Emmett Granger has arranged for a $25 million grant for the hospital “regardless of Trip’s prognosis.” In other words, he bribes the doctors to make a decision favoring Trip. On the downer, Trip is not exactly a saint — he had ODed on cocaine a year ago, and UNOS invalidates them from giving a transplant if a patient is using drugs.
The third candidate for the heart is Janet Pike. She is high on general knowledge and is ironically healthier than her two younger contestants, but she has her flaws. She does not have a support system as she lives alone, and as the head nurse reminds the committee, she is rude to the hospital staff. Meanwhile, Trip’s results are positive for cocaine, but Gilroy suggests the theory that the ampicillin in his blood has given the false positive. During the coffee break, Dr. Taylor visits Holly Matson, the girlfriend of Trip Granger. Holly Matson is pregnant, and Trip is the father.
After Emmett visits Holly, Talyor interrogates her about whether Trip is back on cocaine. Holly asks for a lawyer, but when Taylor shares her pregnancy with Holly, Holly spills a devastating truth that weighs Taylor’s decision. Trip and Holly were on the way to the hospital for Trip’s chest pain. Holly spilled that Taylor would be a father, and he attempted to throw her out of the car upon hearing it. However, as Holly’s jacket stuck to the vehicle’s door, they got into an accident.
In simpler words, Trip caused his own discontents. Dr. Val Gilroy also plants some ampicillin tablets in Trip’s pocket to make the case seem plausible. Dr. Boxer knows that Trip is allergic to ampicillin, but as Trip’s father is a significant investor in his start-up, Boxer is biased. Despite Allan’s vote, the heart goes to Trip, and Dr. Boxer performs the surgery successfully. However, Trip dies from an overdose six months later, rendering the operation banal and the decision flawed.
Is Boxer Dead or Alive? What is His Relation With Taylor?
Taylor comes off as a strong persona with staunch moral values, but the six years have changed her as a person. Under her direction, the transplant program becomes one of the cleanest, with ratings higher than 85, but she is expressionless. From Dunbar, Taylor comes to know that Dr. Boxer may have a failing heart, which makes her reminisce all the more. Six years ago, on the same day as the heart transplant conundrum, Taylor divulged to Boxer that she would be a mother and that Boxer was the child’s father.
Boxer demeaned her by proposing to help the child “financially.” Boxer also made the final call for the heart transplant, and while the decision was justified in his eyes, it was a flawed decision in retrospect. Now, Boxer cannot perform his research with a failing heart. Although he does not acknowledge his ailment, the streets know. It is perhaps ironic then that he has to rely on a transplant after all. Emmett Granger, the financier of his start-up and an old friend, arranges for a heart from the black market.
They have to fly to Istanbul, and in the end, even Taylor keeps aside her differences and agrees to perform the surgery, getting on board for the journey. Taylor partially agrees since Boxer comes to meet his estranged son, Hunter. However, Boxer dies while in transit, and the surgery does not occur. As Taylor wakes up on the flight, she finds Boxer’s heart has stopped beating. While the ending may come off as underwhelming, Boxer’s death perhaps delivers poetic justice.
Is The Monkey Dead or Alive? Is The Research Successful?
In 2014, Boxer left the hospital for a private endeavor. In 2021, his start-up X Origins is on the verge of a breakthrough. Boxer has almost decoded xenotransplantation — or cross-species transplantation — of organs. The research would revolutionize medical science as it would virtually eradicate the scarcity of organs in the world. As Dr. Taylor also jokingly notes, it would disband the committee, and she would be able to put on the doctor’s robe once more. Emmett Granger is also a strong supporter of the research. But Granger’s stance changes once he finds out about the ailment of Dr. Boxer.
With a shaking hand, Boxer can’t pull off the kidney transplant from the pig to the monkey, and his associate Pope comes to the rescue. However, the monkey dies from internal complications, jeopardizing Boxer’s years’ worth of work. Thanks to his indomitable spirit, his juniors prepare another test subject within weeks. When Boxer dies, Dr. Taylor takes up the responsibility of the transplant. Her operation is seemingly a success. While she delivers a speech to the financers, Emmett Granger breaks into tears.
Read More: Where to Stream the God Committee?