Written and directed by Jonathan Levine, ‘Warm Bodies’ is a horror comedy film released in 2013. It is based on Isaac Marion’s 2010 novel of the same name and stars Nicholas Hoult as R, an empathetic zombie who meets Julie, a young woman he is inadvertently attracted to. As the movie concludes, viewers witness how R and Julie’s relationship changes humanity’s fate. However, R’s real name is never revealed, even after he turns back into a human. Hence, viewers must wonder what R’s real name is in ‘Warm Bodies.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
R’s Real Name Is Not Revealed
‘Warm Bodies’ takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where most of the world’s population has turned into zombies. The story is told from the perspective of R, a zombie who experiences the memories of the humans whose brains he eats. Despite being just an animated corpse, R demonstrates an ability to think and empathize with others. However, R notes that he does not remember anything from his past life before he turned into a zombie, including his name. He only remembers the first alphabet of his name, which is R. As a result, R’s real name remains a mystery for most of the movie.
After R meets Julie, a young woman whose boyfriend, Perry, was killed by R. Because of Perry’s memories, R is attracted to Julie. Their relationship sparks a change among the zombies, who slowly turn back into humans by the movie’s end. It is also implied that the zombies remember their past lives as R’s friend, M, remembers his name as Marcus. However, R does not recollect his name, which is never revealed as the movie draws closer. Moreover, when Julie asks R to choose a new name for himself, he decides to stick with R. The one-syllable name of the movie’s protagonist is an obvious reference to William Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet.’
The film makes several references to the tragic love story. Julie’s name is a modernized version of the play’s female protagonist “Juliet.” Similarly, “R” refers to Romeo, the play’s main character. In the movie, Julie suggests several names to R, including Randy and Robert. However, none of the names seem to jog up R’s memory. Seeing how Julie is a modernization of Juliet, R’s real name might be Rome or Roman, a modernization of Romeo. However, R choosing to keep the one-syllable name ties in with the movie’s theme and provides a satisfying conclusion to the opening scene wherein R fails to remember his past life.
The movie’s ending suggests that R’s relationship with Julie adds meaning to his life. Julie is the first person to refer to R by his name, which marks the start of the bond between them. Hence, when R refuses to select another name, it denotes his desire to remember life with Julie, as only that portion matters to him. R’s past life is irrelevant to him, and remembering his name from before or choosing a new one is inconsequential. Instead, by continuing to be called R, the protagonist denotes the change in his personality by forming a symmetry between the movie’s opening and closing scenes.
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