Throughout its entire runtime, ‘Windfall’ makes you question who is the real victim and who is the real perpetrator among its three protagonists — CEO/Husband (Jesse Plemons), Wife (Lily Collins), and Nobody (Jason Segel). The answers will vary, depending upon what part of the film you are watching at the time.
‘Windfall’ is a tightly knitted film. No time is wasted in typical indie frivolities as this gripping psychological thriller delves deep into themes such as fate, greed, and freedom. The title of the film reflects this. Here is what you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.
What Is the Meaning of Windfall Title?
The word “windfall” has two different meanings, and they apply to the overall narrative in their unique ways. Windfalls refer to fruits that get blown off the branches of trees or plants. The story is exclusively set in and around the sunny and idyllic California vacation home of the CEO and the Wife. They have an orange grove on the property, and the fruits are so ripe that they are ready to be picked and can fall off even due to a gentle breeze.
The Californian bountifulness has long represented wealth and prosperity both in the American mind and art. In John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ Oklahoma natives — facing the effects of the Great Depression, drought, and significant industrial changes in agriculture — begin an excruciating journey to California during the Dust Bowl era.
The CEO, a tech billionaire, represents both the inspiration and the unfairness of that bountifulness and prosperity to the other characters. We are never told the precise reason why Nobody decided to target the CEO’s home. Still, there are enough clues to let us know that Nobody feels that he has been victimized by whatever tech company the CEO runs, and his attempt to commit petty theft is his way of getting back at the man. He didn’t think that the CEO and Wife would show up and didn’t plan for it.
Meanwhile, the Wife is stuck in a marriage that increasingly appears to be loveless. She agreed to marry the CEO because it has allowed her to do things that she couldn’t have done otherwise. She might mean this in terms of her charity work, but it very much applies to all sections of her life. She isn’t rejecting the wealth and has plans to get out of the relationship by severing all ties. This is why she keeps birth-control pills in her purse.
Another meaning of the word “Windfall” is coming upon a fortune unexpectedly. Nobody goes to the CEO’s home looking to steal whatever cash and valuables he can find there and ends up with the opportunity to go home with $500,000. That is indeed an unexpected development, but as the film’s ending reveals, he is not the eventual recipient of the windfall of the entire situation — the Wife is.
The marriage of the CEO and the Wife virtually unravels in the course of the film. The seed of the dissolution was sowed a long time ago, perhaps even before they began their married life. However, the Wife just couldn’t walk out of the marriage, presumably because of several reasons, including a prenup and the life she has gotten out of the bargain. The current circumstances give her the opportunity to do just that, and she makes the best use of it.
When Gardener dies, he breaks the glass on one of the doors. The Wife hides a piece of it under her shoes. While Nobody is busy speaking with the CEO, she cuts through her restraints. As Nobody leaves with the money, she comes up behind him with a heavy statue and hits him twice, killing him. She then takes the gun, goes inside, and shoots her husband multiple times, killing him as well. The wife subsequently cleans the fingerprints off the gun with Nobody’s shirt before putting the weapon in his hand.
When the money was delivered, the Wife briefly considered running away with it, but she ultimately didn’t. The ending seems to provide a context to it. She chose to stay because she knew that while $500,000 would be enough for Nobody, she needs more. Her unforeseen situation ends up providing her with unexpected results. Now, she potentially has billions of dollars to her name.
Read More: Is Windfall Based on a True Story?