Who is Conning Whom in Sharper, Explained

Sharper’ on Apple TV+ is a thriller film that packs many twists and turns. Told from non-linear and multiple perspectives, the movie has a plot twist waiting for the audience at every turn. It starts out with two young people falling in love in New York, but as we dig deeper, it becomes a convoluted mess of cons. Each character has their own secrets and all of them are trying to achieve something by duping the others. While this makes for an intriguing watch, it can also be confusing to pinpoint who is playing whom here. If you want a simplified version of the many cons that take place in the film, then we’ve got you covered.

Madeline and Max Con Richard Hobbes

Madeline and Max are introduced as a mother-son duo, but soon after, it is revealed that they are actually a couple of con people who have targeted the billionaire Richard Hobbes. Madeline finds her way into Richard’s heart, and the old man is so in love that he can’t see that he is being ripped off right in front of his eyes. The plan was for Max to pretend to be Madeline’s problematic son. To get him out of the picture, Richard would offer him money, and Max would ask for one year’s worth in advance. Once they have the money, Madeline and Max will run away together.

Everything goes as planned, but then Madeline changes her mind. When Richard asks her to marry him, she realizes that she is better off marrying the old man. He’ll die soon and leave her a billionaire, which is better than running off with only seven hundred and twenty thousand dollars. But there’s one hurdle that she needs to remove from her path to truly have the inheritance to her name. This is what leads to the second con.

Max and Sandra Con Tom

Sandra was a troubled teenager on the brink of having her life destroyed. Max sees the potential in her and not only buys her freedom but also helps her clean up. He trains her to become a con person and in between this, they have a fling too. Sandra believes that Max is some sort of Robin Hood who only targets the people who are already into bad stuff. But then, Tom comes along.

The plan is to make Tom fall in love with Sandra enough to have him trust her with his money. An imaginary character named Jason is concocted as Sandra’s estranged brother who has fallen in with the bad crowd. Sandra needs money to get those bad people off her tail and the events transpire in such a way that Tom offers her the money himself. He thinks that Sandra doesn’t know anything about his background and the fact that his father is a billionaire. This makes him trust her and he gives her $350,000.

Once Sandra flees, Tom has a nervous breakdown. All of this doesn’t spell good for him. He already had a strained relationship with his father, and his getting duped like this only proves to Richard that Tom will not be able to handle the billions of dollars in inheritance waiting for him. So, he leaves most of it to Madeline, making her the trustee of the foundation which is left to Tom.

Tom and Sandra Con Madeline

With his father dead and him getting pushed out of the inheritance, Tom is in a very bad place. When Sandra finds out about it, she feels guilty for having ruined his life and decides to set things right. She comes clean to Tom about everything that happened with her and Max, while also explaining Madeline’s role in it. It turns out that once Tom was conned, Max left Sandra to her devices. Now sober, she tried to have a fresh start. We see her working as a waitress when she comes across the news of Richard Hobbes’ death.

Now in the know about everything that Madeline and done, Tom realizes that the only way to get his inheritance back is to make her surrender it. For this, they will have to con her and for that, they need some help. Sandra puts Tom in touch with Tipsy, the man who had previously worked with Max and Madeline. Tipsy takes them to Goldie, who has his own team of conmen. Together they come up with an elaborate plan to dupe Madeline and Max.

Goldie poses as Richard’s go-to man to dig out the secrets of other people. He makes it look like he has tracked down Sandra, who acts as if she has fallen back into her drug addiction. Tom brings Sandra to their house and this makes Madeline very uncomfortable. She worries that her true nature will be revealed and it will threaten her newfound wealth or throw her in jail. Sandra tells her to find Max in exchange for keeping her secret. Madeline does as asked and she, Sandra, and Max meet each other.

Unbeknownst to Max and Madeline, this meeting was a part of Tom and Sandra’s plan. Tom shows up there and pushes the events in such a way that he ends up getting shot. To Madeline, it looks like Tom is dead. To wash her hands off his blood, Madeline agrees to give up her inheritance. She transfers it to the foundation. In reality, the gun wasn’t real and neither was his blood. This means that the entire inheritance is now in the possession of Tom, leaving nothing for Madeline.

Read More: Sharper Ending, Explained: How Did Tom Con Madeline?