‘Windfall’ employs a popular trope called “no name given” and doesn’t reveal the actual names of its protagonists, identifying them as CEO/Husband (Jesse Plemons), Wife (Lily Collins), and Nobody (Jason Segel). The CEO and the Wife visit their idyllic California vacation home to find Nobody there. He thought the house would be empty, so he broke into the property. Soon, petty theft transforms into a kidnapping and ransom situation.
Right from the beginning, the audience can glean that something is definitely off about the relationship between the CEO and the Wife, as all the telltale signs are there. The cracks become increasingly apparent due to their predicament as the film progresses and eventually culminate in the Wife killing the CEO during the climactic sequence. If you are wondering about her reasons, this is what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Why Does the Wife Kill CEO/Husband?
The film gradually establishes that the CEO and the Wife’s marriage is far from perfect. She seeks security and luxury, while he wants convenience and family. Neither is in the relationship exclusively for the other person. And it has begun to manifest in various ways. It is heavily implied that the CEO is a serial adulterator. As with Debbie, he ultimately pays them to leave and makes them sign non-disclosure agreements. The Wife reveals that she has known about this during her conversation with Nobody when they think the CEO is sleeping.
Toward the end of the film, Nobody tells the CEO that he hoped the latter was a decent man, because that way, the financial disparity between them would be fair. However, he has discovered that the CEO is as vile, narcissistic, and petty as one can get, making him realize that nothing is fair in the world. The Wife has given up her independence and personal happiness for comfort, and she has come to regret it. The CEO has constantly imposed his preferences on her, and she has no choice but to comply — for example, her rose tattoo. The CEO told her to remove it because he found it ugly. Even though she evidently liked it, she went along with his wish.
But as Nobody points out, her situation is still better than most people. While she might be trapped in the marriage because of the prenup, she gained access to what she thought she would when she married the CEO. Her ultimate rebellion against her husband is the use of birth-control pills. She has no desire to start a family with him and seems to be biding her time for the chance to leave the relationship.
After the $500,000 meant for Nobody is delivered at the entrance of the property, the Wife is the one sent to pick it up. She briefly considers leaving with it but presumably rejects the idea because that amount isn’t enough for her. She subsequently makes the best use of her circumstances to turn the tide in her favor. When the Gardener died, he broke the glass on one of the doors. She hides a piece of it under her foot.
While Nobody is busy speaking to the CEO about the unfairness of life, she begins cutting through her restraints. Just as Nobody is about to leave with the money, she hits him twice with a heavy statue, killing him. She then kills her husband by shooting him multiple times. The Wife wipes her fingerprints off the gun and puts it in Nobody’s hand. When the authorities arrive, she will most likely tell them that Nobody killed both the Gardener and her husband, and she killed him in self-defense. If that works, and the authorities are convinced, she might become a multi-billionaire, inheriting her husband’s wealth.