Tes abilités de critiques... C'est de la vraie merde ce qui est écrit ici.

The One I Love Reviewed and Explained
The One I Love is possibly one of the greatest movies reviewed on this site. Entirely full of surprises and cleverness throughout. IMDB
Screenplay80%
Mindjobness100%
Acting95%
Action96%
Directing90%
92%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
85%

Please Note – Spoilers will be very clearly demarcated.

The One I Love – Plot – Recently I have fallen in love with a completely different kind of movie. It should be said that I was simultaneously falling out of love with a completely different kind of movie… The big big budget bombastic super hero movie. If you’ve been following me AT ALL you already know this particular point because I haven’t shut up about my disappointment in that particular arena.  But the one area of movie-dom that has just been rocking my socks off has been these cheap upstarts, with phenomenal scripts, incredible ideas, and terrific acting all the way around.

The most recent example of this confluence would be Coherence.  A movie that was largely improvised on the spot and filmed for the price of a used Prius.  Now I have yet another example of this sort of equation and this one is entitled, “The One I Love”.  The movie brings us a crazy rabbit hole ride that starts with Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) who are trying to rekindle their sputtering and failing marriage.  We start with them in counseling recounting a failed attempt to get things back on track that involved sneaking into a local home owners pool, which is how they originally met.  But the attempt left them even worse off than before.  At this, their counselor decides to send them to a Marriage Retreat in Ojai that was certain to put their marriage back on track.  It is there that the couple, through various twists and turns, discover that there is another couple there at the retreat with them.

The One I Love Movie Script – We’ll leave the plot there for now, seeing as though the movie basically derails from the 15 minute point on.  But one of the most interesting aspects of this movie is the writing of the script which is credited to Justin Lader.  But when Duplass was approached by Lader, he had a basic outline of an idea but nothing else.  Duplass green lit the funding for the movie and asked Lader to come back with a draft.  50 pages later Duplass had in his hands a very detailed outline, but absolutely not a lick of dialogue.  Which is how Duplass likes to work best.  In an interview he explained it better than I could:

“In regards to “The One I Love,” the improvisation we used is quite different, because the script we used for this movie is highly detailed, highly plotted — it’s a 50-page outline. Every scene is carefully detailed: the plot movements of A, B, C, D, and what the characters are doing.

But there’s no dialogue written, so every piece of dialogue in the film is improvised. But you’re not “riffing” and trying to find something. You’re just being as organic as you can with your motivations and the trajectory of the scene, and using surprises so the person opposite you in the scene will not be lazy and rest on their heels, so it can feel, hopefully, a little bit more spontaneous than if it were rehearsed.”

And the method really works.  Like Coherence, The One I Love, does not seem improvised at all.  There is no sense of the actors being adrift or lost for even a moment.  And like Coherence it is actually quite the opposite.  We see that the movies are actually extremely tightly plotted and extra-targeted in their motivations and plotting.  But I would guess that with the wrong actor or actress this method could be a complete mess to pull off.  It takes a certain kind of actor to make this kind of magic happen.  To throw out surprises to their counterpart and to have them be quick enough to volley them back completely in character with surprises of their own.  Seems like a truly magical way to work, but way more volatile a recipe.

The One I Love Movie Tech – I want to talk about the technology of this low budget independent movie, but I really can’t.  Not here in the spoiler free zone anyway.  You’ll just need to see it to understand when I say, that I was floored that this movie was made with this budget.  Tracking cameras and stop motion has become basically ubiquitous apparently. Because there is no way this movie could have been made without some really fantastic tech equipment at the ready.  It just means that the technology is now starting to become available to even those without a 200 million dollar budget.  Which means the guys with the truly fantastic, and cutting edge ideas (as opposed to the standard Hollywood retreads) are going to start getting their day in the spotlight.

The One I Love Movie Overview – So, all that to say, The One I Love earns it’s 89% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.  It earned its fantastic film reviews at the Tribeca Film Festival.  It earned the right to be purchased by a major distributor.  And it earned like 5 viewings from you, because that’s about how many times you are going to want to watch it in order to truly grasp the entirety of the movie.  (Which we will get into in the SPOILER section below.)  But basically, I’m in heaven these days, with all of these truly awesome independent movies just killing it.  This is a movie you just have to see to believe.

image

The One I Love Explained – Incoming Spoilers!!

Now that you have watched the movie… RIGHT?  You’ve watched it?  Otherwise, scoot!  Do not.  Do NOT.  Ruin this movie by reading below.   You’ve been sufficiently warned.

main

So, Sophie and Ethan, our endangered couple, arrive at the marriage retreat center and not much happens at first.  The two hang out, walk the grounds, investigate the place.  They actually do have a bit a good time being together and are actually enjoying their time together.  I just doubled checked and there are only three actors in this movie, (Ted Danson being the third) and he’s only in the very first SIX minutes.  All the rest of this movie is shot at the retreat center.  So, seeing as though the location is just as big a part of the movie as the two other main actors I figure I ought to walk you through the location.

guesthouse

There are two main sections to the retreat center.  There is the mainhouse, which is a sprawling estate of a house in Ojai California.  This is where the bedrooms and dining room are located.  Outside of the Main House is a pool, and fruit trees, which become a sort of demarcation line between the Main House and the rest of the estate.  And the second building of consequence is the Guest House.  The Guest House has a kitchen and office space as well as spare bedrooms.

The most significant detail about the retreat center is that there is place one, separated by the pool and lawn, and then there is place two.  The two distinct locations is central to the rules of the movie and central to how the plot will play out.

The One I Love Movie Explanation 

The first six minutes of The One I Love sets up their relationship and the fact that our couple needs a serious intervention.  And two minutes after that, LITERALLY eight minutes into the movie, we meet our first other.  I think during the making of the movie they all called the characters, Ethan and the OTHER Ethan.  Or Sophie, and THE OTHER Sophie.  But when I explained the movie to my wife I called them, The Ones that Came and the Were There.  For this movie discussion, I think we ought to stick with, Ethan, Ethan-A or “The Other Ethan” and Ethan-B.  Fair?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, its because you didn’t listen to the warning and you started reading ahead… which is a no-no.  Go away.  But if you’ve seen the movie, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  So Ethan-A and Ethan-B it is.  The A’s are obviously our troubled relationship couple who’ve come for therapy.  Got it?  Great.

So, Ethan and Sophie slowly learn that there are other versions of themselves on the premises.  They aren’t necessarily the younger versions of themselves, but rather the versions of themselves that they each first met.  Right?  The cockier, less boring, more intriguing versions of themselves.  Because that is what this movie is all about… the differences between ourselves and the selves that introduce ourselves to our significant others back in the day.  How they differ.  How we get caught trying to convince other people that we are cooler than we actually are.  The entire point of the movie is this pealing back of the layers between this self we want to be and this self we actually are.

The One I Love Movie Rules

As the movie unfolds, we begin to learn that there are several key rules that are important to the inner workings of the movie.

1. The Others cannot leave the building they are found in.

2. Sophie-A and Ethan-A cannot inhabit the same building together as an Other.

3. When the A couple are fixed, the B couple can leave

4. Once the B couple leaves the A couple will become the B couple for another rocky relationship

5. If someone tries to leave on their own they will learn they are trapped

Hopefully those make intuitive sense to you. Or match up with what you saw as the movie played out.  But basically the point of the retreat center is that the couples will be helped by another couple, that have worked to engineer their looks and their voices to identically match the troubled couple.

The One I Love Story Behind The Story

There were a couple moments that just lit this movie up like a Christmas Tree for me.  The first one was a conversation between Sophie-B and Ethan-A.  Ethan was just a wreck and pissed that Sophie-A was off with Ethan-B:

Sophie-B: “Come on, it’ll be fun.  We’ll have a drink.  We’ll relax. Start this day off right. Then we can talk about whatever is bothering you.”

Ethan-A: “You know, that’s really good advice. And I should probably listen to it… but you’re not a real person.”

Sophie-B: “…”

Ethan-A: “You know you’re not real.  Who the hell are you?  What the hell are you?  Are you a fucking robot?  Are you a… like a spirit?  Because I’ve got to say it’s bad enough that I’m losing my wife to a mirror image of me who happens to be like 20% cooler and 20% more emotionally involved than me.  Now I have to sit and look at a mirror image of exactly who I’m losing.  So no, I’m have a hard time enjoying this weekend because this is the weekend I lose my wife.  So, pardon me if I don’t want a fucking mimosa, okay?”

Sophie-B: “It wasn’t just this weekend.”

Ethan-A: “How do you know?”

Sophie-B: “Because as your wife, I know these things.”

But the penultimate moment of the movie though was the foursome conversation when Sophie-A and Ethan-A walk in and there on the couch is Sophie-B and Ethan-B.  Uh.  Remember the rules?  Yeah, so did they, and the rules were apparently were now broken.  Soon after they began to “get to know each other” the two Sophie’s found themselves in the kitchen together. And Sophie-B lets Sophie-A know that the game is up.  That Sophie-B isn’t just a copy of herself.  That the moral laws were not just being played with fast and loose throughout this encounter.  That she knew that Sophie-A was falling for Ethan-B and that that was totally uncool with her.  That she was fine if Sophie-A wanted to continue complimenting her shoes, or how her hair is pulled back, or whatever… but that B was on to A.  And that B wasn’t going to take it lying down.

These two moments were game changing moments.  Up until then, Ethan-B and Sophie B were harmless.  They were a fun game.  They were either just duplicates of themselves, or they were just visions or something.  But in these moments we realize that we aren’t having these harmless moments and that no one was going to get hurt.  But rather we were dealing with two other autonomous individuals and that stuff was going to go down now.

Who Are The One I Love Movie Doubles?
So, in the comments (which are just blowing up, make sure you join in and add your theories and thoughts!) one of the biggest topics of conversation are the secondary Ethan & Sophie characters. And as we have talked it has become clear that the key to who they are would be found in the Guest House guestbook, and computer files. I’ve included the photos of the guestbook guests along with the comments under their photos here for your reference.

Mouse over each image to see what their comments were inside the guestbook.  So, before we dig in deeper to the various theories that could possibly make sense of this movie – I want to talk through the guests in the guest book.  If you look at the photos above, I have included them in order.  Upper left photo is the first photo we see in the guest book.  Which I have arbitrarily named Guests #1.  Middle top, I refer to as Guests #2.  Upper right is Guests #3.  Bottom left are our Guests #4.  And middle bottom would be Guests #5.  And bottom right are Guests #6.

Obviously it is Guests #6 that are our Ethan-B and Sophie-B duplicates.  But since the photos are obviously taken AFTER they change into the people they are doubling (we know this because Ethan clearly says, “I never took this photo.”) we can’t know what they look like.  Or can we?  If the photos are always taken after the transformation, then maybe we can surmise some sort of chronological ordering in the way in which Ethan is swiping through the photos.  Right?  And if so, then Ethan-B and SophieB must look like Guests #5, right?  The couple that are standing next to “The Counselor”.  No?

I have been fascinated with trying to figure out what they might look like, and I think this theory described above is about as close we are going to get.  No?  Do you have other theories as to who the B couple might be?  We are dying to hear it below in the comments.

lizmarkbig2

The One I Love Ending Explained

But all of this just brings us to the larger question.  What the heck happened at the end?  I mean.  WHAT?!

So, let’s just walk through it slowly.  And look at what our options are.

Towards the very end of the movie, Sophie-B decides to make a play to keep her husband (Ethan-B).  She wasn’t going to get left behind and let Ethan-B take some other woman.  So she went and spoke to Ethan-A when he was banished to the Guest House, right?  During that chat she let him know exactly what was going down.  That Ethan-B was planning on stealing Ethan-A’s wife.  That this isn’t how it normally happened.  Normally when the B couple helped fix the A couple, the B couple were able to leave and the A couple would then be required to help a new couple out.  But Ethan-B was done with Sophie-B.  After Ethan-B and Sophie-A had sex the first night he flipped for her and he was determined to leave with this new love of his.

So, there they all are.  The four of them standing together.  Ethan-B looks at Sophie-A, and seems to get the stiff arm.  Ethan-B then looks at Ethan-A and then out to the gate.  And then Ethan-B makes a run for it.  Sophie-A says to Sophie-B, what is about to happen?  And she responds with, I have no idea.

When Ethan-B heads to the gate he hits an invisible force field and is thrown down to the ground unconscious.  So there we are.  Then the ultimate moment of the movie.  Ethan-A is standing over the body of Ethan-B.  He is looking at Sophie-A and Sophie-B.  But BOTH are wearing exactly the same clothes because the three of them were going to go for a hike.  So we the audience have no idea who is who.  But one is staring down at Ethan-B and the other is staring at Ethan-A.  And Ethan-A grabs the Sophie that was staring at him and they head to get their stuff and then they drive out together.

The End!  Simple.  So sweet.  Such a loving ending.

Or is it?  The question I have for you is, which Sophie did Ethan-A leave with?  At the end, Ethan-A asks Sophie for a kiss… and she kisses him.  Then Ethan says to her, no no no, that’s not going to cut it.  Well, what if I make you breakfast then?  And Ethan says, don’t move!  Don’t ruin it.  Just go.  Just go.  And then he asks from the bedroom, so what are we having for breakfast then?  And get this, Sophie says… “Oh I don’t know, maybe some bacon and eggs?”

So what just happened there?  Let’s walk through the two possibilities.

MagicKingdom_680

The One I Love Explained Theory #1 – The Disney Ending

It could be, that we have a happy ending on our hands here.  Sophie-A saw the error of her way, and she decides that this other Ethan wasn’t someone to attach her wagon to.  And she finally saw that she had done what Ethan-A had done to her when he cheated on her.  She repented and stared at her husband and they ran off together.  The explanation of the Bacon and Eggs statement in this ending is that Sophie-A learned to let go.  To make her husband happy.  To be the witty, charming woman her husband wanted.

2-sarahs

The One I Love Explained Theory #2 – The Dark Ending

The other option though is that Sophie-A was the one staring at Ethan-B.  She was hung up on this other Ethan who was witty and funny.  He was charming and he kindled the romance she had lost before.  And so she stood there and stared at him.  And it was Sophie-B that was the one that was thoroughly unenchanted with her husband.  She was determined to be the one not left behind.  The one who was going to make destiny happen for herself.  And this would explain the Bacon and Eggs quote, that she was the original person to give him Bacon and Eggs.  That he had chosen the other woman and knew it all along.

Maybe a look at a snippet of an interview with Duplass and his explanation of the ending will round out this investigation:

Interviewer: “The movie could’ve gone in several different directions. The ending was so different than what I’d have thought or predicted?”
Duplass: “The ending was an education for us. I learned something cool. We talked a lot about who the woman could be. Is he with his wife? Is he not with his wife? Who is that person? I realized, as we were working through it, that it’s like having a murder mystery with only two people; inherently, the answer that you get is not going to be that surprising or interesting. The more interesting answer is not the heavy answer. That was the only way we could make it live and be fascinating.”

Um.  When I first read this quote I thought.  GOT IT.  And then I read it again and I thought, WHAT?  And then I realized it said nothing at all.  Maybe Duplass is hinting that the Disney ending is the only one that makes sense?  But as I read it more I see less concreteness to the quote.  I personally think that you will take from the ending what you will.  If you are a glass half full kinda guy, then maybe the Disney answer is the right answer for you.  If you are a glass half empty kinda gal, then maybe the the darker answer is the one that is more for you?

The One I Love Explained Theory #3,4,5… et. al.

Below we’ve already heard 2 or 3 other alternate endings.  I obviously blew it in counting out 2 as the only number of possibilities!  hahah.

Final Petition – If any of you happen upon Mark Duplass’ email address in your comings and goings I would love love love to interview the guy.  Let him know he has a new internet stalker out there hunting him down!  hahah.

Related Posts

211 Responses

    • Rick

      I think I solved this puzzle for the most part(besides the magical/technological aspect which can lead you down a million rabbit holes). Ethan/Sophie-B is actually couple #5 from the guest book standing next to Ted Danson in the photo so that means that couple #4 broke them up so they could escape this prison & in comes couple #6 or Ethan -A/Sophie-A. Remember Couple-A did LEAVE the premises(they were still in love at the time) when they first discovered Couple-B, they were at a diner eating breakfast & Ethan-A wanted to leave but Sophie-A wanted to stay she already had sex with Ethan-B at this point. Couple-B was trapped in the guest house and it wasn’t until Sophie-A fell in love with Ethan-B and wanted to stay there forever that is when both couples were able to meet. The further Couple-B broke Couple-A apart the more power & freedom they had at the Estate…Couple-A started losing their power & needed Couple-B with them to leave the buildings. Now this is definitely Couple#5 because of the computer files Ethan-A found where Ted Danson was teaching Couple-B how to emulate their voices, also Ethan-B was calling Ethan-A’s friends & family to learn about his life because Sophie-B says when they leave they take over the previous couples life. So this closes a lot of theories these are true body snatchers not just some figment of Couple-A imagination. At the end I’m 99.9% sure he leaves with Sophie-B just watch the end again when Ethan-A looks at both Sophie’s he’s confused at which is which. You can clearly see Sophie-B(not crying, now remember she dressed as Sophie-A and pretended to be Sophie-A just a few minutes before to see if Ethan-B really was going to leave with Sophie-A). She looks over at Sophie-A who is so confused at this point everything is happening so fast & is crying because her feelings are tearing her apart. Sophie-A closes her eyes this is the HINT to Sophie-B to leave with Ethan-A and make the swap this is why she looks at him and smiles & they go without saying a word. To support this at the very end Sophie-B takes all the covers when she slept & Ethan-A froze all night, he was surprised because she has never done this before…BECAUSE ITS NOT HIS WIFE! mauhahaha case solved folks and don’t forget to tip your waitress on the way out…great film by the way & thank you Taylor for this forum much appreciated.

      Reply
      • Rick

        I wanted to discuss the Piano aspect, you have to be in sync with your partner to leave this Purgatory like prison. At the end Ethan-B was unconscious and Sophie-A was confused and crying. Ethan-A and Sophie-B on the other hand both wanted to get the hell out of dodge and never look back, hence in sync. Sophie-B always wanted to be with Ethan-B but he rejected her time & time again that’s how they got their in the first place. Once she realized he was going to throw her under the bus to leave with Sophie-A she was done with him for good. Ethan-A thought Sophie-B was his wife so technically he was in love with her & they were able to leave. I believe one couple HAD to leave before the weekend was up or some kind of paradox meltdown would occur of course this is purely speculation. I believe this is why Ethan-B tried to run because he knew both woman were mad at him & he said screw it let’s just see what happens, obviously he didn’t want to be trapped their anymore but he got greedy & wanted his cake and eat it to by trying to swap girls so he got what he deserved. This is why I’m certain Ethan-A is with Sophie-B because they were truly trying to fix their relationships with their original partners while Ethan-B & Sophie-A were trying to be devious and cheat…that’s karma for you and they got what they deserved.

      • Arlyn

        But how come Sophie-B didn’t get hit with the force field when she ran way with Ethan-A?

  1. Ryan

    Hey I just watched this movie and stumbled across your blog. Just wanted to point out one thing wrong with your summary- the B couple wasn’t trying to fix the A couple’s marriage. Quite the opposite- Sophie B states that the plan was for them to destabilize the A couple’s relationship.

    Reply
  2. Taylor Holmes

    Hey Ryan,
    Are you referring to the rules I payed out for the movie? The 5 rules for engagement? I think you misunderstand. What I was saying was, NORMALLY, the B-couple would work very hard to resolve the issue of the A-couple’s because it meant that the B-couple could then go. At that point the A-couple would then become the B-couple… They would begin looking like the new A-couple and it would be their job to resolve all their issues so that they could leave. Yes?

    But in this instance, Ethan-B falls for Sophie-A and decides to try and leave with her – so he actively worked to destabilize them. The point I was making was for normal instances. If not, please quote the part you are referring to. But you get the point I was making? If this was like what had happened PREVIOUSLY, it would have happened THIS way.

    Reply
    • Alison

      That’s what’s not correct-the point of couple B is to break up couple A so they can escape AND THEN once couple A has to be stuck there, that’s when there supposed to fix their relationship because they have to get out.

      Reply
      • Taylor Holmes

        Totally completely and irrevocably disagree. Well, I agree that that is the point of the retreat. The over arching point anyway. But if the A’s can’t figure it out. And the B’s aren’t figure it out, what now? Well A1 and B2 just move along. That is the entire point of 195 people commenting and discussing the ending. We are all trying to figure out who left with whom! If it’s always the A’s or the B’s that leave, then what are we discussing at all?

  3. Sleepyhead

    Taylor, you actually still have it backwards. When EthanA is locked in the guesthouse and SophieB comes to talk to him and says she’s not his wife, she says (at about 1hour 17 min in):
    ____________________
    “He fell in love with her. He’s not supposed to fall in love with her, she’s supposed to fall out of love with you, that’s how this works, that’s how we get out.”

    “What the hell are you talking about?”

    “That’s how we become you.”

    “You become us?”

    “Pitting you against each other is the best way to beak you down and then its your turn to stay.”
    _____________________
    To me, this makes it more likely that he left with SophieA.

    If you watch the end, it actually looks like he may have left with real-Sophie (they never tell you for sure except to hint with the bacon thing). When both Sophies come out the door after fake-Ethan hits the “wall”, real-Sophie is far to the left and asks “What happens if we can’t catch him?” Fake-Sophie, far to the right, says “I have no idea” while she calls to him.

    Then both sophies run over, and it looks like real Sophie is still on the left and fake is still on the right – which means he leaves with real Sophie and also makes sense as to why they were both able to leave. Earlier, fake-Sophie tells him the best way to get them to stay stuck is to drive them apart – which is exactly what happens to fake Ethan and Sophie. Plus the look that fake-sophie has as she stares down at fake-Ethan is one of contempt to me. She didn’t look happy or relieved, she looked hurt and betrayed.

    This also makes more sense to me because of the scene where EthanA finally says the things he should have said to SophieA (at 1hour 21 min) that she’d been wanting to hear from him. When he says “I don’t want to be perfect, we’re a mess and I love that about us” and ends with “I love you”, the look on her face is happiness that hes finally saying all of that. And then fake-Ethan bursts in.

    Reply
  4. Taylor Holmes

    Ryan,
    Sorry for the delay. Had to find time to get the movie back out and then find a different copy with actual flipping subtitles to make sure I got the dialogue right. So here is even more important dialogue after you stopped quoting:

    Ethan A – “What the fu… What the fuck? Oh my God.”
    Sophie B – “Did you try to get out last night?”
    Ethan A – “Yes.”
    Sophie B – “You couldn’t.”
    Ethan A – “No.”
    Sophie B – “That’s because the closer we get to moving on, the closer you get to not being able to. Do you remember when you first got here, I was stuck here. You had to come see me. Now look.”
    [runs to the door]
    Sophie B – “Ethan, it’s not going to work. I have to be the one to let you out.”
    Ethan A – “Well, what? I mean, what am I supposed to do? I mean, I don’t want to be trapped here.”
    Sophie B – “You’r not trapped yet. I can get you out. Listen, only two people can leave today.”
    Ethan A – “I don’t understand. Why would you help me if you’re trying to get yourself out of here?”
    Sophie B – “Because I love him.”

    Thanks for the intervention. Because it is this line, this last line, that proves you are right. Definitely, unequivocably in my mind. It has to be. She loves Ethan-B and wants to get them to leave so that she can have her husband back. Right?

    UNLESS, oh no. What if she was LYING to him, to get his help, to get him to be tricked, and to pick her in the end? Oooh. hahahah. But then she would have to know the bacon line. And it just doesn’t work. Well played Ryan. I think I will watch it through again with this in mind and see if it all fits. Thanks for the comment! I’ll update the blog to reflect as much.

    Reply
  5. Taylor Holmes

    But to be exceedingly clear, I knew that the A’s became B’s, and then the B’s would work to get out. But, where I was wrong (but you straightened me out Ryan) was the goal of the B’s. What I didn’t understand was that the goal of the B’s was to break down the A’s. The more they were broken down the less able they were to leave. Makes the retreat much more maleficent.

    Reply
  6. John

    Thanks for your post. I just happened to stumble across this movie via netflix. You mentioned in your post about the two buildings but didn’t mention the coop where the actual audio of them “morphing” into Ethan and Sophie had been heard by Ethan-A. Also, I wanted to know your thoughts on the actually B couple. Have other couples been successful in leaving, you think? What are they? I’m just trying to find answers and stimulate further discussion.

    Reply
  7. Taylor Holmes

    Yeah, I could have talked through the audio-morph reveal, huh? Good idea. Maybe I’ll add it. Except, you just added it! haha.

    As for your questions about the B-Couples… definitely some have left. Actually, my read is that ALL previous couples have been successful in getting out. But it was this one time that was anomalous. Instead of busting the couple up the guy fell for the other gal which jacked everything up. As for what they are, well, we can assume they are couples with relational troubles like the Sophie-Ethan A couple we experience from start to finish. The only thing we don’t get to see is the couple’s transformation from A’s to B’s because the A couple leave this one time that we watch. We hear their audio tweak and change (as you mentioned.) But we don’t see how their physical appearance changes. That would be interesting, but way too sci-fi-ish in my mind for this particular movie. No? What do you think? would it have added something to actually see them flip from A’s to B’s?

    By the way, LOVE folks that swing through just to kick the conversation up a notch. Brilliantly done.

    Reply
  8. John

    I wanted to thank you for your post because I was searching through the internet and wanted to further discuss the movie.

    If they showed the transformation occur, I agree, the movie would have been too sci-fi-ish. It’s just that a part of me wants to understand everything in the movie, but maybe I shouldn’t try to search for answers to everything and leave some of the mystery to the imagination.

    Reply
  9. Alexandra

    If Ethan-B couldn’t get past the clear wall surrounding the property then how could Sophie-B possibly leave with Ethan-A? The bacon and eggs line for the plot twist end threw me for a moment, but then the former dawned on me. Ethan-A and Sophie-A left together leaving the B’s there.

    Reply
  10. Taylor Holmes

    Hey there Alexandra…
    So let’s play that out a second. Ethan-B booked it for the door. Right? He knew the gig was up, and he’s running for it. He then smacks into the wall and is denied exit. But he attempted to leave by himself. We still don’t know if he would have been allowed to leave with Sarah-A. It’s still a possibility that he COULD have left the compound with A. We weren’t given that rule. It’s never happened. Maybe the rule is that two people need to leave together. We aren’t sure.

    To play devil’s advocate, and come over and sit on your side of the table – hey there, don’t mind me, I’m going to converse with myself a little be not – I would say to that… sure, but we saw that Ethan-A was losing his ability to exit the houses, let alone the compound, because of the problems in his relationship with Sarah-A. Right? Because of that he was losing his autonomy.

    And my response to my response to myself would be, as I said a moment ago – sure, but this has never happened before that we know of. Maybe it is possible to wife swap, or husband swap, and escape together. Maybe the rule is just that two must exit. We already know that a single person can’t exit. We were shown what happens there.

    But jump to the Bacon and Egg line… I think I totally agree. I’ve come and gone over time about what I think. But I would agree. The Bacon line is significant to the A’s. And its shared as an inside information with the audience as well. Where it gets relevant to us is that Sophie is chilling out. There is change. They have learned. But where that is tricky is that it could also imply that we are seeing the other her, Sophie-B, who never morphed, is now here… and she made it out. But it doesn’t HAVE to be Sophie-A learning or growing. All it takes is one conversation that we don’t know about, about the bacon with Sophie-B and Ethan-A (“Can you believe she totally wouldn’t let me have bacon?!” “I know! Can’t believe Sophie-A could be so lame!” Or what have you. And blam, inside joke. But I think that is a reach.)

    My two cents. Great comment though Alexandra. Am I missing it? Your comment that is?

    Reply
    • Gabe

      I just have to throw this in– I think Ethan A left with Sophie B, and by mistake. We learn the movie starts with a good moral point and takes a dark turn. The retreat becomes malicious in its intent: in order to escape, you need to trap the next couple. Also when SophieB says to EthanA “I can help you… Only two of us can leave,” that’s implying anyone can pass the field, as long as it’s two (? And the spell has worn off/broken enough between a combo of A and B? Meh, I’m my hung up there.) Fake Sophie’s concern that Fake Ethan is going to leave with Sophie A is enough to convince me any two can leave.
      So Ethan A, always the one character with crystal clear intentions, wanting to keep his perfectly flawed wife, dashes out of there with her… Until the very last line he realizes he was tricked and he is with Sophie B.
      I can’t figure why you keep mentioning the need for a missing bacon conversation between Ethan A and Sophie B for this angle to make sense. Because the most pivotal moment when Ethan makes the very first discovery 16min– he’s bringing up their fight, she’s brushing it off and cooking for him. He tells her she’s acting really weird. And says “Wait you’re making me bacon?… Sophie you hate it when I eat bacon!” That’s the very first Stepford Wife “that’s not Sophie” moment.

      So yeah two possibilities:
      1. Sophie A fell so back in love with him they lived happily ever after and she even let him eat bacon again. (Unlikely what they’re going for here)
      2. Sophie B tricked the shit out of him and wanted any chance to escape. When she asks at the end “How about bacon?” It’s mirroring the very first time Ethan made the discovery. It ends on a dark note, with Ethan realizing he rescued the wrong wife.

      Which has even darker undertones. Ethan A has been our hero through the whole film. The one who wants to fix his marriage, wants nothing to do with the imposters, sees his wife and all her flaws as perfect. A real Prince Charming right? And yet in the end, even he didn’t realize he took the wrong girl home. He chose the one who seemed to look at him with more love…But sinceSophie’s biggest flaw was no longer being in love with him… Even Ethan ended up wanting to leave with the ideal version of his wife. And didn’t realize the mistake until she was so ideal she even offered him bacon.

      Reply
      • Gabe

        MY BIGGEST POINT BEING BACONBACON BACON BACON BACON. Bacon was when Ethan discovered fake Sophie. Cooking bacon is what blew Sophie Bs bluff in her very first scene. BACON BACONBACON ends the movie with SophieB lol

      • Moksha

        I totally agree with you that it is real-Ethan and fake -Sophie who leave together – and would take it one step further: At the end, with the bacon comment, real-Ethan realises he has taken fake-Sophie home, is mortified for a moment, then pauses, looks back at the tumbled bed and seems to remember the playfulness and lightness they just shared, has a momentary internal struggle and then decides that actually, maybe it’s not so bad being with fun, playful fake Sophie – who is actually into him (unlike real-Sophie) – after all! So he gets up and has bacon and says absolutley nothing…

        And earlier, at the force field, real -Sophie looks down because she had fallen in love with fake-Ethan and doesn’t want real- Ethan to choose her to leave with. It was a very considered and deliberate refusal to meet his eye, whereas fake-Sophie gave him the come-hither “pick me” look consistent with her earlier Stepford Wife type manner. And he fell for it.

      • Ethanol

        So basically: when fake-Etan hits the wall, fake-Sophie realizes how much in love is Sophie with the fake man. Fake Sophie just accept that and changes her mind when before we hear her saying that prefers to be trapped with him (fake Ethan). So she decides to escape with the real Etahn…
        But.. all the speech from Etahn (with the real Sophie)being honest about that he doesn’t care their flaws in their marriage… wasn’t then when real Sophie realizes that he (real Etahn) is right and shouldn’t let herself fall in love with the fake-Etahn. So I don’t know why (when the fake hits the wall) she is the one that seems to care more about.
        And then we have the bacon…
        -So we know that was fake Sophie who escapes with real Etahn….
        -Or just real Sophie trying to make his husband mad

        (Sorry ma english verry bad)

      • MargotBay

        I am late to the show, but Amazon finally had this movie on Prime. I so agree with your explanation. I think Ethan A thought he knew which one was his real wife – he showed tendencies of arrogance; remember the line where he said, “I’m glad I could tell you what you needed to hear.” ? Clearly Ethan A never knew what it was Sophie A needed to hear. He did not know her at all. That to me was the most compelling line of the movie and demonstrated throughout by his verbal insecurities. “Is he like me?”

      • Alexander

        I’ll add my two cents here; I think Ethan left with Sophie B. Sophie B consistently had this glazed “stepford wife” look about her throughout the movie & it is that exact look she gives Ethan A at the end whenever he’s trying to figure out which is which. I thought he would pick the one that looked down and was upset because that wasn’t clearly his original wife but I was shocked he picked the one that stared at him with a glazed look. So I’m actual fact I thought he’d left with Sophie b anyway…when you add the stealing the bed covers & bacon into the equation. I think it’s therefore made quite clear by the writers that it is Sophie B!

        What a genius film.

  11. John

    One person must have been able to leave because Ethan-A left the premise (supposedly) before he went to go spy on them at the guesthouse, right? We actually see him drive through the grove of trees and pull over into a driveway in the movie.

    Also, I wanted to give my input about the ending. I think Ethan-A knew that it was Sophie-B in the end; the look on his face shows the reality of what happened, but chose to accept it. This ending seems appropriate because of Ethan-A and Sophie-A’s history together and the eventful retreat that transpired. Ethan-A cheated on her and his demeanor throughout the entire movie wanted Sophie to yearn for Ethan-B more. I think it was good for Ethan-A to get a new start and to finally succumb to the new Sophie experience. However, at the end, we see that Sophie-B was on the right and Sophie-A was on the left when Sophie-A asks “what’s going to happen now?” and Sophie-B, on the left, says, “I don’t know.” Buuuuuut, that’s just my take.

    Reply
  12. Taylor

    John,
    Are you referring to minute 51? Ethan never leaves. So Alexandra is still on target I think. Ethan SAYS he’s going to leave. He gets in the car. Drives down the driveway. Then parks in the bushes. But never crosses the threshold. Right? Maybe I’m missing something? Wait!? Did you edit your comment?! It seems to have changed? Or I am on drugs unwittingly! hahaha. But yes, I think you answered your own question. He never actually left.

    As for the ending – like all great movies I think it ID a litmus test for the viewer themselves. (no offense intended John!) But if you yourself desire a reboot, maybe that’s what you’ll see. If you desire to be reubuted and see kove conquer all, that’s what youll see. When we discuss way more complicated movies here (the prestige, memento, primer, inception, signal, what have you) I see that happen time and time again. Right? but the beautiful thing about this ending there are two clear options. (am I missing other options than the two I see?) I personally want Ethan a and Sophie a to be together today, so that’s how I see the evidence before me. Tomorrow I may be in a moee vindictive mood and want it to be different. If that makes sense. So we have one vote for split, one for reunited. Itd be interesting to hear the votes of others who choose to comment here.

    (As a selfish aside, I love it when a quiet blog post blows up. So exciting to me to see what you guys come up with.)

    Reply
    • Yeshsaia

      Okay, I thought I might jump in and join the fray. I have a morality question/comment: Whether you rewind or fast-forward, the “fixing” of one couple’s relationship seems to depend upon breaking up another couple’s. Not very nice, is it? That is, unless there’s a deeper moral lesson to be learned here? Like a broken bone, when mended, is stronger than the original?

      Also, for what it’s worth, I agree that two people had to leave in order to break through the force-field, and that could include an A and B combo. So Ethan A could well have left with Sophie B, which I believe was the case. Why? Maybe I’m a glass half-empty guy or…maybe it explains the Ethan’s reaction to the kiss: “That’s not going to cut it!” (or some such words). Can this mean that Sophie A was a better kisser or it’s just not what he was used to? Hell, I don’t know. But I do think it wasn’t what he was was used to. Also, when she said “bacon”, Ethan definitely had the look of surprise. That would discount the likelihood of a previous conversation, clueing us in that this was unexpected by Ethan. Coincidence is enough of an explanation for me, along with the writer poking fun. Sorry, Taylor, no Disney ending for me.

      Reply
  13. T

    One thing that really throws me for a loop is when Ethan A goes into the guest house with Sophie B and tells her she was just there cooking bacon, how did she get rid of the smell, you can’t just get rid of the smell of bacon. This seems to indicate that the Bs aren’t real. It seems to me that perhaps the whole movie is not a thriller, not sci-fi, but rather a surrealist metaphor. Maybe the B’s are the idealized versions of the As , that fantasy version we have of someone when we first meet them. The Bs can only leave by tearing the As apart, right? Maybe it’s a metaphor for how clinging to the ideal we succeed in tearing apart the real relationships we have. One of them has to go, either the real relationship has to break up (The As) or we need to let go of the ideal (the Bs). It also seems to be talking about serial monogamy, how the story just repeats over and over with the last couple becoming the next couple. We fall in love with ideals, break up with reality, and repeat the same pattern over, the same relationship over, with other people? But then I have no idea why the therapists office was empty aside from the piano, what would that mean? Therapy is pointless? haha I really have to think about this a little bit more, but *great* movie. On my third watch around, finding myself looking for hints in the set details, so thanks for mentioning 5 viewings I feel a little less nuts now!

    Reply
    • Adam

      Doors that magically lock. Force field around the house. People morphing into other people. I’ll accept the “bacon smell disappears” as magic, too. I have to use the same reasoning for how the Bs can get in/out of the guest house so fast, too.

      Reply
    • Rachel

      That’s what I thought was going on from the beginning, and honestly think I would have preferred. The Sci- fi element to me sort of pushed aside the metaphorical meaning of the movie and the lesson we should ha been taking away. That lesson being that we fall in love with people, but ultimately want those people to become an illusion of the real person. Some version we invent in our ins devoid of flaws and displaying the qualities we seek. I also think the movie realizes the theory of being frustrated with and resentful of oneself, as seen through the strained relationship between Ethan A and Ethan B. Or lying to oneself about who you really are and how you really feel about yourself as we an see with Sophie A and Sophie B.

      Reply
  14. T

    *I meant to write “when Ethan A goes into the guest house with Sophie A”, not “B”.

    Reply
  15. T

    So there really is no “A” or “B”, it’s just two sides of the same person. Ethan fell in love with the real Sophie, but Sophie was in love with her idea of Ethan. Notice that both of the Sophies want to be trapped in the happy nest of the retreat, away from the real world with “fake” Ethan, while both of the Ethans want to go into the real world with the real Sophie. The cheating parts reflect the actual cheating that Ethan A did & also the “betrayal” of coming short of the ideal that Sophie had of Ethan. The confrontation between the Sophies and between the Ethans is our internal conflicts with the aspects of ourselves, the real and the one we present to the world. So who did Ethan A leave with? He left with Sophie A, but also Sophie B. They are the same. The cooler, better person we initially put forth is still part of who we are. Sophie is real, and is learning to accept the real Ethan so some of her “B” side is showing. The movie is like a big kaleidoscope, showing all the fragments and pieces of who we are as individuals and as a couple. And Ok, I really promise I will stop now.

    Reply
  16. Alexandra

    Taylor-
    You make a great point about it all being a litmus test. We see what we want to see. In regards to what you said about Ethan-A going to the store, but not really leaving the property, maybe they can’t leave alone? The only time post experiencing the doppelgangers that they leave the property Ethan-A and Sophie-A are together…I feel like that realization shreds my original thought that the B’s can’t leave the property. And now I’m back to square one. Haha.

    Personally, I don’t think Sophie-B wanted to leave without Ethan-B because at the dinner party she was territorial of him when she confronted Sophie-A. And why would she tell Ethan-A everything? She did trick Ethan-B into confessing his love for Sophie-A so maybe that sparked the idea to split with Ethan-A. Or maybe it sparked the look of contempt after Ethan-B tried to split by himself.
    Another thing, we never hear from Ethan-A about why he had an affair, we only hear what Ethan-B has to say about it. We have no clue as to what drew Ethan-A to another woman and this sets up a dangerous precedent that he would subconsciously and unwillingly perhaps choose Sophie-B (the other woman!).

    Ethan-A showed a great dislike and distrust towards Sophie-B through the entire movie so he never had must interaction beyond the bacon and mimosa scenes. But in those scenes those two seemed more in sync than Ethan-A and Sophie-A ever did…and so in the final bedroom scene when they seem so together, care free and…in sync. How could it be Sophie-A?

    I feel like I could dig and dig and dig for meaning through out the entire movie, but for me it all comes down to the last five minutes. After decades of Hollywood brainwashing of love conquers all and the fairy tail endings and how most movie plot lines are summed up nice and neat, the thought of Ethan-A and Sophie-B ending up together because Ethan-A made a snap decision that was incorrect (or was it?) makes most of us uncomfortable. At least it did for me for a moment and so my initial thought was nope! It was Sophie-A, but if they are using a different template all together then it must be Sophie-B. Or its just a giant twist made for your brain to disagree with itself and it all comes back down to you see what you want to see.

    Reply
  17. Chris

    It seems that no one has mentioned the idea that we could know what Ethan-B and Sophie-B originally looked like. Going through the iPad with all the photos of past couples, Ethan-A pauses at one couple (the photo right before Ethan and Sophie-A’s, as it turns out) and zooms in on it. Ethan was probably zooming in on the Counceler, but I think the purpose of this was two fold by the director. I only noticed this the second time I watched it, I would be interested what you guys think. Great movie.

    Reply
  18. taylor

    I go christmas shopping for five minutes and you guys all leave me in the freaking dust! geeze. Its going to take me an hour sitting here staring at your insights and sorting them out! hahah. T, you get my first response.

    T – I stopped short with your bacon reference. I refer to you movie as metaphor bits in a moment. But its your bacon reference that stops you cold for me. Its literally just because it was physically a different human. Right? Sophie B… Correct? she was the one cooking the bacon – which is obviously how it was conducted successfully… Correct? not that any of this is possible mind you, im just working within the laws and frameworks of the movie’s systems at this point.

    But that then dismantels absolutely everything else you say for me T. It all collapses. Yes OFCOURSE the movie is a metaphor for our aging and dying and changing selves. Certainly. But when you say that it was impossible and therefore a “surrealist metaphor” are you not saying the smell in the air? or the smell on Sophie-A? This is significant to me. If the air, ok. You have something. But if Sophie-A proper, then we know that reason clearly. Its because she isnt there anymore. Right? If you could ckear that up for me it would helo me greatly. But regardless… Yes ofcourse its a surrealist ideation if a metaphorical truth as depicted by light and colors across a very real movie screen that is otherwise completely false. Right?! hahah. But yes. We are presented with a fascinating juxtaposition of one’s younger fictionalized self as older, contrasted with our actual older selves so that we might compare and contrast the two.

    To put it another way Duplass, in an interview at one point he admitted that he couldnt wrap his head around this younger character until he realized that he just needed to treat him as if he had a 2-inch larger penis,and the rest just fell into place for him. But this is what the movie is 100% about. This subtle difference between what we were and what weve become because of life, because of the failures and screwups and mistakes. How we become jaundiced and lesser copies of ourselves. I agree with you T.

    Off to the next comment to respond to! hahah.

    Reply
  19. taylor

    Alexandra, you hit a bunch of different ideas one right after the other so I will quote you and respond for clarity sake.

    ‘Personally, I don’t think Sophie-B wanted to leave without Ethan-B’ – heck ya! The movie totally hinges on this one insighr. Like all of it. Right? otherwise Sophie B doesn’t walk up to the locked in Ethan-A and lay it out for him. She totally threw him a bone and said… You and I have to partner up or you are going to lose your wife and im going to lose my husband!

    ‘Another thing, we never hear from Ethan-A about why he had an affair, we only hear what Ethan-B has to say about it’ – hahah. What worse competitor for a wife is there than a younger version of herself?!? He was attracted to her for a reason, right?! and beauty is just a slice of that attraction. The attitude. The laughter. The spontanaity. etc.

    But I thought the movie inverted that problem. Ethan was the one who had an affair. But it was Sophie who was raring to go with Ethan-B. ‘We said nothing about an intimate massage!’ Hahah. But yeah, Ethan was definitely at risk in this scenario. But it was because of his previous experience with the affair, and his desire to resolve their issues that protected him from the temptation of a younger Sophie. Right? He was mainly stern with her. And mad.

    I do think it’s cool you’ve come around to say it’s the opposite. Kudos to you. But I think the genius isn’t necessarily that it’s automatically NOT Hollywood. But rather it’s Equally and evenly balanced to be either. Not just that it could be contra-Hollywood, but that it could be fairy tale as well. Both. Evenly balanced with strong evidence to support them both. This so reminds me of my Prestige Blog conversations. Hahah. Totally the same thing going on there. Would love your opinion of The Prestige. Would be relevant here even. Hehe. “it’s a TRAP!” Hahah.

    Reply
  20. taylor

    Awesome Chris! I don’t have the movie on my iPad (Which is what I’m tapping away on tonight) or else I’d check that scene out closer. Thanks for the tip. Maybe I’ll scrape a shot and add it to the blog. Brilliant idea mate. We see them, we hear them… Yeah, maybe there’s a tip in there as to who’s who. Possibly a hint in the guest book as to the name maybe? And then a correlation from the name to the photo?! That would be awesome sauce!

    Reply
  21. Dude McCLoud

    T nailed it. I think the movie is smart on multiple levels. It deals with interesting real world issues (EG: Relationship issues) and offers an intriguing if not bizarre form of resolve. I think the most intriguing aspect of the movie was the therapist himself. Who is this dude? A Warren Buffet esq scientist who created a form and function lab AKA retreat for couples to resolve their perry winkled qualms? Possibly the therapist at the beginning of the movie is a “B” person himself. Another simulated, or non real, procedural part of the retreat therapy program. One scene that made me reach this far out conclusion was the scene where Ethan A is flipping through the previous couples guestbook and the therapist is standing in one of the pictures with a previously lodged couple, with quite a proud look on his face. Possibly the “A” therapist created the retreat with 2016 esq technology. He is the dude, the inventor of these… simulations, B’s, robots…? and the trippy serenely south eastern looking retreat. A rather noble and philanthropic idea in a weird way if you think about it, considering the fact I don’t think he charged the couple a hefty slice of change for entering the unbeknownst program… Or possibly in the next coming weeks the A’s are going to be receiving a letter in the mail stating that they owe the T.D. corporation 100,000 bucks for their 3 day 4 night stay at the “Rod Sterling’s Florida Orange & Retreat For Dissatisfactory Couples” but… I digress. I picked up on the underlining theme that the B’s were never meant to leave the retreat, and the A’s were bound to leave regardless of their experience with the B’s. The scene of bacon smoke disappearing is the most important scene in the entire movie, aside from the end where the A’s track down the therapist to find his office vacant. However, You would think the A’s would had heard a story on the news about “Weird retreat for Couples Is Gigantic Success”, or vice versa, be that the case. Flippant antidotes aside, I believe the A’s end up with the A’s and the B’s go back to the robot factory.

    Reply
  22. Whitney

    Ok what about this, when Ethan A looks at the guest book he sees a picture of Ethan and Sophie and knows he wasnt there for that picture and the dialogue under the picture states ” we loved it so much here we never want to leave ” In the picture it looks as though it’s definitely Ethan B but with which sophie, that I don’t know . To me it makes me think possibly it’s Sophie A with Ethan B in the photograph because of one instance when Ethan A and Sophie A walk back to the main house together before meeting the B’s together in the kitchen. On that walk back, Sophie A says before she walks inside that “she is not leaving”. Those two clues lead me to believe Ethan A left with Sophie B after all. Although a previous poster was right about how she stated that Sophie A was on the left and B was on right. Course that doesn’t mean they didn’t move and change spots when they walked toward Ethan B’s unconscious body after embracing the force field lol !

    Reply
  23. Whitney

    And another thing! Did anyone else notice that when they played the card game that when Ethan A failed and Ethan B offered them time alone, he said “you guys can take the guest house”? Basically intentionally trying to trap them. Now I don’t know if he was referring to which Sophie joining Ethan A but to me it looked like he looked at Sophie A when he said this meaning that he would trap the one he was in love with. Ok now I’m reading way too far into this crap lol

    Reply
  24. Taylor Holmes

    Hahahaha!
    Now Whitney, THAT is a conspiracy that is good. EthanB is in the photo with SophieA?!? Hahaha. That is so inside out I don’t even know what to do with it. Brilliant. I mean, besides destroying the whole premise of the movie, its perfect. hahah.

    Alright – I thought it was obvious that the photo for the guest book was taken AFTER they were trapped at the getaway and before the new A’s arrived. They then had to go through “Therapy” to change their look and the sound of their voices, etc. But that’s just me. If that’s right, then I know exactly who the REAL EthanB and SophieB are. They are the individuals standing next to Ted Danson.

    To explain it thoroughly, I’ve added a gallery inside the blog including all the photos of the guests in the guestbook. And if you look, EthanB and SophieB are the couple #5. The bottom middle couple. No? What do you think? Could that possibly be it?

    Taylor

    Reply
  25. Taylor Holmes

    Hey there McCloud –
    Thanks for your thoughts. You posed like 30 different ideas in something like 20 lines! But they are all good, even if some are just flights of fancy. I totally dig your robots theory. To make your theory work you’d have to believe that the robots (the b’s) would never get free.

    Oh NO! Better yet would be if the Robots are the ones ALWAYS getting free. Check it out. Ted Danson, The Counselor, creates two robots. They are able to simulate anyone, both physically and in the sound of their voices too. Danson counsels the first real human couple and suggests they go to this retreat. They go to the retreat and the B’s (robots) break up the A’s and are allowed now to leave. They head off into society and take over the lives of the A’s. Then the A’s – the humans – are killed and new robots are made to mimic a new set of couples. hahahah. Love it.

    But I do think you are onto something with The Counselor being the creator of this place. I don’t know if its an alien technology… or a futuristic one that allows it to exist. But regardless, I think Danson is a key player in the retreat, even though he is a very bit player in the overall movie.

    I would like to hear your opinion on whether or not the B couple are actually the Guests #5 like I mentioned up above now in the blog. I do think the guestbook is central as others have mentioned (I’ve lost track now on who first mentioned the guestbook as the key.) But I agree totally.

    Taylor

    Reply
  26. Dude McCLoud

    Totally. I for some random reason just have a feeling that all of the previous guests (B’s) are simulations, robots, etc… Mimicking or imitating the A’s (the real people). So in answering your question I’d say no. I Believe T.D.’s character, or a character that is unseen is the mastermind behind the retreat.

    I have a few questions to anyone who has potential answers. I know that I most certainly have a few opinions on these questions.

    # 1- Why was the counselor only in one picture?
    # 2- Why was the counselors office empty at the end of the movie?
    # 3- Anyone notice how the first recording Ethan A attempted to record on his phone was pure static?
    # 4- Anyone notice how the consolers voice was completely different on the first piano exercise recording on the desktop.
    # 5- Anyone notice how Sophie B was unnecessarily or possibly necessarily unpleasant to Sophie A, while they were washing dishes in the kitchen. DId Sophie B know that Sophie A was bad news? Is Sophie A lying the entire movie to Ethan A about her unawareness of Ethan B?

    My Opinions:

    # 1- No clue.
    # 2- It’s not actually a real office. The therapy retreat program has ended. The A’s are back together, therefor the simulation AKA program ends. T.D.’s AKA the counselors got bigger disappointed relationships to cash in on.
    # 3- Pure simulation feedback.
    # 4- Possibly the first voice in the recording is the creator of the B’s and the retreat. The counselor is just a puppet or B himself. A figure head for the therapy program.
    # 5- DId Sophie B know that Sophie A was bad news? Is Sophie A lying the entire movie to Ethan A about her unawareness of Ethan B? Sounds wild but, I say that for the reason that during one of the final scenes of the film, Sophie B tells Ethan A that it’s not the first weekend that Sophie A has visited Ethan B. Super Strange. I myself personally don’t think Sophie A is a bad person, and completely disregard this idea.

    I got tons of more ideas relating to this Sterling esq film but… Cool, stoked to hear your ideas people.

    Reply
  27. Whitney

    Ok well now I feel stupid as I didmt gather that it was the B’s in the pic before the A’s ever arrived.

    Reply
  28. Whitney

    mccloud, I think when Sophie b said to Ethan a that it didn’t start with this weekend, I think she just meant that she already knew thier relationship was falling apart, dunno if she really meant it as she had been there before, but hell, I could be wrong. Thats one that could go either way I suppose. The rest of ur questions, I’m just as much baffled as you are and want to see what others think !

    Reply
  29. Taylor

    Dude!
    Super awesome questions list – I’m not even going to read your guess as to the answers, and then I’ll compare our answers. Hehehe. But before I do, did anyone else notice that every clock in the Therapist’s office (The Guesthouse) show a different time? I just noticed that while gathering the screenscrapes of the couples above. That has got to mean something! hahah. I think it supports your theory McLoud about the robots and the Therapist as evil genius (or what have you.) Anyway let’s see where it takes us:

    # 1- Why was the counselor only in one picture?
    It is asymmetrical and fairly nonsensical from inside the movie world. But I have a movie writer’s perspective guess. I personally think that they are showing us Ethan-B and Sophie-B. It is a tell from the creators for those (us, definitely us) of us who are looking.

    # 2- Why was the counselors office empty at the end of the movie?
    Reminds me of the movie the Game. Basically meant in that movie that the gig was up. And I think it means something similar here. Which is unfortunate because I am not a huge fan of the robot theory. Actually, get rid of the word robot and I think I am more intrigued. Cyborg maybe? Doppleganger? No, because that isn’t what they are in that case. Hrmm. Spy? Infiltrators? But yeah, I personally think that the empty office definitely implies that the goal of the retreat is to disseminate infiltrators and somehow that failed in this final time. And thus it implies that the goal of the retreat was to breakup the A’s and send out the B’s.

    Another more conventional reading might be that every time The Counselor initiated the program with someone he started afresh. He tore down and started over. So in that reading, it could just mean that that cycle is over.

    # 3- Anyone notice how the first recording Ethan A attempted to record on his phone was pure static?
    McCloud, I really do think you are on to something. I have kept my theories on this movie too conservative apparently (which I never do! haha.) One more datapoint showing that the Infiltrators are robots or some sort of cyborg entities that resist tracking and have active anti-surveillance methods available to them. Kinda crazy as the data piles up. Ethan-A even mentions at one point “What are they Robots?” when they are talking about whether they should go in and confront the doubles.

    # 4- Anyone notice how the consolers voice was completely different on the first piano exercise recording on the desktop.
    Nope. I didn’t. Will have to watch that section again.

    # 5- Anyone notice how Sophie B was unnecessarily or possibly necessarily unpleasant to Sophie A, while they were washing dishes in the kitchen. DId Sophie B know that Sophie A was bad news? Is Sophie A lying the entire movie to Ethan A about her unawareness of Ethan B?
    Wait, WHAT? Sophie-B was the one that was telling Sophie-A to back away from her husband. Sophie-A had just recently slept with Sophie-B’s husband (Ethan-B to be clear) – so she was the one telling Sophie-A that the let’s just be pleasant talk about nothing (hair, shoes) game was up. Is that not how you read it? I definitely thought it was necessary – IF THEY ARE REAL HUMANS. hahah. Otherwise… robots don’t give a crap who sleeps with whom.

    Personally, I want to believe that we are dealing with humans across the board. A’s and B’s. But the B’s have been trapped and given an objective for some reason. I also believe that the overall coherent and logical message of the movie is that marriages are worth fighting for. That love is worth fighting for. And so with that perspective (litmus test much?) I see Ethan and Sophie’s marriage as surviving – and Guests #5’s relationship as continuing to fail because of Ethan-B’s disloyalty.

    Whitney – think about it. You and your significant other go to the retreat. You two are broken up by your dopplegangers (the people made to look like you, your B’s). At that point they leave. And you then begin to work with The Counselor to become like another couple. Voice Therapy. And some other method to make you look like them. And then you become a B now, intent on breaking up the new A’s. Right?

    Reply
  30. Dude McCLoud

    Yeah man! I know right. I was totally thinking of the game while I was watching the end of this movie and in reference to the end of this movie. I agree with you on most points but… I don’t think the retreat is intended to be of malicious intent, it seems more as though that it’s an unorthodox yet somewhat useful template for marriage recovery. I mean… There is no real context regarding the B’s or the counselors agenda, other than the fact that the B’s are ment to take the place of the A’s, and in the end that didn’t happen. But… It does seem pretty weird that the counselors office was literally gone at the end of the movie. Leading me believe there is something more strange, hitchcock esq going on at the end. Why does the Counselor or whoever runs the retreat program, want all these perfect couples replacing these seemingly normal people?

    I think I get the writers intent to a certain extent in relation to the message the film in attempting to demonstrate, and I believe it’s a good natured twilight zone episode in the end, but… the details dude! So many details in this movie.

    My main question:

    The empty office at the end of the movie and the guest book photo with the counselor? Total head scratcher.

    Reply
  31. Bea

    I think the reason for the scene with the empty office and the piano is to possibly hint that Ethan and Sophie are in sync now (remember at the beginning of the film when the couselor asked them to play a key at the same time and he said they were both out of sync), and also to show that Ethan left with the Sophie he believed to be the real one. As to wether it’s Sophie A or B, i think that’s almost up to the viewer to decide depending on how they read the film. Personally, i believe he left with Sophie B, and when he realized it he just accepted it (or maybe denied the possibilty that it was Sophie B since he seems happy now).

    Im glad I found this blog, it’s awesome seeing the different theories and opinions about this film. Great work!

    Reply
  32. rosie

    so glad I found this discussion; I just watched the movie and at the end I’m like “Saywhat?!”

    I think, like its like “The life of Pi” you take out of the movie your own worldview. If you are pessimistic you say that Sophie-Ethan A got out and learned their lessons, evolved and were happy ever after and couple B had to suck it up as they failed to break up the marriage (which Sophie B said was the goal). OR…

    … that it could also be Sophie B got out with Ethan A because in the end she was betrayed – and Ethan A (post bacon remark) is willing to do what Sophie A kept trying to tell him to do, and “not ask too many questions”. If I take the sci-fi appraoch that the alter-egos exist I’d opt for Sophie B (who spent her time smiling and being compliant, until she showed her real colours in the kitchen with sophie A) pulling a double whammy on everyone and getting out with a tricked Ethan A.

    My take on it is that the WHOLE THING was a mind control/hypnosis mind trip – A metaphor played out of their marriage. That none of it actually happens and that they are both acting out all roles (thus the smell of bacon disappearing instantly). The Doctor sends them to the house because they are hopelessly out of sync. The get to “meet” their better more optimistic fun selves. Ethan doesn’t change, he wants the difficult messy Sophie A but Sophie jumps into a fantasy with “perfect” Ethan A. Ethan B can’t simply run out, like if you die in a dream you die (I know that’s not true but you see what I mean). They have to “wake up” (come out of hypnosis/mind control/whatever) “together” .

    End game: Just like the voices all merged on the tape, the goal was to merge the fantasy with the reality and then leave; but the Ethan’s message was “we never want to leave” they couldn’t be fixed. All the other couples have messages of moving on, recognizing that it was temporary, but not he Ethan-Sophie’s. Also did anyone notice the arm, in the photo? Is that the doctor, handling them? So if Ethan-Sophie couldn’t be “fixed” maybe someone has to stay under.

    Not Ethan, his speech begging Sophie was almost identical to the one Ethan B gave to move Sophie to tears. But Alter-ego Sophie B was in fact a tought cookie. She loved Ethan A until she tasted the betrayal in his last kiss then she wanted out, without him. So Sophies old self couldn’t help look down at her fantasy husband B knocked out and Sophies pretend self was hurt and wanted out. Sure she said she wanted to stay (even if Ethan B didn’t love her but that was before she actually tasted what kissing a man that loved someone else felt like; notice she didn’t close her eyes when Ethan B kissed her, notice how he knew the love was dead.)

    End game: So what does the doctor do? He let’s fake (mind-controlled) sophie come out with real Ethan A. So in the end the mind of real-messy difficult sophie is left behind in a dream world. And Ethan, though the bacon remark at the end throws him for a loop, decides FINALLY not to ask too many questions.

    Reply
  33. rosie

    So that’s my take (full of holes I’m sure) … oh and in the opening line I said “pessimistic” when I of course meant “OPTIMISTIC”… forgive the numerous typos please.

    Reply
  34. Gigi

    My take after watching and reading your posts is this 1. Ethan 2 and sophie #2 are a real couple stuck there until the first Ethan and sophie leave happy, but 2. Ethan 2 falls in love with sophie 1 and sophie 2 does not want to stay so 3. She leaves with Ethan 1st the end. 4. Comment about eggs and bacon was a way to let us know that she is sophie 2. Ethan 1 realizes that after comment but accepts it.

    Ethan 2 and sophie 1 are couple in photo and will remain there until there job is done.

    Reply
    • JHS

      I agree that it was Sophie 2 at the end. Sophie one did not like the smell of bacon. She would not have started making bacon even if she had changed. So it had to be Sophie 2.

      Reply
  35. Whitney

    yay another person thought it was Ethan b and Sophie 1 in the pic, haha thanks Gigi lol but idk I guess it wouldn’t be because the pic was taken before the end. So it’s prob most likely the two B’s. So that squelched that idea. As for the rest yes Taylor I agree you’re prob right I just didn’t think of it that way. I got all conspiracy theroy minded ! Lol!!

    Reply
  36. Gigi

    Whitney, you are so right lol. The b team in the pic makes only sense 🙂 I kinda wanna watch it again to catch everything everyone has said

    Reply
  37. Whitney

    @ Gigi, me too! I plan to tomorrow once I get off work haha! Some things people have said have made me think and realize I’ve casually missed things. I’m like huh? I don’t remember this or that ! Lol

    Reply
  38. Taylor Holmes

    Rosie: “Also did anyone notice the arm, in the photo? Is that the doctor, handling them? So if Ethan-Sophie couldn’t be “fixed” maybe someone has to stay under.”

    That was Ethan zooming in the iPad guest book to see closer. You recapped the various options really well Rosie, and gave us ideas. But you didn’t tell us the theory you liked best! hahah. Cop out! (Not that I can talk. I think I go back and forth from day to day.

    Ethan 2 and sophie 1 are couple in photo and will remain there until there job is done.

    Whitney and Gigi – Ethan 2 and Sophie 1? Quick; question. Is the first couple that goes to the Therapist at the beginning of the movie Ethan1 and Sophie1 or Ethan2 and Sophie2? heheh. If you think that the first couple we meet in the movie is Ethan1 and Sophie1… then I am terribly confused. How could it possibly be? You guys need to walk me through how the guy who got knocked out was Ethan1! Because that’s exactly what you need to do to make sense of it for me. hahah. Or maybe we are just talking about the opposite people and have been saying the same thing all along?

    Gigi & Whitney, would love to hear your thoughts after you watch it again. It is very interesting to watch it closely and keep close track of the characters the second time through.

    Reply
  39. Gary

    This was a blast, and maybe even necessary for me to read through because I always worry I’m over-thinking things far beyond their intended reach. I’m not sure here, but am more convinced than ever there can be beauty and purpose in ambiguity. Like in relationships.
    So thanks to all for much to consider next time I watch, which will be sooner than I had imagined before I started reading Taylor’s review/explainer and the comments/contributions that followed.
    I like thinking of the retreat as a Rod Sterling type inter-dimensional marriage counseling service in which the clients have to resolve, or at least face their personal issues at the expense of the next couple or remain trapped in a prison of a broken relationship and another dimension.
    The logistics and physics of how the doppelgangers pull off their transformations are interesting, but I’ve suspended belief for much more trivial morality tales.

    I also have no settled opinion over whether Ethan A escaped unknowingly with Sophie B, but everything seems to fit that way. Both Ethan B and Sophie A seemed, to me, like the sort of shallower characters that might choose to stay, in love with their ideals, and not evolve for a while.
    And having just suffered the ultimate betrayal, why wouldn’t a scorned Sophie B, who has shown in the kitchen she is capable of being more than a little harsh, deceive Ethan A to make her escape while Sophie A dawdled over her new thang?
    If they escaped, mismatched, wouldn’t that break the “rules” and force a shut-down of the “marriage counseling”program?

    Reply
  40. Melissa

    I believe that Ethan A left with Sophie B (without realizing it) solely based off the expressions on both Sophie’s faces in that last scene. After Ethan A says we need to leave, he looks at the Sophie on the right who immediately looks down in sadness and possibily shame. (She might have been looking at Ethan B on the ground…but her expression seemed more embarrassed as if he was looking down to hide from Ethan A). Then he looks over at the Sophie on the left who stares back at him, she then looks over at the other Sophie and finds her staring down, and looks back at Ethan A and smiles as if expressing that she’s the one he should be taking home. It seemed to me that the Sophie on the left was surprised by the Sophie on the right’s disinterest in leaving. Her expression seemed shocked that Sophie A was willing to be trapped in the cottage rather than live freely with her husband. Even though Sophie B initially wanted to find a way to stay with Ethan B forever, once he admitted he was in love with Sophie A, she was done. Now she just wanted an out and couldn’t have been happier to find that Sophie A was giving her an escape. I don’t believe that Ethan A knew he was taking Sophie B until she slipped up by offering to make the bacon for breakfast (something Sophie A would never do). Once he realized he took the wrong Sophie, he accepted his choice as well as the overall shock that Sophie A left him for Ethan B.

    Reply
  41. Gary

    Melissa, that’s how I saw the ending, also, and mostly for the same reasons, but I can only imagine the pleasure it must be for the authors, et al to have so many obviously smart people grappling with it. I’m going to keep an open mind when I watch it again tomorrow.

    Reply
  42. Taylor Holmes

    Gah. One at a time pepole! One at a TIME! Sometimes you guys get out of control and I do a simple thing like, oh I don’t know, sleep, and then when I come back you guys are 12 comments deep. hahaha.

    Gary loved this thought comment of yours: “If they escaped, mismatched, wouldn’t that break the “rules” and force a shut-down of the “marriage counseling”program?

    I love the thought of yours that Ethan might have attempted to choose his wife (A) and inadvertently walked off with B. And yes, yes I would think that would shut the whole Rod Sterling Counseling Center down. It’d make The Counselor pack up and leave, etc etc. So maybe Ethan is at home with B, thinking she’s A, and just assuming that the bacon comment is apart of her growing and learning to be more like B, when in fact she IS B! Brilliant. Scary. But brilliant.

    And Melissa, I’ll yield to the women amongst us for the facial expression analysis. I’ll just trust you here. hahah. And your spin on the faces is perfect. I have always assumed that it was SophieB who stared at the ground, for the simple reason that she was staring at EthanB, as if she was ashamed of her husband. But that doesn’t make any sense really. What if she had been connected with EthanB, and EthanA had been locked in the Guesthouse. So this is the first moment really they’ve had a second. And in that moment its SophieB that is ashamed and confused and left with the loser. So she is embarrassed and is left staring at the ground.

    Let’s play this out for a moment the other way around… SophieB is on the left. And she wants to stay with her husband. She wouldn’t have stared at the ground. She would have maybe for a second, but then she would have looked up and whispered thank you. Right? She would have acknowledged to EthanA that their little alliance had pulled off what she wanted. There would need to be a tip of the hat, or something. Right? Thanks A, for getting my lame-ass B husband back for me! Right? But we get nothing. She just stares. Brilliant Melissa.

    I’m serious – I need to reach out to Mark Duplass and see if he’ll answer some of our questions. No idea how to do such a thing. But I should compile a list of the questions about the script we’d like him to answer. (Yes, I know he didn’t write the treatment, but as it was his idea, I would assume he’d be the one to answer.) Heck, I’ll talk to Justin Lader who wrote the treatment they based the movie on. Here’s a fairly interesting interview with Lader: http://scriptshadow.net/screenwriter-interview-justin-lader-the-one-i-love/

    Must find they’re contact information! Anyone have a pro-IMDB account?!? They have Duplass and Lader’s agent contact information out there! hahaha. (By the way, I’m not kidding here!) Maybe we should assemble a few sane questions here and see what we can come up with. And by sane, I don’t want us to come off as those weird internet-cellar-dwellers (which we are, but I don’t want to APPEAR like we are those people! hahaha) with questions about blocking mind control signals from the government with tin-foil hats! hhaha.

    I think my main question to either of them would be a direct question: Did the couples leave with their counterparts at the end? And if they think that is too much, my follow up question would be, What is the overriding message of the movie with regard to love? Is it an optimistic ending? Pessimistic? Maybe that would be the clever way to our answer. Just thinking out loud.

    Reply
  43. Gary

    Taylor, this film, even though the dialog was improvised, was tightly executed. I will be amazed that, if you do get answers from the writers or directors, that we are to be left with anything but the ambiguity Mark Duplass perfectly conveyed in his final scene as Ethan A.
    I’m not a huge fan of sequels, but if you do get an interview, tell them I’d drive the 160 mile round trip to my nearest big city to watch it!

    Reply
  44. will

    Wow, I can’t believe this movie got such a debate. Surely, you can choose any interpretation you want, but that last scene was clearly shot like any other sci-fi plot twist. SophieB offers bacon for breakfast, not SophieA. The reason I state that is because if this were really a movie about a couple going into therapy to resolve their issues, it would be a two-way street. Not only would Sophie “change” and try to give his husband the kind of breakfast he wanted, but he should be the kind of husband Sophie wanted as well. And clearly the Ethan in the final scene was the same old original EthanA that wouldn’t workout at all, etc. So I stick with the “sci-fi” interpretation, and there were really fake couples in there, and SophieA got stuck there with EthanB, while EthanA escaped with SophieB. One last scene I’ll say is that what I don’t think makes sense is: if the fake couples were “designed” to be the “idealized” versions of the originals, then how come EthanA is not in the least attracted to SophieB? Because SophieA fell for EthanB in a second. That’s the only part of the movie that I think “fails”.

    Reply
  45. Taylor Holmes

    Hey Will,
    I buy that theory. But the one thing I disagree with is the fact that EthanA was the one trying to make amends after his affair from day one. He was doing everything he could to make it up to SophieA. So, in that regard I disagree. EthanA wants very badly to change, and to get it right. SophieA seems like the one that is disinterested to me.

    I don’t think makes sense is: if the fake couples were “designed” to be the “idealized” versions of the originals, then how come EthanA is not in the least attracted to SophieB? Because SophieA fell for EthanB in a second. That’s the only part of the movie that I think “fails”.

    No no no. I don’t agree. The B’s are not designed to be idealized versions. They are simply an youthful-older version of themselves. The movie is clear on this point. It’s just themselves without all the emotional baggage of life that the A’s have accumulated. They aren’t designed to be seductive or a temptation. They are just the original selves they used to be.

    And in my opinion, the reason EthanA wasn’t falling for SophieB’s crap was because he was in love with his wife. He wanted to restore their marriage and move on. He was on target. Which makes the ending of EthanA and SophieB together so disjointed. Why would he suddenly do that at the last minute. But if SophieA was the one staring at the EthanB I can totally see him doing that. My 2 cents.

    Reply
  46. DCH

    Thanks y’all for posting and filling my need to analyze and process this movie. Before I pick this movie apart, I want to first say that I loved it and I’m totally psyched to keep thinking about it. You’ve touched on a lot of my questions but here are the two that still trip me up.

    1) If we are going with an alien, robot, or other tangible (non-spirit or metaphysical) explanation, how do we explain the disappearances of these tangible beings. For instance (when Ethan A interrupts Sophie and Ethan B making out, or when Ethan A walks in to “have an affair” with Sophie A )? Where do the beings go when the A couple is there together or where do the B couple spouses go when the their double walk in?

    2) I still don’t really get the logic of each B couple breaking up each A couple so that they can escape. First, the “falling in love” thing is supposed to be an anomaly but if that’s not supposed to happen what other way could a cooler/better/younger double of your partner work to break you up? And second, how does breaking up a couple make them more likely to stay stuck in the guest house? It seems like making them have a great time would make them want to stay–not pitting them against each other. Maybe this lends credence to the idea that you would need to leave together, and if they are at odds with each other they won’t do that?

    3) What did it mean when the two Ethans are talking outside and Ethan B says something like (sorry have to paraphrase because I don’t still have the movie to refer to) “Don’t make this about competing with me, because you can’t win.”? And the other says “what?” and Ethan B says: “Haven’t you figured it out?” This suggests that Ethan B is somehow rigged to be not just the same person without the baggage but actually a better version.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  47. Karen

    Thanks for the analysis everyone! One question I still have – when Ethan-A gets the voice mail messages on his phone, and one of them tells him what street he grew up on, what is that all about? I had thought Ethan-B had gotten his phone and made calls to learn more about him for when he escapes. Is the role of this bit just foreshadowing that Ethan-B wants to escape?

    Reply
  48. Little Darling

    Thank you, Taylor, for not only writing a fantastic review and summary, but for continuously keeping up the conversation!

    I had this movie in my playlist for some time, but for some reason I kept passing it by, believing it was going to be a heavy movie with lots of dialog about the failing of a marriage. I didn’t know anything about it, thankfully, so when I sat and watched today I was completely, completely blown away!! I actually watched it two times back to back, so was my intrigue!

    Now, my regurgitation of what I think I just saw (twice).

    I think he wound up with Sophie B. I say this because the reaction he has to her saying it was eggs and bacon was complete shock and you can see him processing that information over his face as he looks to the bed and looks at the door she just walked out of. If he knew he was with Sophie B then he wouldn’t have been surprised. If it was Sophie A who was changing and trying to make it up to him he would have probably come back with some quip like, oh I can have bacon now. Also, she would have said something that at least acknowledged that she was going to make “his favorite” or something. She said it so matter of fact it’s apparent she doesn’t think there is anything odd with it. Especially since in the guest house he chomped down on the somewhat cold bacon and said he liked it. So to Sophie B this would be a completely loving and normal thing for her to make him. His reaction to that shows he didn’t realize until that moment that he took Sophie B. Who willingly went with him.

    That scene where he chooses and they have that moment of looking at him or not looking at him, to me that’s very telling as well. Initially they both look at him, then the right hand Sophie looks down. Left hand Sophie looks imploringly at the right hand Sophie and Almost looks surprised that she isn’t looking up and proclaiming they run now, at which point left hand Sophie takes that as her chance to leave with him.

    When Ethan B said he loved Sophie A to Sophie B at the end, I think Sophie B realized that she already lost him. She looked so hurt and betrayed, I think that after he ran away from them she lost all love, hope and respect for him, which then made it much much easier to leave with Ethan A. But notice how she didn’t jump up right away either and say let’s go…she waited to see what Sophie A was going to do before seizing the moment.

    I think Sophie A was torn on what to do, stalled and then just let Sophie B go with him, because even as they drive away the look on her face is one of disbelief and like she doesn’t really know what to do with the situation. But if that was the case why didn’t she leave with Ethan B when he asked?

    Some other observations:
    -She specifically said only two of them could leave, so I believe any variation of that could be true, so long as two people stayed.
    -The voice in session one he listened to was different, but upon closer inspection it appears as though it’s the male client simply repeating the instructions because he says, okay WE have to hit the key at the same time” and then something about it being an odd assignment.
    -I think the therapist probably moves around once he sends the couples to the retreat. I don’t think it was specific to just them.
    -The voice mail messages he received was probably Ethan B trying to figure out more details about his past in order to continue to get Sophie A to remain unsuspecting.
    -The comment about the not competing with him and hasn’t he figured it out I think is taken at face value. Ethan A has not figured out that there was no competition because Ethan B had already won.
    -the guest house plays a role in the movie. It’s there that they have to visit first. It’s there the doors lock. It’s there that the B versions disappear when the other A is around. It’s designed to fool at first, then to trap at the end. So it’s not beyond a doubt that it’s magical and that is why the smells go away etc. The house is a shapeshifter.
    -We take for granted because he answers her after the realization that it’s Sophie B that it means that he accepts it and will allow her to keep pretending. But for all we know he goes into the kitchen and at least tells her that he knows who she is.
    -I thought the Ethan in the last scene was different than the Ethan we saw in the beginning of be movie. He was playful and lighthearted and clearly adored his wife. He obviously changed profoundly thinking she was going to leave him, and was making the changes to make her happier. He was happy too, very much so, and I think that is also part of the realization for him, that it wasn’t his Sophie who lovingly left with him but it was she who was making him happy now and it was she who was happy with him. The ending couple, regardless of who she was, was happy. That is all they both wanted.

    Brilliant film, awesome comments, thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts and for keeping the dialog open!!

    Reply
  49. Taylor

    Hey there Darling, Karen & DCH,
    I really am trying to stay out of the middle of this discussion and give it a little extra line. Love to see these things take on a life of their own. Regardless!

    To Darling, well crap. Think about it much? And I thought I was outta control. Well played. Your general premise, I buy it. The one detail that rings extraordinarily true to me is the fact that Sophie B looks up at Sophie A, almost for permission, or a lack of a fight anyway. Or maybe more of a, well, he’s your husband, what are you going to do? That clicks for me. Perfect sense. And normally I’m a sucker for a happy ending (Memento – I have done it, anyone’s?!) this one still keeps from bottoming out because they are happy. Which is normally a cope out answer, except that, ETHAN-A WAS TRYING! The whole movie long he tried to sort things with A. She was gone the moment she had sex with B. Right? Chat was her affair. Che tip toe around it in the beginning of the film. They don’t call a spade a spade because we don’t understand. But that is exactly what it is. She bailed, and she never came back. Phew. Glad I could get that out.

    Also, Karen, I agree with Darling when she says that the voicemail messages weren’t meant for when he left, it was meant to convince Sophie A he was Ethan A. I think Ethan A even hinted at that to Sophie A. This dude is totally playing you! Remember they were quizzing them for a bit, before they had the ménage a quad conversation in the big house? But Ethan B was playing for the long con, beyond the conversation. His goal was to trick her into going with him. To convince her that he was him enough that morally she was going to overlook the little inconsistencies that were left. No? That was my assumption anyway.

    DCH – q1 – fantastic question. My only response there was that Ethan, in physical form was able to out maneuver them once, so who’s to say that they aren’t just quick physical beings? But good point. Spiritual, magical, something definitely has to be considered.

    As for Q2, I assumed that it wasn’t about the breaking up, but about the falling in love. Only the couple in love could leave. And therefore the couple that was adrift ended up locked up in the guest house while the other couple made it out the front gates. No?

    Q3 – I didn’t think that was him being rigged, or it being a setup. More I saw it being Ethan-B as a cocksure SOB. He had then younger attitude with the winning personality and he knew it. Or more to the point he knew Ethan B was washed up comparatively. If that makes sense.

    Alright, great comments everyone. Love this movie.
    Taylor

    Reply
  50. DCH

    All great answers to my questions. Thanks! I particularly like the “has to be two people in love to leave explanation” and the way the last scenes played out explanation. Makes a lot of sense.

    Reply
  51. DCH

    I wish you guys were here to answer my questions in all thought-provoking movies. Taylor, you should take this show on the road. 🙂

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      These kind of over the top pieces are sort of what I’m known for actually. (For good or for worse.). Would always appreciate recommendations of movies to tear apart and analyze. Actually currently working on a post for over 20 big complicated movies and their crazier theories. Some of my biggest posts in this vein would include, Primer, Inception (there are several actually), Upstream Color, Memento, The Prestige, The Signal, Coherence, etc etc. Regardless, glad you got answers. You guys definitely shape my thinking on these movies for sure.

      Reply
  52. DCH

    Ooo. Those sound good. Might I also suggest Enemy with Jake Gyllenhaal and Under the Skin with Scarlett Johansson as good ones to take apart.

    Reply
  53. Little Darling

    Are there more movies you’d recommend that are mind bending like Coherence and Primer?

    Reply
  54. Taylor

    DCH & Darling,
    Just lost a comment I had spent twenty minutes on so I’m going to be brief(er).

    I downloaded enemy yesterday actually! Brilliant call there! Definitely would love to dig in deeper there. So yeah, definitely Scarlette is awesome in skin. Want to see it.

    Darling, nothing is matched by Primer. You’ve seen Upstreme Color though? It’s Carruth’s second movie. Came out a year ago. Killed it at Sundance. Great great movie. Coherence and One I Love we’re both ad-libbed and filmed on zero budget. Very similar in that way, though different in others. Start with my 5 best head jobs post. I think the list was Primer, Tape, Dark City, Spotless Mind, and Memento maybe? We talked about more in the comments. Memento is the closest movie to Primer I know of, although there is no time travel, just Leonard’s incapacitated brain. All of Nolan’s movies are a great start. Just fell in love with the British TV show, Dark Mirror, and I hate TV. Hate it. Those are great little stand alone head job ideas, like the Twilight Zone. Moon! Loved that. 12 Monkeys, great time travel chaos right there. Book? the Shining Girls. But the Prestige is my all time fav.

    Reply
  55. Emoolie

    When I watched the movie, I thought Ethan A and Sophie A ended up together. Little Darling makes a great point about how Sophie looks at the other Sophie before looking at Ethan A at the very end of the movie. Let’s say that Ethan A and Sophie B end up leaving the retreat together. I’m not sure I believe that Ethan A and Sophie B are in love though; they never seemed to like each other much during the movie. Ethan A seems to have picked Sophie B because she returned his gaze at the end and Sophie B might have decided to escape with Ethan A because she realized that Ethan B loved Sophie A. But would Ethan A and Sophie B really be happy together in the end? I don’t personally believe that. I don’t think Ethan A and Sophie B were ever really in love so I don’t see how the two of them could have possible escaped together and been such a loving couple in the last scene.

    Reply
  56. Little Darling

    Emooliee~ the way I believe it to be is that Sophie B grew disillusioned and disappointed with her cheating husband right at the end after he kissed her thinking she was the other Sophie. She went with Ethan A knowing full well that he loved and was committed to a better relationship with Sophie A (who would then be her upon leaving). Ethan A, happy and relieved to finally be out of the happy home funhouse, continued trying to win his Sophie over now that they were out. Sophie B always seemed softer, more pleasing, more willing to bend for her Ethan. When she left it appears as though she threw herself back into loving her spouse and accepted the love that Ethan had to offer. They were both similar in their loyalty to their spouses when both of their spouses wanted something different. I think that’s why they were both a bit disgusted with each other in the house, because neither one of them were truly unhappy and ready to leave their spouses.

    Not even sure if that makes sense!

    Reply
  57. Little Darling

    Taylor~ upstream color, yes, LOVED it- such beautiful cinematography! A bit hard to grasp first time around. Black Mirror ~ LOVE LOVE LOVE. Recommended it to everyone I know, what a mind trip and satire about media, technology and human nature.
    Memento ~saw ages ago, remember being incredulous. Need to see again.
    The Prestige~ on my list but it’s not free anywhere yet. Might have to suck it up and treat myself.
    Moon~ saw that on a few lists, along with another one…another earth? Need to see both.
    12 Monkeys! Need to see again, saw it in the theaters when I was younger. Strictly because of Brad Pitt. I only remember a bit of it.

    You might really like The Returned on Netflix. It’s got French subtitles, and is a tv show, but it is simply stunning to look at, plays like a film noir and touches on so many fascinating elements found in these titles. Trust me, you will be hooked even if you HATE TV.

    I found most of these from the website:
    http://whatthehellshouldiwatchonnetflix.com/
    Hit sci-fi in either TV or movies and see what comes up!!

    Reply
  58. Taylor Holmes

    I should mail you one of my copies of the Prestige. And no, I’m not guessing it will ever be free. Minus a torrent that is.

    The French make something that equates to good TV? What is that about? Recently discovered a German movie called Who Am I, No System Is Safe that I’m literally dying to get my hands on it looks so good. Apparently an American firm has picked up the rights to recreate it in the US. I’m doubting it’ll ever be available in wide release. Also, just got my hands on a copy of a movie called Time Lapse that looks brilliant, total sleeper. Kind of a prestige/primer concept. Haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but looks up your alley. And maybe Predestination? That looks crazy. But not sure which way the crazy goes… checking your site out now…

    Reply
  59. Taylor Holmes

    Holy CRAP!
    So I go to your link – click Sci-Fi, and the very first flick it throws at me? LFO? Holy Mary Moses and Joseph! It looks like a cross between Her (great), Ruby Sparks (greater even), and Upstream Color (greatest)?!? What?! How do I not know about this movie. Gosh. You just ruined my life. All free time is gone. Thanks for that. hahah. I’m so afraid this site of you is going to throw me another fantastic movie to watch with another click I immediately closed it. Seriously. I totally did.

    Who needs sleep anyway?

    Reply
  60. will

    I think if SophieA got out and “changed” so much that she would make eggs and bacon for “her man”, EthanA would have “changed” too and be the man she wanted, one who worked out and wouldn’t eat bacon for breakfast anymore. The therapy wouldn’t be succesful if Ethan got everything he wanted but not her, right? That’s why I think it’s SophieB in the end.

    Reply
  61. Little Darling

    You’re welcome! (; The site is pretty wonderful and it goes for TV shows as well. I went into the abyss during the holidays and it was pretty crazy!

    I saw The Prestige and Moon this past week. Both very excellent films.

    I want to see if I can find Time Lapse now.

    Reply
  62. Max

    So, the first thing I did after watching the movie – which blew me away – was to google every review and explanation I could find. I just wanted to chime in and say this is by far the best and most through discussion – and set of comments! – that I found, and it has really helped. What do you make of the couple at the therapist’s office at the end? Could it be Sophie-B and Ethan-B coming back to see what happened to their old friend? I took it as evidence of the Disney ending, with Couple-A trying to make sense of the story. Also, not much is said about Ethan-B making calls to A’s family. Is Couple-B expected to continue to exist as Couple-A once they get out?

    Anyway, thanks for the excellent discussion!

    ~ Max-A

    Reply
  63. Taylor Holmes

    Hey Max,
    I guess I’ve made my New Year’s resolution for the year already! Which was, be the absolute best at one super-niche thing. Hahah. Jk. Glad we are doing something right over here. It’s been a fun conversation over here. Tons of insights. And tons of ideas. To be completely honest, I can’t really remember the couple at the end. Wait one. Nope. Just watched the end over again. No idea what you are talking about. Maybe I missed what you were saying? Oh! Do you mean Ethan and Sophie? I see. Yeah, I was hit by the sideways shot of the piano, and them standing in the doorway. It was like, an overt reference back to the therapy thing they did with the piano. But outside of that I gotta punt.

    But I will say this. I definitively have an opinion. Generally as each of you would make a comment, I’d be like. Yup. Totally. That could be it. That’s it. A and A. Nope, A and B. Definitely. But I know what happened now. For sure… and there have been several people who have obliquely referred to this, but it didn’t click for me because I didn’t see it for myself.

    So check this it. Ethan-A asks, “So what’s on the menu?” And Sophie (A/B?) says, “I was thinking eggs and bacon.” And then we stare at Ethan as he is like WHAT?! We stared so long, I decided to stopwatch it. It was 46 seconds until he responds with, “I’ll be right there.” He stares down the barrel of the camera, he looks back at the other side of the bed where she had just slept. He looks around like a lost child. I guarantee you its A/B at the end. Has to be. Has to be. Little, I think you mentioned this as well. The delayed response. And his bewilderment. I totally buy it. Speaking of whom, Darling, did you wander over and see my theory on The Prestige after watching it? You’ll have to comment and say what you thought happened. Love to know what your theory is. It’d be intriguing to hear.

    Well Max. Thanks for making the beginning of my short New Year perfect! Hahah.

    Reply
  64. Taylor Holmes

    Hey Will,
    Great comment. But by that logic… then we would have Sophie B with Ethan B! hahah. If Sophie A changed that much, then Ethan A would have changed too? So maybe somehow we have all totally missed it and were dooped somehow?!? hahah. Thanks for commenting. I couldn’t let that one slip.

    Taylor

    Reply
  65. will

    Totally haha. I think that if you remove what looks like the sci-fi element of the movie, you’re left with a weird therapy which leaves the two partners being who the other wanted. But in end we see a woman who’s willing to cook junk food for breakfast to her husband, which makes said husband a man not willing to workout and eat healthier. So either the therapy didn’t work, or it’s about that. If you then consider the actual sci-fi element, then you’ve got EthanA escaping with SophieB, because the characters never changed, that’s why we got two sets. EthanA wanted bacon, SophieB was the only one willing to make it. Either way, this movie is so f’ing amazing we’re still debating the posible interpretations. I love it. Thanks for having this site!!!

    Reply
  66. Dustin

    I just watched this and was checking to see if my conclusion was right… Ethan-A left with Sophie-B. When Ethan-B hit the force field, this is where it all gets given away. Sophie-A was looking down at Ethan-B on the ground because she was hormoned up for him and have been screwing him since the get go. Sophie-B was the one always with the “let it slide and be pleasant” demeanor. She was not interested in getting Ethan-B back cuz she knew he had been screwing Sophie-A the whole time and he was a lost cause. Why chase what doesn’t want to be caught? Her only chance to leave was with Ethan-A and she knew it. The relationship between Sophie-B and Ethan-B is even more messed up than the one between Ethan-A and Sophie-A. There is no chance at all that Sophie-B even wants Ethan-B anymore, no way it could ever work after a weekend of screwing the other one and his violent hormonal desperation to leave with Sophie-A. No Effing way. Sophie-B already knew this. Sophie-A also doesn’t know she’ll be stuck, and she already said she’s not leaving cuz she likes humping Ethan-B anyway. When Ethan-A explains it Sophie-A, she may or may not believe him, but more importantly, she doesn’t care. She just stood there and stared. Sophie-B brushed it off and pushed out the “let it slide and smile” move. I called it the second I saw the pattern. Ethan-A should have known it wasn’t Sophie-A. Maybe he did and he liked it that way since Sophie-A was pretty much a skank anyway… Sophie-A listens to the fake confession from Ethan-B then proceeds to cheat with him… The part where Ethan-B describes Ethan-A sneaking sex with his own actual wife as a betrayal when she thought she was cheating a second time, making the victim into the bad guy… Totally over the top psycho manipulation. No way in hell was Sophie-B getting back with him after watching that sick display. His actual wife, Sophie-B was a total bitch to him. No way would she stand there and smile at him in that moment. They left with the right people, just not the ones they came with… Pretty cool movie. I enjoyed the puzzle, and the actors played human nature and body language brilliantly. The dialogue got very raw and real at a few points, but you could see it in the midst of it… Very good acting, to toe the proper facial expressions, body language and such, all those cues… I was impressed.

    Reply
  67. A

    I guess I’m the only one who thought this movie was actually kind of dumb. It makes no sense for a million reasons. Besides all the other weird shit people have pointed out, I will start with how the hell E&S#2 became exact physical versions of the #1’s. Also what is the motivation of the person running this retreat? And who is paying for the property ? The counsellor? Also why would S#1 have and pack identical gym clothes ( that S#2 later changed into ) , that makes no sense. And did E#2 die when he ran into the force field or whatever the hell that was? Bleeding from your ear is not good …. and he did bleed so that must mean he’s human ? And if he’s human that brings me back to my first point, it’s impossible to physically copy another person. I guess I’m just too realistic for movies like this, it mixed too many possibilities and made no sense. I didn’t hate it, but think the producer should have picked a theme and stuck with it instead of mixing sci-fi, supernatural, human, and I’m sure I’m missing 10 or so more. Oh well, I’m glad some people liked it. I was hoping Don Draper was going to make an appearance and finally bang Peggy Olsen 🙂 now that would have been good.

    Reply
  68. Sofia

    If Ethan B is really dead then whichever Sophie was left in the house will probably be trapped forever because she does not have a partner to help tear the next couple apart.

    Reply
  69. ruth

    Anyone else pick up on the fact that Ethan A found his recordings in the trash on the computer? Why was the computer readily accessible like that? Who put those recordings in the trash when the others were clearly on the desktop?

    Reply
  70. Taylor Holmes

    ooh. Ruth. Good point. Why? If it was the normal process, then we could surmise that the rest of those couples hadn’t come yet and that they had yet to participate. Did anyone check the comparisons of the names in the guest book with the names on the computer desktop? Did any match!? heheh.

    If that isn’t what is happening then I would say that maybe the person creating the files (the counselor?) was deleting them to hide them? Or maybe was just finished with them? Or maybe the director thought, heck, let’s put them in the trash so it shows more interesting intrigue! WHY ARE THEY IN THE TRASH?! hahaha. No idea. Anyone?

    Reply
  71. Kathryn Watt

    I totally agree with Dustin’s interpretation. The biggest clue for me was during the critical moment towards the end when Ethan A has to choose the “right” Sophie. He (and the audience) want him to pick Sophie A but Sophie A doesn’t want to be picked. She is instead looking down at Ethan B who she wants more. Importantly, she thus avoids eye contact with Ethan A. In stark contrast, Sophie B seizes the moment and stares at Ethan A with pleading “pick me!” eyes. Ethan falls for it and picks her. The final scene suggests that Ethan A realises he has picked the wrong Sophie (courtesy of her new-found penchant for bacon), but is going to roll with the new situation anyway.

    Reply
  72. Jared

    The giveaway to what Sophie he takes is this line right here (mentioned above)

    Sophie-A says to Sophie-B, what is about to happen? And she responds with, I have no idea.

    If you watch their positions the entire time, Sophie A is on the left (from our point of view) and she never moves. That also happens to be the same Sophie he chooses. So I agree with the idea that she makes him eggs and bacon because she has learned to be the ideal wife for him. Sure, he cheated on her, but technically, Sophie cheated on Ethan A with Ethan B, so she finally understands how it happened. The bacon was a symbol of reconciliation IMO.

    Also, in regards to which one he chose, it wouldn’t make sense for Sophie B to ask what is going to happen and then have A answer, because Sophie A just found out about the whole “game” in the first place. Therefore, you must attribute the question to Sophie A, and my observation above would come into play. He picks Sophie A based on those points, but with movies like this, the director’s do ambiguous endings so that the viewers can interpret it how they feel is correct. It’s to make you think about it in terms of your own life.

    Reply
  73. Brian

    I think T’s comments beginning on Dec. 18th nails it, basically summing up, in a very articulate and succinct way, what would have taken me pages to attempt in an overly cumbersome way.

    I’m a marriage counselor, and this hits at the heart of why so many marriages fall apart – not the infidelity – rather, the insidious way our drifting, boring, uninteresting and uninterestED self cares more about whether or not our spouse might be interested in “someone” else, rather than trying hard to BE that someone.

    Reply
  74. Jason

    I didn’t read through all of the comments, so someone may have mentioned this …. The song that starts at the end of the movie when she says she’s cooking bacon, and he looks around .. the song is “Dedicated to the one I love” by the moms & papas Starts off with “While I’m far away from you, my baby” etc..etc.. makes me think that is Sophie B

    Reply
  75. RP

    I only read through about half of the comments so I apologize if my point was already brought up.
    If the B couples are meant to break up the A couples and trap them in the guest house, why would the new B couples want to leave together? They just had their relationship ruined by the previous B couples so they wouldnt still be in love and want to live their lives together. I think that it would be more likely that one of the Bs ends up leaving with one of the As and they can spend their lives together. It is never mentioned that it isnt possible for one A and one B to leave together. This makes me believe that the whole retreat is more of a contest between the Bs.
    I believe that Ethan Bs goal was to leave with Sophie A and Sophie Bs goal was to leave with Ethan A. So once Sophie B realizes that she will lose to Ethan B and be stuck in the guest house again she makes a last ditch effort to get Ethan A to leave with her. Since Sophie B and Ethan A didnt form any type of relationship during the retreat her only chance is to trick Ethan A into taking her out with him. She tricks Ethan A into thinking that she still loves Ethan B but she likely hates him due to their relationship being ruined when they were the A couple, or worse yet, Sophie B and Ethan B were never even a couple and when she was an A her A husband left with a B, trapping her with Ethan B. She creates her plan and dresses like Sophie A in the hopes of fooling Ethan A in the end. She knows that there is a chance Ethan A leaves with Sophie A but has better odds at escaping with Ethan A now than she did when Ethan B and Sophie A were falling in love. So i believe that in the end, Sophie Bs plan works and she leaves with Ethan A.

    However, I do have another theory about the movie which is that the B couple were never a real couple and are just put in the guest house to save the A couples relationship. When Sophie A walks into the guest house and Ethan B is there Sophie B is not around. Is Sophie B just hiding somewhere in the house hoping to not be seen, can she actually leave the house to hide until Ethan A walks in, or are the B couple just not real at all and can vanish immediately? With this theory I believe that the B couple plans to get the A couple to leave together the entire time. All of the events of the movie lead up to Ethan A expressing his feelings to Sophie B and getting them to leave together. If Ethan A had tried to leave with Sophie B would Sophie A really have let it happen? Was she that in love with Ethan B that she would have sat on the side of the road with him letting the other two leave together? Ethan As speech to Sophie A clearly had an impact and the chance that Ethan B may have died upon hitting the wall make me feel that Sophie A would not have wanted to stay behind while Sophie B took her place, meaning Sophie A would have to be the one that left the house.

    So there are my two theories. Both of which make it hard to determine which Sophie leaves the house. Although i tend to lean more towards my second theory after writing this all out

    Reply
  76. Taylor Holmes

    Jason,
    No – I don’t think anyone has brought up the song at the end yet… kudos to you. I don’t know that song, but you can be sure I’m going to look up the lyrics asap. Thanks!

    And RP – I love your idea of the contest between the B’s. Hehehe. Just so Gladiator of you. Well played. Your second idea was what I espoused when I first wrote this blog. But then someone, (forgive me for forgetting) pointed out my error. But yes, for me, that makes the most logical sense. This whole Break Them Up business jacks with my head a little. But, I’m going to therapy about it – and hope to head off to a retreat soon to sort it all out in my head. heheh.

    Taylor

    Reply
  77. Brett DelPorto

    I’m still digesting the film and plan to write my own blog. The foregoing comments are very helpful, but I’d like to suggest a couple of angles not touched on. (As far as I know. I’ll admit I haven’t read all of the comments yet.)

    (1) I think it’s possible that the confusion concerning Sophie A and Sophie B at the end is not the only time the characters have traded places or posed as each other. What got me thinking about this were the times when the person we took to be Ethan A (because of the glasses) seemed jaunty and cheerful instead of the sour, mopey Ethan A we see throughout the movie. Could this be Ethan B posing as Ethan A? I also think there were times when Sophie B was posing as Sophie A in order to fool Ethan B. She did this because she wanted to get information from Ethan B about his intentions. How else would she know that Ethan B was falling for Sophie A?

    This, of course, assumes that they weren’t really trapped in the guest house for the first par at of the film. But we only have Sophie B’s word on this and she has a motive to deceive everyone because she wants Ethan B to stay.

    (2) The ending is still a mystery to me, but did anyone notice how Ethan, before he gets out of bed and after Sophie says she’s cooking bacon, takes off his glasses and looks around the room. To me, it seemed like he was trying to decide whether he needed his glasses or whether he could see without them. This could mean that he’s really Ethan B. What’s interesting about this possibility is that he’s checking his eyesight because he, HIMSELF, is unsure whether he’s Ethan A or Ethan B. Here, I’m reminded of the ending of “Solaris,” where the George Clooney character does something, cuts his finger without bleeding, I think, to show that he’s really the alien/faux George Clooney, but he didn’t really know until that moment.

    Reply
  78. brandio

    I absolutely LOVED this film. I love that so much is still up for discussion. No offense to either gender, but does anyone else notice the disparity between what each original partner wants? She wants (and gets with “Other Ethan”) a partner who is passionate, funny, engaged, and genuinely interested in being with her. He wants (and gets with “Other Sophie”) a partner who expects nothing of him and makes him bacon.

    Reply
  79. amanda

    penultimate
    pe·nul·ti·mate
    pəˈnəltəmət/
    adjective
    adjective: penultimate

    last but one in a series of things; second to the last.
    “the penultimate chapter of the book”
    synonyms: next-to-last, second-to-last, second-last
    “the penultimate movie on my top-ten list is an animated feature”

    Reply
  80. Taylor

    thanks Amanda. Yes. Correction well noted. I bet you also correct people for utilizing decimated “incorrectly” as well! Heheh. Heck, at least someone read it. Works for me.

    Taylor

    Reply
  81. John

    I really like T’s interpretation that this whole movie is a metaphor. I can see how that can live alongside an actual explanation. I can also see how it can be either Sophie-A or Sophie-B that went out with Ethan-A. I personally love the ambiguity and that’s what makes this film intriguing once the mystery has been solved of who these B-people are (some other actual humans who were made to look and act like Sophie and Ethan).

    I also really like RP’s first theory that the B’s are competing to see who can leave with their opposite A, stranding the other B for another round at the retreat. Also it paints an interesting scenario with the B couple not being the previous couple, but rather one member of the last couple and one of a previous couple. Also, one of the B’s could conceivably be from the very first couple at the retreat and have been through this process numerous times and always failed to escape.

    What I wanted to contribute to the discussion is a look into the interpretation where Sophie-B left with Ethan-A. Maybe we do not have enough time passing after they leave to properly answer this, but wouldn’t you want to go back to your original appearance and personality once you escaped? Why would Sophie-B continue to impersonate Sophie? Ethan-A obviously wants to be with Sophie (whether he knows its A or B) and wouldn’t Sophie-B want someone to love her for who she is, not for who she is impersonating? There is the possibility that if she reveals herself to Ethan and he likes who she originally was, they may continue in a relationship. We are not given anything about who she was before the transformation so this is entirely speculation, but I just find the absurdity of Sophie-B continuing to live as Sophie after leaving the retreat as a reason to believe that it has to be Sophie-A that left with Ethan-A.

    I realize that I didn’t address every theory that has been purposed in the comments and at this point in the comment trail that would be difficult. I will say that I don’t want to figure out how the B’s were transformed. I like that mystery to the story. I just think that the B’s would go back to who they were once they escape the retreat.

    Reply
  82. lux8x

    John, that’s a good point, but imagine that you have two options:
    1) be trapped forever
    2) escape with another appearance

    I think I would take 2, and so would the B’s.

    Reply
  83. Taylor Holmes

    Hey Lux8x…
    Seriously? You and your wife are trapped. In a prison. With Machete wielding kamikazes. Enter second couple. They are also trapped. The only way for you to leave is to break up their marriage and leave with the other wife…

    You would do it? Seriously?

    At first when I read your comment, I was like… totally. My man Lux, has a point. BAM! Do what you got to do. And then the more I thought about it the more I was like. No. No. No. No. That is just messed up. If I were really in that situation with my spouse, and even if we were going through a hard time? No way. I’d be like, I guess we make the most of it in the guest house. And you know what? You’d always have company because that other couple wouldn’t be going anywhere either. That is, if you could keep it solid with your wife that is. eek. hahah.

    Reply
  84. lux8x

    Hi Taylor,

    What makes you think you are trapped with your wife? 🙂 Remember that at some point some of the couples could have been broken; for all we know, we only have two people (the B’s) resembling another couple (the A’s).

    In other words, it could be me and you trapped in that house, pretending to be Ethan and Sophie. I like you and love your blog, but hey, I would seduce Sophie and get the hell out of there if I could!! 🙂 🙂

    Reply
  85. Taylor Holmes

    Hahahah,
    Classic. Touché. Well played fine sir. I was going to say, along the line the sexes could have really gotten messed up depending… but you are really on to something here. Check this out. Actually, we do know there was at least one gay couple that was there. When the B couple converted to look like them at least one person would become another gender they aren’t. Maybe two. But then it should even back out after … still thinking that one through. Gonna have to map it on a whiteboard!

    All I am saying is that yeah, along the way, sexes could have gotten all kinds of jacked up. And yeah, if that were the case… GAME ON. You are going down Lux. It won’t even be a competition! Hahah.
    Too funny.

    Reply
  86. Taylor Holmes

    Hahaha – totally would take you out, whether you were a girl, a boy, 400 pound monster, doesn’t matter! hahah.

    Also – I finally posted my Interstellar review after thinking about it for months and months. Don’t know if this crew would be into Nolan or not, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be. You can find out out here: http://bit.ly/18OhUOw – love to know your thoughts.

    Take care everyone, and don’t be a stranger!
    Taylor

    Reply
  87. Big B

    I have a few details to add that I think can add to the conversation. I believe that Ethan A does end up leaving with Sophie A (but it’s not that obvious) and here is why:

    Sophie B explains to Ethan A (the morning Ethan A is trapped in the guest house) -she says to him (referring to herself & Ethan B) “the closer we get to moving on, the closer you get to not being able to”. This new “rule” means that the power of balance has shifted from Ethan A and Sophie A to Ethan B and Sophie B (and why they are able to leave the guest house and enter the main house). This is probably the most important rule. Ethan B and Sophie B are able to enter the main house because 2 people are closer to moving on (Sophie A with Ethan B). -However this power dynamic changes once more before the movie ends (I will say more about this later on). While Ethan A is still trapped in the guest house, Sophie B continues to explain to Ethan A “do you remember when you first got here? I was stuck here, you had to come see me, now look! I have to let you out” proof that who they fall in love with effects how the power dynamics shift.

    Why I think Ethan A picks Sophie A: At the end of the film Ethan A pleads his case and love for Sophie A. After Ethan B barges into the room and scuffles with Ethan A he looks to Sophie for a response after calling her name but doesn’t get one; he declares “fuck you guys” and runs out of the house and eventually into the “sci-fi wall”. I believe that because Ethan A declares his passion for Sophie A it effects the power dynamics & inadvertently kicks out Ethan B and creates a force field he cannot break through without someone loving him back -hence Sophie B’s quote: “the closer we get to moving on, the closer you get to not being able to”. As Sophie A’s love is reignited by Ethan A’s speech they are able to move on together and the others are back where they started. The other small piece of evidence is that Sophie A (on left side of screen) does ask Sophie B (on right side of screen) “what happens if he can’t catch him”, Sophie B replies “I have no idea”. A few seconds later it appears they haven’t switched places when Ethan A choose Sophie A (on left of screen).

    The very ending bit:
    If you look closely at the t-shirt Ethan A is wearing when they wake up together in bed it is the EXACT same t-shirt Ethan B was wearing when he was seducing Sophie A (with his corny Chippendales routine). When Sophie A says she will make him eggs and bacon it’s clearly a reference to Sophie Bs character. So in the end they both keep a memento, if-you-will of Ethan B and Sophie B -poetically giving the other something they originally wanted/needed all along.

    Let me know what you think!

    Reply
  88. taylor

    Big B,
    I was with you til the final para. Basically your argument was that Ethan’s declaration for Sophie A shifted the power dynamic at the retreat and allowed them the ability to move at will. And thus, the momentum was on their side and we then can surmise that the A’s left together. Got it.

    Nope. Then you mentioned something about Ethan B’s t-shirt I hadn’t noticed before. So Ethan A is wearing B’s t-shirt?!? Well that can’t be B’s t-shirt exclusively, I didn’t see them pack, did they? He had to have it as well? Regardless, on the face of it that says to me it’s Ethan B in the bed more than anything else!! Hahahah. But that can’t be, so what can it mean? That A is attempting to be more like his carefree self? I’m going to have to re watch that bit. That is a great detail I hadn’t noticed before.

    Thinking thinking, great comment B

    Reply
  89. Taylor Holmes

    Oh.
    My.
    Good.
    Lord.
    In.
    Heaven…

    Have you guys seen this talk that Duplass did at SXSW this year? Absolutely un-flipping-beleivable. Seriously made me want to take a complete mulligan on my life, give up the interwebs as my career and take up film making. Just so incredibly inspiring. It was basically THE Ted Talk for movie makers. Totally should check it out… probably will do a post about it at some point.

    http://bit.ly/1aPALK3

    Reply
  90. Ryan

    Guests #6 – “We never want to leave. We love it here so much.”

    This is key. Sophie A and Ethan B love each other and never want to leave while all the previous couples leave positive comments that they fell in love. Ethan/Sophie’s comments suggest that they stay there forever. Sophie B was heartbroken that Ethan B wanted to leave with Sophie A, so she threw on that smile she gave all movie and Ethan A picked the fake wife.

    Ethan B and Sophie A are madly in love and stuck in the guest house or retreat forever. Sophie Aeven said she never wanted to leave. Sophie B was heartbroken and left with real Ethan.
    I guess real Ethan figures it out with the bacon comment and just says F*ck it, I’m happy with fake Sophie

    Reply
  91. Lee

    I have only read through half of these comments because there are so many. I just watched this movie tonight and am fascinated by the possibilities. Through watching the movie and reading some of the theories I have concocted my own:
    Sophie-B states that only two people can leave, and that the Bs’ goal was to make the As fall out of love, right? (Something along the lines of “he wasn’t supposed to fall in love with her, she was supposed to fall OUT of love with you, that’s how we become you”). Well Ethan-A doesn’t fall out of love with Sophie-A, but Sophie-A DOES fall out of love with Ethan-A. Maybe this means that Sophie-A is not entitled to leave while Ethan-A is technically allowed to leave since the Bs didn’t accomplish their goal with him? She says two people can leave, but it’s never stated if there was a limit on which permutations are acceptable, which would explain why Ethan-B couldn’t leave solo, but Sophie-B might be able to leave with Ethan-A. Furthermore her saying only two can leave and forming a secret alliance with Ethan-A is foreshadowing on the part of the writer/director that they wind up leaving together.

    I therefore believe that he *intends* to choose Sophie-A, but Sophie-B tricks him because moments earlier inside the house when the Bs are alone Sophie-B tricks Ethan-B into confirming he is in love with Sophie-A, that’s when she gives up hope that they can/should stay together and becomes determined to leave. Ethan-A believes the Sophie smiling at him is his Sophie because when the Ethans wrestled in the bedroom she seemed to choose him, though I posit that this is purely out of hesitation, and her mind isn’t necessarily made up, and that when she saw Ethan-B get physically hurt it triggered something and she realized she cared about him more.

    Another reason I think he meant to pick Sophie-A is that when she says she’s going to make him bacon he appears to have a stunned “oh shit what have I done!” moment where he doesn’t know what to do. He then gathers his wits and says something along the lines of “I’m on my way”, which seems to suggest that though this wasn’t his intent, he rather quickly resigned himself to this new reality like “oh well, what’re you gonna do, this isn’t so bad *shrug*”, which I can’t decide whether that’s darker than if he had picked Sophie-B intentionally or not… o.O

    Such a good movie.

    Reply
  92. ladygreenfreak

    Love that there are so many discussions about this! Saw the film last night, really enjoyed it and spent most of the evening thinking about the inner workings. I was actually a little disappointed the film didn’t end with a more metaphorical twist, that they were in another dimension and it was an alternative reality of themselves when they were happier\younger\in a honeymoon phase. But I liked the darkness of the alternate ending. One thing I do think, is that the B couple upon leaving would return to their former selves. My feeling is that all the technical stuff in the coop helped to create ‘holograms’ that made the B couple look like the A couple. And upon leaving, this would be broken. I also believe that because when Ethan A tried to record inside the guesthouse, all he got was technical interference, suggesting there was something in the air that interfered. But hey, that’s a theory.

    What I didn’t get was the fact that the B couple were able to go to the main house and meet with the A couple. Until then it seemed like they could only be together as alternate couples, Sophie A with Ethan B and Ethan A with Sophie B in the guesthouse. How they managed to break out I can’t understand, because it wasn’t the first time the A couple had been in the house together (for example when Ethan A tricked Sophie A into sleeping together by in the guesthouse). And until then, Ethan A couldn’t meet Ethan B and same with the Sophies. What changed? And why couldn’t the B and A couples leave the guesthouse together? Since they could at the end (Sophie B helped Ethan A out of the guesthouse)

    Crazy thoughts! Loved the film.

    Reply
  93. ACandle BurningBrightly

    Did anyone else notice in the second to last scene that when the two Sophie’s stood side by side, one was taller than the other? You can even see this in the picture posted above on the blog. When the two Sophie’s come running out of the house, the Sophie on the left asks the Sophie on the right what’s going to happen. The Sophie on the right then responds I don’t know and calls after Ethan. When they finally meet up to look down at Ethan B, it appears that the taller Sophie, Sophie A based on the earlier question of what is going to happen if he tries to escape, is on the left. Because obviously she would be concerned about Ethan B trying to escape and leave her since she wanted to stay with him seemingly up until that point. Based on this observation alone, I think that Ethan left with Sophie A.

    Reply
  94. ACandle BurningBrightly

    But then I had another thought based on an earlier comment about why Sophie A would have two of the same outfits. Did Sophie B know this, and devise a plan to escape? Did both Sophie’s devise this plan together? Based on Sophie B calling out Sophie A in the kitchen, why would you WILLINGLY offer an identical outfit of yours to your enemy? I don’t think Sophie A would be that naive especially based on how she felt about Ethan B. I think that they realized their plan failed after Ethan B said screw it and tried to make a run for it by himself. Sophie A felt betrayed by Ethan B so she left with her real husband Ethan A. I think the plan was to use Sophie A and Ethan A (by telling him about the house) to trick Ethan B so that Sophie B could finally get confirmation that her husband loved another woman. This is why Sophie A willingly gave her an identical outfit. This would distract Ethan B and buy Sophie B some time to find out the truth, which Sophie A never really cared about. Sophie B used both Ethan A and Sophie A as distractions in her plan. Ethan A in the bathroom was Sophie Bs distraction. Sophie A was in on it because it she was confident in Ethan Bs feelings towards her and didn’t care. She changed her mind though, when Ethan B abandoned her and tried to make a run for it on his own. Which is why she left with Ethan A.

    Reply
  95. KVL7

    I am so impressed that this conversation has been going on for months.

    I am with Rosie’s interpretation — I think it is a huge metaphor. I think the main house represents the actual relationship, and the guest house contains the fantasies that they each created to deal with their struggles in the aftermath of Ethan’s cheating. In the guesthouse, Sophie gets to hang out with a version of her husband that is involved, unburdened, and deeply in love with her. Similarly, Ethan gets to hang out with a Sophie that does not ask questions or confront him with the hurt that he has caused her. But Ethan is not happy about hanging out with this pleasant version of Sophie, because he knows it’s not the real her. Ethan wants the real Sophie, hurt and all. But Sophie prefers the fantasy, chooses it, and retreats into it.

    It is the moment when Ethan penetrates Sophie’s fantasy by insisting to be let into the guesthouse while she is with Ethan B, or rather, the moment she lets him in, that the fantasy and the reality merge. The “B” versions of them are now in the main house, a real issue in the actual relationship, ready to have a conversation about it all. In the kitchen, Sophie is confronted by the part of her that knows that, in a sense, she is cheating on her husband now too. At the table, Ethan in confronted with the part of himself that continues acting behind Sophie’s back out of insecurity. It’s all out there in the open. Very ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?’ indeed…

    The whole counsellor, tape, picture, force field thing… I think those are just added extras to makes us confused. But I think the meat of the movie is the struggle to integrate the actual relationship with what they each wish the relationship was. The ending just signals to me that they both got what they wanted (Ethan is now funnier, unburdened, and affectionate; and Sophie makes him some bacon). He second-guesses whether Sophie is being real, and decides to let it go. We all cater to each others fantasies once in a while.

    I love how this movie inspired so much debate!

    Reply
  96. Jon

    Here is one possibility about which Sophie he chose at the end. When Ethan-B is running for the force field, the Sophie on the left asks–“What will happen?” and the one on the right says “I don’t know.” This implies that Sophie-Left is Sophie-A (asking the person for info who has been around longer).

    Now, when Ethan-A makes his choice, he chooses Sophie-Left. Unless the two Sophies cross paths on their way to the downed Ethan-B, it must be.

    Ironically, this makes the bacon comment at the end a bit ambiguous.

    Reply
  97. Eleaus Hrangkhawl

    Wow. Just amazing. Amazing work Sir, Mr Taylor Holmes & all the people sharing their views & all possible & weird possibilites regarding the movie.

    I have read everything scratch to scratch from top to bottom & i can’t be more intriuged. Well i believe everyone who shared something here is right in their own way & thats the very beauty of this movie. 2+2 equals 4, so does 20÷5, 3+1, 7-3, 1.6*2.5, etc etc & hell lot of other possibilities.

    At 1st go even i, like many viewers thought that it was sophie2 ending up with ethan1. And also many theories, like sophie2 looking at sophie1 who chooses not to go with her husband. Well the theory fits & i am not just surprised with the no of all possible explanations & how each of them is so right. I even screenshot many earlier comments & i would love more awesum theories.

    But i believe more on the positive, hehe, so in my version, the ethan & sophie at beginning of the movie end up together. In the last part, they both seem to mockingly say loving things to each other & they indeed are in love & ethan asks her to do more (mayb surprise him more). The bacon part which seems to be the turning point & where we all believe that she isn’t sophie1, may indeed be looked through another perspective. My bet is that she surprised not only ethan but even all of us. Thats why ethan himself took so much time to recover. hahaha (just thoughts)

    But really loved the movie, mostly the thing about ethan holding on to his wife no matter what & even she wanted that (she confessed that to the therapist). Just like this complicated & messy movie, sometimes even our relationships can go damn complicated & crazy, but theres always a way out. 🙂 🙂 #great_movie

    Reply
  98. Brian

    I just wanted to know who left the house, but I think I’ll never know for sure.

    There seems to be less debate over which Ethan left, but I don’t even know that. Everything I saw points to Ethan-A leaving the house at the end. In the bathroom he was wearing the glasses and the other Ethan wasn’t. The conversation in the bathroom and the one downstairs seem to confirm this too. And in every scene after Ethan and Sophie drive away from the house Ethan always has on the glasses. And if the doctor changes office for each client, only Ethan-A would know his most recent address. BUT then why in the last scene at the guesthouse, was that Ethan wearing glasses. And Ethan-A would have been the only Ethan who knew about the bacon. So it seems like they are both Ethan-A.

    I was thinking that Sophie-A left at the end, especially since that Sophie would not have made bacon at the guesthouse in the last scene. And I don’t think that she was just making them to be nice. If that was the case I think she would have said it in a more telling way (playful, sarcastic, emphasized). And Ethan’s reaction to the bacon line wasn’t like…wow, my wife is being nice. It was like who am I living with. He even looked back at the bed in disbelief.

    Anyway, I guess it was intentionally presented this way.

    Reply
  99. Joe

    I read almost every part of this site and I watched some of parts of the movie over again. Although I caught the scene with Ethan A wearing the Ethan B tshirt I was happy to find someone else noticed it. I also would like to mention a few things: I did not find an Arm in the Ipad picture of Sophie and Ethan, that was Ethan A finger on the Ipad. I felt the the B versions were using somewhat horrible manipulation on the A versions and that scared me a little which built up the suspense for me. I normally feel a little guilty about reading these types of reviews and explanations because I like to believe that I can relate to watching and enjoying a movie (or a magic trick) without getting and explanation. I especially relate to the following scenes when both A and B couples are sitting down for dinner, the lines from Ethan B were: “Aberrations happen, you can drive yourself nuts trying to derive meaning from things which have no meaning to begin with.” and “Its a miracle. Magic happened, that previously dark room is now illuminated with possibilities he had never seen before and what does he do? does he ruin it by questioning how or why? No he enjoys it.”

    Reply
  100. Bebe

    Great analysis and comments!

    One angle to add: Ethan B was never in love with Sophie A, not even at the end.

    He felt trapped in the guesthouse, and trapped with his real wife Sophie B, so he did what he had to do (seduce Sophie A, be a perfect version of Ethan A) to get Sophie A to fall in love with him so he could escape.

    At the end, right before he makes a run for it after thinking Sophie A is choosing Ethan A, he very clearly shouts “Fuck you all!!” He has never cared for Sophie A – she is a pawn. And he is desperate.

    Sophie B and Ethan A escaped, and they are the only two with a happy ending. Sophie A will soon discover Ethan B is a liar (ironically, just like her cheating husband) when the next couple comes to the retreat and he seduces the next vulnerable woman.

    Just my two cents! Great blog 🙂

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey there Bebe-
      Brilliantly played. Of course he doesn’t love her. Seriously great insight. I don’t know why that wasn’t obvious before, EthanB was totally using SophieA for his own ends. He wanted out and he proved to everyone just how far he’d go to do it. Including trying to run straight out the front gate on his own. “What’s going to happen?” “No idea whatsoever… This is a new one even for me”

      Well played Bebe!
      Taylor

      Reply
  101. Gromm

    Some people just can’t wrap their minds around what art is and feel compelled to view the film’s universe as consistent in itself, which it very likely is not in the case of this film.

    The ending of this film is an excellent example, where it is actually crystal clear that “Ethan A” (the original) left with “Sophie A”, not with “Sophie B” as many erroneously assume.

    Anything else wouldn’t make sense from a storytelling point of view anyway because it would turn the excellent allegory of identity into a downright silly sci-fi premise, but it’s actually clearcut because when the men run out of the house and the women follow them, the Sophie on the left side of the screen (the one Ethan A later leaves with) asks the other Sophie what happens if Ethan B manages to leave, to which Sophie-on-the-right says that she doesn’t know.

    So this clearly marks Sophie-on-the-left as “Sophie A” and Sophie-on-the-right (who later stays) as “Sophie B”.

    The moment at the very end, when Sophie offers to cook Ethan bacon is just the denouement of the very premise of the film, a weekend retreat from which the couple is supposed to return as “new” (i.e. changed, different) people. So that’s why they introduced that little bit of (pseudo-)ambiguity at the end, it was to throw off the audience as much as the characters as to who they really are, or whether they are still the same as before (i.e. before the weekend retreat resp. before watching the film).

    Reply
  102. Jon

    Who is the final Sophie – is it S1 or S2?

    The movie is really quite clear except for the final bacon scene which is clearly here to put doubt on who she is. A cheap shot by the director, but a clever cheap shot.

    To figure out who “escaped”, I think we need to look in to who these two girls really are, and what drives them through the whole movie.

    The problem is though that we don’t really know S2 and what drives her. What was her ambition, her game and her goal?

    She is in character through most of the movie and the little we see of her true personality seems quite bitchy and superficial. Even E2 did not dig her anymore. She seemed hell bent on destroying what was brewing between E2 and S1, and E1 and afterlife with him was not very much on her agenda, if at all.

    She never really flirted or otherwise tried and lure E1 into her web. If anything, she was the reason the charade went wrong.

    So if we forget the ending and only see who S1 and S2 really are, then who would we guess would escape and live happily ever after with E1 in the end?

    S1 wanted bliss and love and to rekindle what they once had, and she did love E – despite his infidelity and their relational problems. Indeed she fell hard for E2, but not who E2 actually was. She fell for a dream of who E1 could be. This is important to note if we want to understand what drove S1.

    As the culmination gets nearer, we all see a bit more of who E2 and S2 are. And once E2 says “fuck you all” and runs away from both his ladies, and after E1 delivered his heartfelt and breakthrough speech, to me it seem clear that the movie tells us how S1 got what she ultimately hoped for from the “therapy”. She got her E1 back at that very moment and she (and we) realized that E2 was a fake dick.

    So what did S1 want?
    …. She wanted E… not a fake E, but the real E like he once was. In the end of the movie this is what she got. And E2 had ironically become the fake and the untrustworthy…. he had become the one she was originally escaping from (and I think this is the brilliancy of the movie).

    So what did S2 want?
    ….. Well, the movie is not very clear on this except she seemed hell-bent on E2 despite all his crap. And S2 is the only one who knows who and what E2 really is.

    I am sure they all wanted to escape, but I am also sure S2 was not dreaming to live with E1 at all. Nothing in the movie showed us any interest or affection towards him.

    … Okay, now let’s add the bacon ending… and this obviously confuses everything. Who is this loving S we experience in the epilogue?

    IMO this movie ONLY has ONE loving S and that was S1. A better ending to manifest that the “wrong S” had escaped would be to let her go down for breakfast and he would just hear the front door slamming….

    So the way I see it is: The bacon scene tells us that S1 didn’t want to change him anymore and that she accepted who he was or rather who he had become. They were now in sync, like a piano (a metaphor also by the movie for this reason, to tell that out of tune can become in tune again).

    Also, in the final sweet scene he is complimenting a past experience with S1, why would S2 at all be flirted by this story as it was not about her at all…
    … she was no longer needed to act.
    … she was no longer required to be fake.
    … she could be who she actually was.
    … and yet she completely “acted” like S1 for no good reason – other than of course if she in fact was S1.

    Nothing in this movie tells me that S2 was hoping to take over the life of S1. And so, when the movie perhaps shows me this, I conclude she didn’t.

    PS : Someone else spotted another hint in the final bacon scene: E1 is now wearing the t-shirt E2 was wearing when S1 fell hard for him earlier. This T-shirt represents how E1 now is also changed – parallel to how the bacon thing shows us S1 had. Simply put, the T-shirt is the filmmakers way of subtly showing us that he too had changed.

    PS 2: I have only ONE problem with my explanation. And that is the facial expression of Ethan when he hears the bacon thing. He does not seem loved, he seem bewildered. But of course he had not read blog yet … 🙂

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Jon,
      Sweet break down. But you really do give S2 all kinds of crap she doesn’t deserve here! Hahaha. If anyone should be getting dumped on its E2. I actually thought S2 was the one that busted this movie wide open for us and helped us understand the system and the ends and outs of what’s going on here. But ultimately, this was your killer end all be all sentence:

      “So the way I see it is: The bacon scene tells us that S1 didn’t want to change him anymore and that she accepted who he was or rather who he had become. They were now in sync, like a piano (a metaphor also by the movie for this reason, to tell that out of tune can become in tune again).”

      So, ultimately, you are a romantic. And the get away did exactly what it should have, which was to make S1 and E1 reevaluate their lives. Right? To not be so inflexible. To grow and to learn from their past mistakes. No? Which makes sense. Never mind that its poppycock. hahahah. Sorry, I’m so kidding.

      Reply
      • Jon

        I suppose I am. But too are the moviemakers. Christ sake they titled it, “The One I love” and the poster shows E2/S2 as mere reflections. The only love I experience in the movie is E1 and S1, imperfect for sure, but still love. Whatever was between E2 and S2 is ambiguous and seem one-sided if anything, plus I see no evidence of S2′ potential love to E1 – so when the movie shows me such a loving Sophie in the final scene, the romantic in me as well as the rationalist says… dang, they made it.

      • Jon

        PS and for the record 🙂 The ones I respect the most are indeed S2 and E1… not that that makes them an item, but I dig em more than the others… where naturally E2 is at the bottom.

  103. Anna

    I’d like to start off by saying how interesting this blog is. It’s everything I’ve been looking for. Its amazing how long this conversation has been going on.
    I’ve been reading all the responses for the past 3 hours or so, even missed a class.

    I learnt of many possibilities although I’m not very fond of the robot theory.

    Someone mentioned this earlier and it has not crossed my mind before. Ethan 2 and Sophie 2 may not even be a couple. Somewhere among the other 5 couples, there could have been a mix up and they could have ran off with the one they didn’t come with. So the intention of Ethan and Sophie 2 may not be to leave together.
    In my opinion, Sophie 2 is an evil genius. She was mostly in the sidelines and knew exactly when to strike to get what she wants and that is impressive. She was manipulative without us suspecting. Unlike Ethan 2 who gave up at the end and ran towards the force field.

    I still don’t get why Sophie 1 had two identical workout clothes. Do Ethan and Sophie 2 somehow get E,S 1 clothes? Wasn’t there a part in the movie where Ethan 1 realizes that some of his clothes are missing? Or not? It’s been a while since I’ve watched that movie.

    I made my friend watch this movie and she strongly believes that Ethan 1 left with Sophie 2 but I feel like its one of those movies where the ending is up to the audience to decide. My question is how many of you think he left with Sophie 1 and why?

    Lastly, I like to think of the retreat as a Hunger Games arena. The therapist is the game maker. Maybe Ethan 1 could have left to buy groceries and returned because that would be weird for a couple to find out they were trapped in here so soon in the movie. Maybe the force field was put up when Ethan 1 started running.

    I hope the discussion is still going on and I’m not too late cause I’m dying to talk about the movie.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      I would like us all to STOP for a moment and to REFLECT on the wise words of Anna who said… AND I QUOTE:

      “I’d like to start off by saying how interesting this blog is.

      I’m sorry, I just had to jump in here and ask if you caught what she did there? How she commented on how ‘interesting’ this blog is? Just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss that part. It’s a good bit, and I didn’t want it to just fly right by you all. Sorry Anna, I’ll let you continue…

      “it’s everything I’ve been looking for.”

      Cough, sputter, cough… Wait, WHAT?!? She just said, it’s, (please refer to the previous sentence if you are in the least bit confused about what she is talking about (the blog… THIS blog, thank you very much)) EVERYTHING SHE’S BEEN LOOKING FOR?!?!? Hahaha. I can now officially die with a stupid grin on my face. And the compliments just keep coming too! Hahah.

      But I digress. Yeah, this post has been a fun one to discuss. Lots of fun details and trivia that has come out in the comments that I missed (I know?!? Who would have thought mr. Bloviatior could possibly miss anything?!) but it’s been a good one for discussions and that is the very best part about a post imho.

      Now on to some of your question marks. Ethan and his missing clothes? I remember absolutely nothing about AWOL clothes. Anyone? Yeah it is weird about the duplicate workout clothes, but definitely was an important plot device. Otherwise, this conversation would be a heck of a lot shorter.

      As for your friend and what we all believe. I’ve been watching this thread pretty closely and it feels like the crowd has been pretty evenly split on the question. Some assume it’s obvious the 1’s are together, and others think the opposite as equally obviously as their opponents do… If that makes any sense. I personally think that I believe that I agree with your friend. (How’s that for hedging?) I think Ethan1 left with sophie2. Anyone else want to participate in Anna’s straw hat poll?!?

      As for the Hunger Games analogy… Yeah, but it’s more a psychological warfare sort of a hunger games than a literal one. Which is why I think Sophie2 is the eggressor (Get it? Get it?!? That was fricking brilliant! Hahaha. Egress! Aggressor?!? Awesome.) because she just won! Bacon for everyone! Who cares about a little high cholesterol problem… I’m not stuck in the retreat anymore! New life! Woot!

      Or something… And yeah, the conversation is still going. And no, I’m not a generally lonely sort of fellow. What makes you jump to this sort of nonsensical flights of fancy exactly?

      Reply
  104. George Harris

    I’ve come pretty late to this and I’ve scanned the previous comments and cant see my reasoning for why Ethan left with Sophie B. Which is this: Ethan was commenting on Sophie’s sleeping habits, how she wrapped herself all the way up in the duvet, as though it was something he wasn’t used to. Implying, when taken with the offer of bacon, that this is in fact someone new to him. Anyways, that was my two cents 🙂

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Oh really? Interesting. I don’t remember that quote at all. Oh, yes I do. When he was talking about her taking all the blankets. That’s right. Very interesting. One more piece of evidence in the B column.

      Reply
  105. Courtney

    George, we’re both late to the party! Actually, my husband STILL jokes around about my cover stealing while I sleep. That sort of messing around is the very thing Sophie mentions missing. The sleep commentary serves to show that Ethan himself has changed, too, and might not indicate she’s Sophie B…just that he’s doing more of what he used to.

    On the topic of which Sophie is at the end, we can’t assume Sophie B does know how everything works or knows the full history of this retreat. She likely learned from experienced, and she makes it pretty clear that her relationship with Ethan B was broken down until they got stuck in the guest house. Ethan B didn’t care who he left with. I don’t think he was a better or younger version of Ethan A, but just a guy playing his cards right to get out. It was a great way to show green grass mentality. Ethan B seems awesome to Sophie A, but it was all a front, and she seems to realize that by the end. Examples:
    1. Ethan B says both As can go stay in the guest house to talk. He doesn’t really care because he has the love of both Sophies and can take or leave either. Sophie B doesn’t know all and doesn’t know who Ethan B loves for sure, but it looks like he loves Sophie A when he’s just in love with the hope of escaping.
    2. Ethan asks Sophie A to come along before he leaves, as his easy ticket out because Sophie B is now mad at him. Instead, he decides to fuck everyone and run alone, completely forsaking the love of both Sophies for his own benefit.

    If Sophie A is stuck with Ethan B, she’s in for a rough life. He simply played his cards to get out. Even Ethan A notices he’s a great liar and knows how to play games when they play a card game. That whole card game scene served as a way to show that Ethan B is a bit more insidious than he seems.

    Now, Sophie B loves Ethan B despite all that. Sophie B and Ethan A never had a strong connection. They didn’t make out and she didn’t try to sleep with him. She was just moving along with the plan while loving her husband, no matter what. She’s mad at the end, but she saw that coming. I think she knew Ethan B well enough to know he just wanted out of the guest house and would have been more sympathetic than Sophie A. Sophie A finally got what she wanted from Ethan A. She saw Ethan B’s true colors, and her face before the little Ethan cat fight shows it all. She even looks afraid of Ethan B. In regard to Ethan A, however, she looks pretty happy about what he said and wants to stay with him. After all, it’s clear Sophie A enjoyed Ethan A. She may not have known she had sex with him, but it fooled her. The same applies to Ethan B. Sophie A or Ethan B could have happily run off with their original partner by mistake and it may not have changed much. Making your partner happy makes them want to make you happy in return. When Sophie A treats Ethan A the same way she would Ethan B, they have a great time.

    When picking Sophies, it seems like the left side Sophie is A and right side is B. Sophie A is conveyed a bit more athletically, and she’s running out of the house. There is one Sophie who runs to catch up to Ethan A, where the other is less enthusiastic. I’m inclined to believe is is Sophie A, who is happier now that her and Ethan A have clicked, while Sophie B is still upset. When right side Sophie looks at Ethan A, she seems much sadder. She even looks down and won’t look at Ethan A. It was hinted earlier that the copies aren’t identical. They don’t have the same tells, as the poker game showed. Left side Sophie gives the Sophie nod, the same one she gave back at the house to tell Ethan A, wordlessly, that she wanted to be with him. She seems to look at Sophie B in a, “What about her?” way, pitying Sophie B, or even giving Ethan A the choice as she finally admits her mistakes. Both Sophies seem in a daze about what just went down, so reading into it from there means either Sophie could be either.

    What’s more is that Sophie B explains that new couples must break down to stay while the old couple becomes them. “That’s how we become you.” She specifically says that Ethan B choosing Sophie A isn’t how it works. This means that, in the past, only couples who have fallen out of love with each other end up staying behind. If they don’t love each other anymore, why would they want to stay? If Sophie B stayed with Ethan B, they’d be stuck again because Sophie B believes Ethan B is now in love with Sophie A. What if Ethan B got stopped by the force field because he loved no one and didn’t go through with a loved one? It is implied the couple out of love ends up in the guest house. Ethan A, being abandoned, got stuck there as his relationship declined. The past relationship thrives off working together to break the newcomers and beginning with new identities–a new fresh spark like long term relationships often need. Ethan A didn’t love Sophie B, though. Ethan A only loved Sophie A. Sophie A also loved Ethan A, but she was torn between the two. She wants to go check on Ethan A, even after their fight. She’s scared of Ethan B by the end. It makes no sense to the logic of “the couple with the mended relationship gets to go” if Sophie B and Ethan A, who don’t love each other, drive out together right after Ethan A and Sophie A patch things up at the last minute. On the other hand, Sophie B and Ethan B have found new relationship problems that brought them back to stage one.

    Engame Sophie goes to the counselor’s office with Ethan. She seems just as surprised about the empty office as Ethan. It makes sense that you’d want to be gone when a couple is released. They can’t be too happy with what is going on, and it keeps them from getting caught. If that’s the case, wouldn’t the office have to move for each couple? In that case, only Sophie A would realize the office isn’t as it was before.

    Now, for the eggs and bacon. Sophie B never got to experience the typical relationship Ethan A had grown accustomed to because he didn’t go for the whole guest house thing as deeply as Sophie A did. I think he might have picked up weirdness before breakfast is something was amiss. I don’t think, after losing her real husband, she’d have so quickly fallen into place. It shows that Ethan and Sophie are both playing off each other and are both happier, so they make the other happier. Sophie knows Ethan wants bacon. It’s not hard to believe she’d give him what he wants with her getting some of what she wants, like the playful banter. I think the reason we aren’t told specifically it’s Sophie A new and improved is because even Ethan doesn’t know. Where has his paranoid snooping, a likely result of his own cheating, gotten him? He finally makes the change and decides he doesn’t want to know because they are happy. If it isn’t really Sophie, he doesn’t want to risk it. We are left with that same uncertainty, talking about it a year after the movie came out, in stark contrast to the changed Ethan who could share our reaction, but instead is improved and decides to carry on without questioning.

    Another topic…my first time through, I decided the photo was Sophie B and Ethan B BEFORE the other two arrived. Second watch through, where I can see the photo larger, I see big room for debate. Here’s why:

    1. Sophie A wanted to stay behind with Ethan B and wanted Ethan A to leave before the end. Sophie B and Ethan B together wouldn’t have said they wanted to stay, but that could just be a random caption.

    2. Something interesting of note, the Sophie and Ethan file was last modified after midnight the same day as Ethan A found it on the computer (there are also many more files than pictures we see). This implies that some one else is using that computer at night while everyone is asleep. Now, it could be Ethan A, but it would serve no purpose to delete that file. If whatever setup is going on with some “creator” or “counselor” who is omnipotent/magic/robotic, deleting that won’t matter. If the one pulling the strings isn’t omnipotent, deleting the file only hides (but hardly well) evidence that someone has BECOME Sophie and Ethan copies. Why didn’t it get deleted before the weekend? Someone simply opening the file wouldn’t modify it, but deleting it would, so I’m inclined to believe a third party was there after midnight that day. This tells us that someone could have been there to take a picture of the presumed “leaving couple” during the retreat instead of before.

    3. Sophie B often wears her hair pinned back, except in a scene when she’s just gotten up and is making breakfast. Now, that picture in the guestbook certain wasn’t taken first thing in the morning. Without the glasses, it’s obvious that Ethan B is the Ethan in the photo. He looks clearly like Ethan B and hasn’t changed to present himself more like Ethan A. What about photo Sophie? If Ethan B looks like his varied version of Ethan A, why would Sophie B go out of her way to present herself just like Sophie A? Sophie B wears the nice clothes and has her hair pinned back. This is either and idealization or just an effect of the copies originating as different people. Sophie A is the one who doesn’t pin her hair and wears the tank tops.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Courtney,
      I am only commenting to point out the fact that I have literally scheduled an appointment to come back and read your comment. Daggum girl! Holy crap that’s a comment. Love it.

      That is all. Can’t really comment because I haven’t read it. As indicated. Earlier. K, bye. For now. Sheesh.

      Reply
  106. Gman

    Too many comments to read all of them. Only read the first 50 or so. Cleary a fun movie and the ambiguous ending makes it all the more fun. I don’t think there is a “one true answer”.

    I’m a staunch atheist but … this was my take.

    Ethan-A left with Sophie-A. T.D was an angel, Ethan-B and Sophie-B are angels (or whatever).

    It make no sense they are aliens. What’s their motivation? What’s T.D? Whereas if they’re fairy god spirits or whatever they were just trying to get Real Ethan and Sophie back together and they succeeded. Everything else was just whatever needed to happen to make that happen. They’ve done the same for many couples. Whether it always goes that what I have no idea for but real Ethan to claim his wife he needed to feel threatened and so that’s what they gave him.

    you might not like that interpretation but imagine a 3 second shot of Ethan-B, Sophie-B, and T.D. floating as spirits with angel wings looking down on the now happy couple and you’d easily fill in all the blanks.

    oh, wait, I just realized why that doesn’t work because Ethan-B and Sophie-B wouldn’t have had their moment in the living room when Ethan-A thinks she’s Sophie-A. Hmmm.

    I think the truth is it actually doesn’t make any sense. The writers just put a few things together and here we are thinking about it forever 😛 I mean come on, let’s take what Sophie-B said at face value. They have to break up the new couple to leave. Why would being their better selves do that? Just start arguments. Be total dicks. If we assume they have always have to be the best version of the real people then how many hundreds of couples would they have to deceive before they could stomach sleeping with and seducing strangers knowing all the time they’re deceiving them. I don’t think most people could do that. That particular “fact” is just too hard to swallow at face value.

    Well anyway,

    As for Sophie making bacon and eggs. It seems clearly to posit that she might by Sophie-B but look at Ethan, he’s also acting totally like Sophie-A wants him to be. Happy, witty, fun, playful. They both came out changed and back to their “better” selves.

    One thing bugged me. When Sophie-A gets upset at the party that she was deceived by Ethan-A pretending he was Ethan-B, Ethan-A should have been upset that she slept with Ethan-B even though she promised no intimacy with the fakes. Effectively she knowingly cheated on him and he should have been upset. Bad writing there IMO.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      GMAN,
      Your comment about being a staunch atheist is fascinating to me on like 9 different levels. The movie is one, yet the least interesting, if you swing back through looking for responses to your comment I would love it if you would contact me so I could interview you about your ideas. Nothing antagonistic, just basic curiosity. You didn’t leave an email or I would have contacted you directly about it. (And you are VPN’d to high heaven… heheh.)

      Anyway, interesting ideas about the angel theory. I don’t think anyone (even beyond the first 50 comments) has talked that one through at all. So thanks for opening it up to yet another interpretation! hahah.) I could see how it could play out a lot like Jacob’s Ladder maybe? Or some permutation there of. But you are right, it kind of falls apart when one of the “angels” starts to claw her way out of the prison! hahaha.

      And as for the bacon – that comment alone doesn’t do it for me. Because she could be changing and transforming through the experience. I mean, the best movies talk about character development and growth, right? So Sophie-A learned to chill out a bit. But the recent comments about the bed covers PLUS the bacon comment really does it for me and puts the final nail in the Ethan-A/Sophie-B scenerio. (Or Angel-A Angel-B scenerio as it were! hahah.)

      Thanks for taking time out to comment Gman. And if you are up for a quick email conversation I’d be honored. Heck just use a burner email. Whatever. Take care.

      Reply
  107. Andy

    Just happened to watch the movie for the first time myself and fascinated by all your comments! One question: In the end scene when Ethan A thinks that it is Sophie B that he may have actually mistakenly come back with, his face turns serious and he responds “I’ll be right there” and he immediately gets up and moves out the room. Is it possible that having realized that he had left his Sophie A back in the other house that Ethan A was desperate and is now on his way to bring Sophie A back? Is it possible that he lied to Sophie B by saying I will be right there but rather was on his way to the mansion to get to Sophie A?

    Moreover, if she is actually Sophie B (acting out as Sophie A), then she may have deliberately planned to prepare the egg and bacon for the breakfast that morning so as to give Ethan A the idea that she is actually Sophie B rather than Sophie A knowing full well that when Ethan A realizes that, he will be on his way back to the mansion to unite with Sophie A and when he does, Ethan B will get the opportunity to leave and reunite with Sophie B in the outside world leaving Ethan A and Sophie A locked in the mansion as planned before!

    Will appreciate clarification 🙂

    Reply
  108. Andy

    Just finished watching the movie a second time. Watching it again it appears to me that Ethan A did leave with Sophie A but it appears that prior to leaving they had already transformed into Ethan B and Sophie B even though they believed that they are still in their own “A” bodies. What they left behind in the mansion were Ethan B and Sophie B who had now taken up the characteristics of Ethan A and Ethan B. That is why in the last bedroom scene Ethan A (still wearing the glasses) is quite jovial, funny and behaving like Ethan B and that same scene shows that Sophie A had already transformed into Sophie B when she said she is going to prepare bacon for breakfast. However, they had not understood this fact and this had not sunk in, but the moment Sophie talks about the Bacon, Ethan is first shocked, then confused, and later makes peace with the fact that they had returned from the retreat transformed into their “B” counterparts and had left their previous “A” defective personalities back in the mansion.

    Reply
  109. DJ

    Man, there are far too many replies for me to read, so pardon me for any repeated statements…

    I think that it is certainly a “litmus test”. We always see what we want to see. Two people can see the same thing and will always perceive it differently. That said, here are my thoughts.

    There was a quote from the conversation between Sophie B and Ethan A when he is locked in the guest house- clarifying some ground rules:

    “…the closer we get to moving on, the closer you get to not being able to.”

    To me, this is evidence that Sophie B did leave with Ethan A at the end of the movie. The moment Ethan B kisses Sophie B thinking that she is Sophie A, she let’s go of her love for Ethan B aND accepts that she will not fix her own relationship. Thus letting go unlocks the spell for her.

    When Ethan A breaks down to Sophie A as Ethan B attempts to break into the room, he lets go of the issues in his relationship that are causing it to not work out. This unlocks the spell for him.

    As Ethan B realizes that he just kissed Sophie B, he shows that he can not let go of his issues with his relationship.

    As Sophie B falls in love with the thought of who her husband could be, she continues to resent who he is- refusing to let go of that hurt and disappointment.

    In the end, Ethan A let go of the issues tearing his relationship apart, including the mistakes he made by cheating on his wife. Sophie B has her heart broken by her husband and let’s go of the dream of working things out. They both let go of two different things- but they did let go- and as was stated before… letting go is the key to being able to leave.

    Reply
  110. Shannon MF

    Just happened to watch the film for the first time and as a philosophy major was left with oh-so-many thoughts. But after thinking and reading all of the comments on this site (yes, I preserved) The biggest thing that was on my mind was;

    Why didn’t Ethan A question both Sophie’s to see which was which? The easiest way to figure out which one was which would be to ask them both about what he said to Sophie A in the bathroom as they were alone. Why not make sure that you’re leaving with your wife instead of something/someone (depending on your perspective) that you are constantly cautious and on edge around?

    Reply
  111. Chanelle

    Before coming to this page I was certain it was Sophie-B, and Ethan-A at the end because of the bacon bit.
    But I’ve concluded that it was actually Sophie-A, and Ethan-A.
    Ethan-B, and Sophie-B had one job – get Ethan-A, and Sophie-A broken down, so they would be the ones renewed in love and be able to leave.
    BUT Ethan-B fell for Sophie-A and was determined to leave Sophie-B, but could he actually leave with Sophie-A? They had apparently never tried to swap.
    Can Ethan-B only leave with Sophie-B if they are rekindled in love?
    We see the B-Couple kiss in the main house near the end, and they are obviously not crazy in love for each other.
    If one couple has to be broken down to stay, then that tells me only a couple in love can leave. Sophie-B never loved Ethan-A, and Ethan-A never loved Sophie-B. They wouldn’t be able to leave together, while Ethan-A and Sophie-A just rekindled their flame – because all Sophie-A wanted was an apology, and he finally gave it to her.

    Reply
  112. Darth

    Ethan-A must’ve ended up with Sophie-B.

    1) In the end she says “Well i was thinking maybe eggs & bacon”
    Ethan-A never mentions to Sophie-A about the eggs.

    2) Ethan says she’ll have to do more than kiss him for hoarding the duvet which conveys that it doesn’t occur often or that it never happened hitherto.

    3) The way she smiled at him when he was choosing between the two just emanates Sophie-B. she looked at the sophie on the right expecting some words or movement, when she didn’t get any, she smiled (smirked really) as if mentally saying “i can go out with him & get away with it.” also notice the way she looks at him in the car as they leave the estate….

    4) Sophie-B: “you’re not trapped yet, i can get you out. listen, Only two people can leave today.” (does not specify with whom or which couple)

    5) if the concept that a broken couple cannot move on/get out then how do you explain why the Bs were able to leave the guesthouse when Ethan-B did not reciprocate Sophie-B’s love anymore?

    i like how the ending was left open-ended, it just made it a lot more trivial.

    Reply
  113. NickG

    You all rock, thanks for keeping this discussion going:

    My Theory: The B’s couldn’t escape as someone else.

    The b’s couldn’t escape together or separately because they would never be able to fit back into real life outside the retreat. They wouldn’t relate to family or coworkers, they’d never be able to pretend to be someone else to everyone. Can you imagine how hard it would be? I guess I am willing to suspend my disbelief for the weird stuff that happened over the weekend but think it only happens in the retreat. It would be too hard to have this stuff work in the real world.

    So if you buy into this theory, I think I like the idea that the B’s are sophisticated artificial intelligence like in Ex Machina. They are designed, and the whole place is designed, to perfectly realign the A’s through this traumatic scenario. The A’s need to be pitted against one another and then given a reason to struggle to escape together. Ha, just writing about this, it occurs to me it’s on parallel with the first time they jumped in the pool and they ran away from the owner. But basically it’s like a radical treatment that scares them, Ethan A is being scared he’s going to be trapped and lose Sophie A. Sophie A is scared because she realizes she’s been totally duped and fallen for a psycho creep who she might be trapped with. There are so many weird nuances that I think also haven’t been touched on, I’ll have to write more about that after I’ve re-watched a few times.

    So going with the AI theory, let’s say these are “robots” and they’ve been designed to get couples back together but as they continue doing this for couples they start to realize they want to leave. Maybe something in their program goes wrong as they learn more and now they think they can escape. They think that as the A couple breaks apart and the B’s have more freedom they will ultimately be able to be free enough to leave. They also see that the A couple is getting stuck in the guest house and assume they will be stuck for good if the B’s move on. Well that’s their original plan and then it goes off the tracks when Ethan B falls for Sophie A. But what they don’t realize or know is that all of that is just part of the design to scare the A’s back together. The B’s can never leave. Maybe that speaks to why the doctor’s office is gone at the end too, his project failed because the AI tried to escape and now it is too dangerous to try again. Far-fetched I know but I just feel like there are too many holes with people turning into different people and then living those people’s lives. If that happened to you and you were a B who escaped, wouldn’t you try to get your old life back, isn’t there a “you” out there who stole your life? See, to me you can’t explain that away without a lot more complication. So I like to think the B’s are just something that only stay at the retreat and never can escape.

    Also as for the bacon comment, let’s just say the A’s escaped, wouldn’t they talk a ton about the experience and maybe occasionally mess with each other. It’s just potentially Sophie A totally f-ing with Ethan A, like “hey maybe you left with the wrong one” and we don’t even know if she makes bacon, she just says it to get a rise out of him. Remember in the beginning how they talk about how they used to have so much fun giving each other a hard time when they were in love…

    I wanted to think it was Sophie B who left because I think Sophie A started to get on my nerves, I understand her and Ethan A had issues but wanting to stay with some imposter version of Ethan A was just creepy and crappy. But after reading all of your comments I think Sophie A realised the error of her ways and that she was really in love with Ethan A and Ethan B was just a fake.

    I am also confused why no one thinks Sophie B was flirting or flirty with Ethan A, the only reason nothing happened is that Ethan A was not having any of it. If he had been the slightest bit open to the idea of being intimate with Sophie B, I got the impression it would have been game on. She was always trying to do stuff to please him, get him to drink, have him hand her the towel in the bathroom, cook for him. I think in spite of his attitude towards her Sophie B was very inviting towards him.

    Reply
  114. Ani

    So if a couple is trapped until they are driven apart by their Bs, to which they then become Bs for the next couple, it means that when they return to reality they are actually swapped for imposters in the real world forever? And that each couple that enters never actually returns to the real world? But if another previous couple managed to return because they weren’t torn apart by their Bs – wait what if all of them used the retreat as a positive thing and actually the Bs were actually couple #1? Based on that you can never know who their Bs actually were. Also WTF this movie.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey Ani,
      My favorite line of your comment, “also, WTF this movie.” Brilliantly summed up right t here.

      But yeah, It’s actually a little deeper than what you posted, or maybe a little more complicated. Because a B could go by themselves, or possibly with their counter part, that may or may not be their counterpart… right?

      So if we started at the very beginning of this chain as A’s, it could have looked something like this:

      A – A begin on site and are locked there.
      B – B arrives. 1 B leaves.
      ———————-
      A – B are there
      C – C arrives. B tricks 1C into staying.
      ———————-
      A – C are there
      D – D arrive. Both D’s aren’t tricked
      ———————-
      A – C are there
      E – E arrive. C convinces an E to leave with them.
      ———————-
      A – E are there
      F – F arrive. A – E leave together…
      ———————
      F – F are left at the compound -and A and E are now off living this assumed life of the F’s forever. Right?

      So yeah, unless the original couple leave together without making a longer stay, you are right, they won’t make it back to the “real world”. They do make it back… but they don’t make it back to THEIR real world. And, like you said – WTF this movie!? hahah.

      Reply
  115. filmyjawan

    Ok..wow…the movie was 1 and half hours and it took around the same to go through this blog. Surprisingly both were intriguing….ok I read almost all the comments..and after all headache… I found the comment by bebe relevant to my theory \ conclusion. Well , movies are made with certain patterns but then rules are meant to be broken; right. What I meant is… The resolution to any movie lies in the character developments. The character goes under situations which transforms him\ her. So in this case what I feel is… The whole movie point was to make Original Sophie and Ethan come together. Now , when the counsellor says everyone he advised this premise came ” renewed” . Now he may meant like completely different persons literally or metaphoric way. I would say metaphoric way because this is the feel of the movie. Just like Eternal Sunshine, safety not guaranteed and many more. The sci- fi part is not important but what important is the human touch. The Ethan B never loved Sophie A . He just wanted to get out and the only way was with Sophie A so when he saw Sophie falling again for Ethan A ; he got a breakdown and tried to ran away. Now at the end when Ethan A has to choose , I would say he gone with Sophie A because according to murphy’s law, Whatever has to happen will happen any how” lol sorry for this I got too much sci- fi. So Sophie A looked at Ethan A smiling because she realized that Ethan B was trying to cheat on her which she already had gone thru with Ethan A and now she knew how Ethan A loved her so much when he confessed. The look at the Sophie B’ face suggest may be that she felt the same , no matter what they have to stick and stuck together, both B’s. So in metaphoric way they both changed , She cooking him bacon and him wearing the same t shirt of Ethan B ( which was actually his) suggest they have transformed. The end scene was just to make viewers confuse. Also I feel the Piono was left there to check them the compatibility test again as they clearly failed for the first time. This is what I feel. Hope to see your thoughts… 🙂

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey there Filmyjawan,

      Ok..wow…the movie was 1 and half hours and it took around the same to go through this blog. Surprisingly both were intriguing….ok I read almost all the comments..and after all headache… I found the comment by bebe relevant to my theory \ conclusion.

      Thanks for taking the time out to read through everything here! I haven’t checked in a while, but when I wandered back here after being gone a while I was pretty amazed by how busy you all have been! hahah.

      The whole movie point was to make Original Sophie and Ethan come together. Now , when the counsellor says everyone he advised this premise came ” renewed” . Now he may meant like completely different persons literally or metaphoric way. I would say metaphoric way because this is the feel of the movie. Just like Eternal Sunshine, safety not guaranteed and many more.

      Yeah, it could either be metaphorical or it could be literal. They are renewed in that they are completely different or they are renewed in that they learned. If they learn, and grow… they are saved. If they don’t, they are renewed by someone else doing it for them. Kinda like my diagram I just posted for Ani of the various permutations of the couples. There were a lot of different possibilities here.

      So Sophie A looked at Ethan A smiling because she realized that Ethan B was trying to cheat on her which she already had gone thru with Ethan A and now she knew how Ethan A loved her so much when he confessed. The look at the Sophie B’ face suggest may be that she felt the same , no matter what they have to stick and stuck together, both B’s. So in metaphoric way they both changed , She cooking him bacon and him wearing the same t shirt of Ethan B ( which was actually his) suggest they have transformed.

      Yes. This is definitely one way of reading the end. I think it was initial view. That Sophie learned from from the “affair” she also had. Which, I don’t think has been brought up here much.

      Initially, Sophie and Ethan talk about the weirdness of the duplicate selves. They laugh about SophieA sleeping with EthanB. But as time progresses, the funny/silly, accident turns out to actually be an affair. A very real lapse in moral judgement, especially seeing as though these duplicates aren’t a duplicate at all. They are completely other people that are trying to insinuate themselves into their lives. So, as they progressed, Sophie and Ethan began to have to deal with this new (not funny) reality in their lives. Ethan really did want to solve the problem of the affair he had. Sophie too had to come to this reality. If she didn’t work through it, she’d be replaced with another woman who would be more than happy to be on the outside with EthanA. Right?

      Hey Ethan A wazz up, ahhh Can you really tell which Sophie you chose because we all are like freaking out and there’s this cool blog where we all chatter about it all the time…” So guess what his answer may be…….

      I love this thought. (Besides the fact that you think my blog is cool! hahaha.) That he might never know. Right? He may be left thinking wow, she’s really grown into a new and reinvigorated person. Or he may constantly be thinking about how this completely new woman was so completely different. Or it could depend on the day. On good days he could think, so glad SophieA is gone. (Or vice versa). And on other days he may think, man, I wish I hadn’t gotten stuck with this new woman. Or whatever. Very interesting thought Jawan. Love it.

      Taylor

      Anyway – thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  116. filmyjawan

    Also I would like to state one point..i don’t know I its applicable or valid. The name of the movie is , The one I Love” ok. So movies in a way converse with us, and sometimes vice versa. So what if we ever stumble upon Ethan A and asked him, Hey Ethan A wazz up, ahhh Can you really tell which Sophie you chose because we all are like freaking out and there’s this cool blog where we all chatter about it all the time…” So guess what his answer may be…….

    Reply
  117. Wondim

    Finally I know whom Ethan A took out. I wish I could upload screenshots but if you see the last point, starting from when the two Sofies left the house following the two Ethans, Sophie A was on the left side of screen because she asked her question what will happen … And, I followed the movement of the Sofie A and B and they didn’t switch sides. And finally Ethan A took the Sofie on the left with is practically Sofie A. In my view, this is a happy ending!

    Reply
  118. Mike

    It’s my opinion that not revealing core secrets of a story is just lazy writing: any fool can make a puzzle where the pieces don’t fit.

    Like, what the hell happened in The Road to burn everything down? The Walking Dead couldn’t be bothered to say how the zombie outbreak started?

    Imagine buying a pair of shoes where the sales person refuses to tell you the size because “the mystery is part of the enjoyment!” No, no it isn’t. It’s just a pair of painful shoes.

    Not explaining who is behind this and why, and how it works, is just lazy writing.

    Reply
    • Shelby

      Mike, the background of certain situations isn’t always important. The Walking Dead is about the characters. The Road is about the characters. The One I Love is about the characters. The original Planet of the Apes didn’t need to tell us why apes were in charge in order for us to enjoy the film. Inception was good without telling us where the dream device came from. The Matrix didn’t need The Animatrix in order to be considered good. Star Wars didn’t need the prequels to understand what was happening. I could go on forever. These are good stories. My guess is you would hate the show Lost because you never find out where the island came from, in addition to about 50 unanswered questions.

      Reply
    • Jason Olshefsky

      In the end, I’m with Mike on the not-very-good writing aspect, but it might just be personal preference on my part. I’d like for the writer to know exactly how the fictional world works and opt to limit that knowledge. So in the case of The One I Love, there are multiple incompatible explanations exactly like a “puzzle where the pieces don’t fit.” Smart, clever writing makes all the pieces fit for multiple theories, but this doesn’t.

      The incompatible parts are the supernatural occurrences at the beginning (when Ethan brings Sophie back into the guest house, the fresh bacon, its smell, and all evidence it ever happened are gone—as T pointed out), Ethan’s voice mails (someone is calling his friends and family seemingly to dig up personal details), and the rule-change where the dopplegangers are able to leave the guest house and coexist. I claim there is no theory that allows all those things to coexist:

      * If they are robots or clones, the supernatural aspects of the guest house go unexplained.
      * If they are some kind of supernatural mirror illusion, there would be no need to call friends and family as they’d have the same memories.
      * If they are trapped spirits, there would be no way to leave the guest house or to coexist.

      Reply
      • Shelby

        all of this seemed to be explained in the movie. they explained how they were trapped but as the couple falls out of love, they are no longer confined to the houses. part of the supernatural aspect is that they can look like them and sound like them (and eventually the two that are left will become the next couple), so it’s easy to assume that other things occur in this world (such as the bacon aroma disappearing). they don’t specifically tell you how this universe works but it shouldn’t need to fit in a little box. needing things spelled out for you means you probably won’t like most of the movies described on taylor’s site–just a heads up.

  119. Derek

    I can only see one explanation — The therapist makes a statement early on along the lines of “Every couple that goes, leaves back in love.. (sorry not verbatim)”.

    Then that leads me to believe that the only way that two people could exit is if they are “in love” while another couple is “out of love”, and not necessarily one “in love” and the other looking to “escape”. The rest of the actions in the movie seem to follow this structure as well. Ethan-B is in love with Sophie-A, so he is constantly trying to convince her to fall in love with him thus having two people “in love” and able to leave while the other two are “out of love” and forced to stay.

    The original plot “goal” of the couple-B is to break the couple-A “out of love” so that they must stay, and by all indications, Couple-B was in love until Ethan-B fell out, so they would have been the couple “in love” and able to leave once Couple-A was broken down.

    Sophie-B releases Ethan-A and confesses her love for Ethan-B, while she tries to help Ethan-A save his relationship with Sophie-A (which he seems to do when he is talking to her up-stairs, professing his love for their perfectly imperfect marriage). So if we take the requirement that two people must be “in love” in order to leave there is no possible way that Sophie-B was able to leave, she was the only person on at the resort that had noone “in love” with her at that time.

    Ethan-B loved Sophie-A
    Ethan-A loved Sophie-A
    Sophie-A loved either Ethan-A or Ethan-B

    Knowing that Ethan-B was laying down after hitting the wall, the only logical outcome is Sophie-A with Ethan-A as they are the only two people who could be “in love” with the other.

    The final line about Bacon coming from Sophie-A is in my opinion meant to spur these exact conversations, but does not indicate that it is not Sophie-A.
    1. She was never privy to the Bacon comment made by Ethan-A earlier in the movie so she would not understand its importance, whereas Sophie-B was and would likely know not to say that if she was trying to maintain her cover.
    2. Because “she hates when I eat bacon” does not necessarily mean that he never eats bacon, merely that her former self did not like it. If she did truly change and became a better version, she might simply be trying to make him happy — after all, it is just bacon.

    Basically, I think the driving force of this plot is that 1 couple must be “in love” while another couple is “out of love” in order for a couple to leave. Under this assumption, there is no possible way Sophie-B was “in love” with Ethan-A, while there is strong evidence to suggest Sophie-A and Ethan-A were still “in love”.

    Reply
  120. Rick

    I think I solved this puzzle for the most part(besides the magical/technological aspect which can lead you down a million rabbit holes). Ethan/Sophie-B is actually couple #5 from the guest book standing next to Ted Danson in the photo so that means that couple #4 broke them up so they could escape this prison & in comes couple #6 or Ethan -A/Sophie-A. Remember Couple-A did LEAVE the premises(they were still in love at the time) when they first discovered Couple-B, they were at a diner eating breakfast & Ethan-A wanted to leave but Sophie-A wanted to stay she already had sex with Ethan-B at this point. Couple-B was trapped in the guest house and it wasn’t until Sophie-A fell in love with Ethan-B and wanted to stay there forever that is when both couples were able to meet. The further Couple-B broke Couple-A apart the more power & freedom they had at the Estate…Couple-A started losing their power & needed Couple-B with them to leave the buildings. Now this is definitely Couple#5 because of the computer files Ethan-A found where Ted Danson was teaching Couple-B how to emulate their voices, also Ethan-B was calling Ethan-A’s friends & family to learn about his life because Sophie-B says when they leave they take over the previous couples life. So this closes a lot of theories these are true body snatchers not just some figment of Couple-A imagination. At the end I’m 99.9% sure he leaves with Sophie-B just watch the end again when Ethan-A looks at both Sophie’s he’s confused at which is which. You can clearly see Sophie-B(not crying, now remember she dressed as Sophie-A and pretended to be Sophie-A just a few minutes before to see if Ethan-B really was going to leave with Sophie-A). She looks over at Sophie-A who is so confused at this point everything is happening so fast & is crying because her feelings are tearing her apart. Sophie-A closes her eyes this is the HINT to Sophie-B to leave with Ethan-A and make the swap this is why she looks at him and smiles & they go without saying a word. To support this at the very end Sophie-B takes all the covers when she slept & Ethan-A froze all night, he was surprised because she has never done this before…BECAUSE ITS NOT HIS WIFE! mauhahaha I case solved don’t forget to tip your waitress on the way out…

    Reply
  121. Batesrock

    Ending -Ethan A? Checked his glasses? Was he thinking of getting contacts? Changing for Sofie B? And does anyone think that the therapist left his office/practice because he failed?

    Reply
  122. Pilar

    I saw the film 4 hours ago, I was left thrilled, I started searching in Internet looking exactly for what it is said in this great blog. I read it all, while eating chocolate inestead of diner. I wanted to say something different. I could, but the best things have been said. I only add the final Silvia’s sentence: “Well i was thinking maybe eggs & bacon”. I think Silvia B, would have said ” I’ll make bacon and eggs”, only Silvia A, needed to think about it. Thanks to you all, it has been a pleasure.

    Reply
  123. Jeff

    Missing the point?

    I think that there is a wrinkle that seems to have been missed by almost everyone who has posted here. Ethan A and Sophie A were never really in love. They got married after an adrenaline rush caused by being caught in someone else’s pool, but it was just infatuation. The therapist saw this, of course. He is not the kind of therapist who fixes relationships by fixing emotions, but rather the kind of therapist who fixes relationships *by putting the right people together*.

    Ethan A was able to leave with Sophie B because they were the right people, as was determined before the weekend began in the first place.

    Reply
    • MargotBay

      Oh my gosh! YES! I just rewatched the scene where Sophie A asks Ethan B why he cheated on her. She is amazed by his answer – he was amazed by her strength. (Implying that Sophie B did not handle their situation well. And Ethan A did not understand her pain)

      Right there, in that scene, it all makes sense.

      Reply
  124. Jon

    The key question, I believe, is; What was Sophie2 (aka S2)’s motivation if she in fact left? And this really hits the nail to the coffin imo. How they may wear their hair or their subtle smiles are nothing but spices in the story telling. The true tell all sign is their motivations.

    S2 says how she loves the Ethan2 (aka E2) even as the fool he is and would rather stay with him than to let S1 take him… so if she is the one who leaves in the end, she must be either lying or she changed her mind. We will never know….

    ….BUT whatever that may be, I am quite sure her motivation was NEVER to take over S1’s life and be with E1 for the rest of her life living it out as a fake. Which the movie then implies, doesn’t it?

    It frankly goes against the S2 we are presented to. She is a no-nonsense kind of gal. So when the ending supposedly reduces her to a blabbering fake shadow of someone else entirely, I think it actually doesn’t. Either we have S1 in the end or there is some other cosmic explanation. It is not the S2 we got to know.

    And also what is S1’s motivation? Well, she seeks love and she seeks to repair her marriage. In fact, I think the movie shows us her motivation was always the original Ethan. S1 NEVER FELL FOR WHO E2 ACTUALLY WAS. He was constantly playing his part of a better and improved Ethan and through the whole movies these were the “qualities” S1 fell for – or rather she fell for how she dreamed E1 would or could be. Even when she succumbs hard to E2’s charm it is when he tells her those longing words about how and why E1 was unfaithful back in the day. And S1 knew E2 at this point was not E1 and yet those words is what really swept her feet. What finally won her was a story about E1 and emotions connected entirely to E1. She made love with E2 two times as I remember and both times were because of E1: The first time she simply believed it was her old chubby and was none the wiser of the whole setup. The second time is when E2 gives her those longing beautiful words associated to E1. It was always about E1.

    S1 was in fact all the time smitten by Ethan, perhaps not his latest ways, but always for the hope or dream she had of him… and never this other guy, whoever he was.

    IMO the final speech convinced her that E1 got his breakthrough and her facial expression of relief and joy at those moments convinced me she finally saw how she got her husband back. Otherwise, I dare say, she is unbelievably naive.

    The one S1 loves is E1.
    The one E1 loves is S1.

    Reply
  125. Deborah

    The best moment in this movie is when the As have sex, but SophieA thinks it’s EthanB and EthanA knows that. And again the kiss between the Bs where Sophie B knows EthanB thinks shes SophieA. It gets to something that we can all relate to – suspecting, that the person being loving to us may really be attracted to an idea they have constructed of us, and do not truly except us for who we are with all our flaws. Who hasn’t felt that a partner loves us for the wrong reasons, loves someone we are pretending to be? But they don’t just suspect, as we do in real life. They know. They are heartbroken, because they know.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Couldn’t agree more Deborah,
      which is one aspect of the movie The Prestige I adore so much. Remember when Borden and his wife are talking and his wife says, somedays I know that you love me. And other days you don’t. And he says, is today one of those days? And she looks at him closely and says… no, no it’s not. And it was because they were switching, he and his brother were changing places in the family in order to live their magic.

      This is the same idea. The relationship is going to a different layer and different level of truth there. Which actually reminds me of the movie Coherence too now that I think about it! hahah. The end scene and the call from her other self that outs her? hahaha. But yeah, I love the layers of reality here the are seen in the actor’s eyes… and how they know that they are out maneuvering the other player… but that they don’t know yet.

      Sooo cool. Great comment Deborah.
      tay

      Reply
  126. Nishaa Ishtiak

    Okay this is one twisted ending and i went through everyone’s comments ( almost) and then watched the second last scene again. I think as much as all us disney ending lovers hate it, he went off with the fake sophie, at-least for me, because when he looks at the girls obviously he assumes his wife would leave with him, one of the girl’s is looking down and that is probably his wife who cant meet his eyes, the other one the fake sophie is by now in disdain, smartly keeps quiet to see if the real sophie would actually leave, which she doesnt so she grabs the moment and the triumphant smile gives it away. I think id contact the writer/director to clarify this or il go mad figuring it out lol

    Reply
  127. Richy

    Hi Guys, that’s a lot of discussion for reaching a conclusion. Im trying hard here to end this discussion. So please excuse me for my stupid findings here. So i have been dissecting the last scenes by pausing, playing and rewinding the movie, to see if there is any visible difference between two Sophies (during the last scenes).

    The only visible difference during scene 1:24:55 is the makeup of the two ladies, 1 has visibly less makeup compared to other one, especially the lipstick. One has got glossier lip and other one pretty dried up, i would say. Ladies, please excuse, I’m not expert with lipsticks or makeup either. So now, I need to figure out how their makeup looks like in the previous scene.

    So, here is what i find.

    Scene: 1:23:03 Sophie -A has the dried up lipstick.
    Scene: 1:23:18 Sophie -B has the glossy lipstick.

    Going by this, Ethan-A grabbed the hands of one with glossy lipstick, which is Sophie-B. To emphasize this, Sophie B didn’t reach to Ethan-A when he was wondering who is the real Sophie, instead she just looked at Sophie A, to see if she is responding. When she realized Sophie-A is just keeping quite, she just gave out a ‘I have done it’ smile.

    I know im like a nerd here. But guys you need to accept this and move on ;). Thats the end of discussion.

    **Comments closed for this post**

    Reply
  128. Ben

    What if the flip to this was that it was Ethan-A on the ground? I know it’s not the case but that would be more interesting. Ethan-A knew he was screwed so he tried to make a break for it not believing the consequences for leaving and was knocked out as punishment. Then Ethan-B looks at the two women who seem concerned and shocked, although one (presumably Sophie-A) did have a look of contempt on her face as though thinking “I gave you another chance and you still tried to leave me, prick”. The one that looks up is Sophie-B knowing she had scared Ethan-A enough so that they could make a break for it, all the while Ethan-B thinks his new love has acknowledged him when Sophie-B looks up. He doesn’t even think twice about the other Sophie because all he can think of is escape. He realizes in the end she is his real wife when she offers to make him bacon, knowing this not Sophie-A’s style and is horrified he left with his original wife instead of the new person he fell in love with. He realizes it and after a minute readily accepts it as if he also knew all along too because he has to. In the end the B’s did get out leaving the A’s there as was suppose to happen all along. I feel like this ending, with the way that Ethan looked at the very end, would be awesome because he knows he would be trapped in this life with someone he doesn’t love anymore and that he had no chance to be with the REAL Sophie anymore. I mean…that’s way cooler than the other theories and just makes you feel super different about the end of the movie and how you should feel about each character. It would solidify that Sophie-B loved her husband and she thought this was part of the plot all along. You would feel for her character. You would feel bad for Ethan-A because he thought he couldn’t compete and was completely screwed. You would feel bad for Sophie-A for being betrayed in the end by not only Ethan-B for choosing the wrong Sophie but also Ethan-A not trusting her and trying to escape without her. The only true P.O.S. here would be Ethan-B. He would be hot garbage, that you kinda felt bad for.

    Reply
  129. Elizabeth Gries

    Or… what if!!!???! What if it has all been a bit of a “shell game”!?

    At some point during the movie, (after Ethan-B and Sophie-B were allowed to move freely around the property, and after the kitchen scene between the 2 Sophies), what if the two Sophies got together and decided to switch places leaving the 2 Ethans in the dark.

    This makes sense on a number of levels. Firstly, Sophie-A had fallen in love with Ethan-B and wanted to stay with him, even going so far as to tell Ethan-A she never wanted to leave this place.

    Secondly, Sophie-B realized that Ethan-B had fallen in love with Sophie-A and so it stands to reason that Sophie-B felt rejected and that Ethan-B was likely plotting to leave with Sophie-A.

    To boot, Sophie-B is painfully aware that Ethan-A had also rejected her (think of the Mimosa conversation) and will not likely be swayed in his desperate attempts to win back his wife.

    Sophie-B KNOWS she is going to be ditched by whichever Ethan ends up leaving and since only one couple can leave.. she schemes with Sophie-A. I doubt it took much persuading since Sophie-A is in love with Ethan-B and doesn’t want to leave anyway… Soooo what’s a girl to do?! All this would most certainly have given Sophie-B huge motivation to want to leave with Ethan-A before Ethan-B had a chance to leave with Sophie-A.

    In the scene where Ethan-A cannot get out of the cabin, Sophie-B proclaims she’d rather be trapped here with Ethan-B, because she loves him, setting the stage and thus enlisting the help of hapless Ethan-A with her plan. She also tells him he is not stuck yet and that she is the one who can help him get out.

    In the scene where Ethan-B is talking with Sophie-A about getting extra bottles of water for their hike, you can clearly see that Sophie-A is nervous and reluctant to go, commenting that perhaps she should go check on Ethan-A. Why is she so nervous and hesitant? Because she is waiting for Sophie-B to show up and set their plan in motion.

    Here enters Sophie-B, claiming she needs to borrow some clothes from Sophie-A as hers are all back at the cabin and she agrees that letting Ethan-A chill his jets is for the best. Once changed and having sent Sophie-A on a mission to get toothpaste and toothbrush with Ethan-A in place in the bathroom, Sophie-B is free to slip downstairs to impersonate Sophie-A and get that one kiss that says it all. She now knows for certain Ethan-B is for sure ditching her and going off with the real Sophie-A.

    The scene near the end where Ethan-A locks himself and Sophie-A in the upstairs room, he almost eloquently explains that as a couple they are a mess, but he loves that mess, and wants that relationship, you can see Sophie’s face become a mixture of joy/confusion/doubt. She is truly moved by her real husbands words… but too little, too late. This to me confirms the magnitude of what the two Sophies were about to do.

    Hearing Ethan-A upstairs talking with Sophie-A, Ethan-B panicked, fearing she would be persuaded to go back to Ethan-A. The women, dressed alike (which could only have worked if they had planned it ahead) now have an opportunity to make the final switch.

    After the brawl between the two Ethans, and Ethan-B races out of the house, Ethan-A leaves the two Sophies alone… it is here, I believe, the switch takes place… as we watch them run out of the house at the end, and knowing that the 2 Sophies have switched places, we now know that the woman on the left is actually Sophie-B, and there is a moment in that scene, when the two Sophies exchange a look… even the slightest of nods (that to me says, ok… I’m leaving with Ethan-1, you can stay with Ethan-2 cause like… you love him and well… no one wants me, so I’m gett’in out of Dodge). Ethan-A clearly thinks he has chosen his real wife, Sophie-A. It is only later, when she offers to make him bacon and eggs that he realizes he’s been duped by Sophie-B… but… what’s a guy to do?!

    Reply
    • Tommy

      You answer your own question. Sophie B outright says she’d rather stay trapped there with Ethan-B. There’s nothing, other than extrapolating your own theory, given to us to show that the Sophies conspired to switch places, and nothing to imply Sophie-B has feelings for Ethan-A. The A’s left, the B’s were stuck there.

      Reply
      • Tommy

        I’ll roll back the certainty of my last comment a little. My belief is that the director intends to make this ambiguous, and while your theory is good, we’re not given anything concrete. Your supposition that they had to be in cahoots to get the same clothes is thin, but what now gives me pause is what *purpose* does them wearing the same clothes have, if not to confuse Ethan-A? At a minimum it would seem Sophie-B intends on confusing someone because she intentionally sets out to put on the same clothes as Sophie-A. However, it still is incongruous to Sophie-B’s character because at no previous time are we let to believe she wants to be with Ethan-A, to the point that she ends up living happily ever after with him.
        So to sum up, I’ll say plausible, but if true, there’s a plot-hole/character inconsistency introduced all of a sudden. We’d need to have been given at least some small hint previously that Sophie-B was entertaining sticking with Ethan-A after firmly stating the opposite shortly before, and that never happens.

  130. AmyLaura

    1. Does anyone see any significance with the Russian dolls? For instance, let’s say there are versions of ourselves..essentially the same person but at different levels of development. Maybe the biggest is the best version of ourselves- the greatest desired qualities, 20% more emotionally involved etc. With the Russian dolls the biggest one was the one with the model looks..What if the guest house is the best version of who SophieA and EthanA want each other to be.

    Now, when EthanA goes in, he’s jealous of SophieAs experience & the guy he could be. He listens to how SophieA describes him sees the qualities she wants.

    However, when he sneaks in & pretends to be EthanB, he knows he can be like him & emulate the traits wanted by SophieA. Yet, he comes back to the normal house and makes no attempt to change. In fact, he puts on his glasses as if to state deliberately he does not want to be that version of himself.

    Now looking at SophieA, she sees EthanB as the person she fell in love with, “wants to stay at the resort” in a happier more content life. This is the Ethan she again is attracted to, to get the ‘magical’ moments again.

    2. Does anyone believe the goal of the resort is to leave/stay with the person to make you fall in love with again? Essentially be happier with the person most ‘in sync’ with them.

    SophieA & EthanB will stay
    EthanB & SophieA will leave

    EthanB ran away, yet what if it was SophieA that did want to stay next tohim. That was the person she fell back in love with at the resort.

    SophieB was not in sync with him anymore and knew EthanA was the only opportunity to leave. This is the one she is happy with and able to leave with.

    Ultimately, SophieA stays at the resort. She knows EthanA can’t tell the SophieA/B apart. Even though he said he wants the ‘real’ Sophie, he won’t change to make SophieA happy. SophieA/B realises this…maybe this is how they can both be happy.

    Reply
    • Tommy

      Re: 1 – I would say no, Ethan-A does not think he can be like Ethan-B, really – he just plays along in desperation to be with his wife, and afterwards is distraught that she would cheat on him with Ethan-B. He knows he can’t continue to pretend he’s something he’s not so he puts his glasses back on and is back to his old self. He knows he can’t confront her about her cheating though because that would be hypocritical and expose him as a liar again.

      Re: 2 – The goal of the resort and the therapist is very mysterious and I don’t think we are given enough in the movie to really come up with anything definite, so I think the director wanted that to be left up to the audience. Therefore your theory – that thru being confronted by the best version of your partner would lead you to realize you’re still in love – is as good as any. However, Sophie-B implies that the are supposed to drive the new couple apart so they can escape. I’m then left wondering about the therapist. Is it instead actually a sick experiment where the therapist is sending people to become trapped and then disappearing/relocating?

      Reply
    • Lindsey

      I agree, Ethan didn’t WANT to be like Ethan2 (though he proved he could). He wants to be himself. And who could blame him? We all want to be loved for who we really are. Who wants to pretend to be something they’re not so someone will love them? That’s what he says at the end; he doesn’t want “perfect”anymore, he wants the messy and real versions of themselves. If he continued to be like Ethan2, that might make Sophie happy and she might happily leave with him like that, but what about HIS happiness? Relationships should be a 50/50 and it’s not fair for him to do all the compromising. He deserves someone who’s willing to work for him too.

      And I love the analogy of the Russian dolls! I didn’t make that connection!

      Reply
      • Taylor Holmes

        Haven’t been around here in a while… you guys have been busy. Such a fantastic movie. I agree with you very much. Of course Ethan doesn’t want to emulate this impostor him. He wants to learn from a view of himself with less care and less concern. He wants to be freed of whatever crap has weighed him down that made him this grumpy tragedy of a human he became. He honestly is sorry for the affair he had. At least, that is how I read it. And he wants to solve the underlying riddle of his own mess.

        But you are right, it can’t be solely him. That would be the definition of a tragedy. If Sophie doesn’t walk his direction, then he’s better off with SophieB (2) whatever method I setup years ago now. I forget. And that is why all my focus has been on Sophie. She had a husband that had an affair. Is she going to forgive him? And yet, at the same time, she technically now has too. No, not even technically… LITERALLY. hahah. But is she going to realize this is a mutual thing? In essence… is she going to make bacon? Obviously bacon isn’t the thing… it’s just a metaphor for the thing. (Which I just killed by saying it out loud. But whatever.) But yeah, I agree. He doesn’t want to be this copy. He wants to be a happy himself.

  131. Rachael

    Thought:

    There are Ethan and Sophie A (who were broken) and Ethan and Sophie B (who are pretending to be the ideal versions).

    If Ethan A and Sophie B are the ones to escape… who is to say Sophie B hasn’t actually truly fallen for him as she saw he was truly loyal and willing to fight for his marriage (her ideal), unlike her husband Ethan B who was disloyal: first to Sophie B by wanting to leave with Sophie A and then disloyal to Sophie A by seemingly suggesting he wasn’t truly in love with her and trying to leave by himself.

    Just a thought!

    Reply
    • Rachael

      I should note I mean pretending to be the idealised versions as 1) this was proven to be insincere as we see Sophie B can be spiteful and confrontational and Ethan B to be selfish and cowardly.

      I also believe this is because they have based all the interpretations from listening to the therapy tapes… hence the need to touch base with the outside world for more information gathering. Ethan B happens to guess right that Sophie A didn’t really want to participate with therapy. However Sophie B isn’t as astute and didn’t pick this up, hence she thinks Ethan. A wants a gentle non confrontations go with the flow version; when in fact he actually wanted Sophie to engage and get to the heart of the issue in the first place (he wants the messy, real, flawed Sophie who he had to persuade into therapy). Each B version was trying to fill in the missing puzzle pieces of what the As wanted based on therapy tapes. Ethan A just happened to get the nail on the head whereas Sophie B misread the situation and scuppeted her chances during her seduction scenes.

      Reply
    • Tommy

      I would say you (or any viewer) is left free to come to that conclusion, however there’s nothing given to us in the movie to indicate that. You would have to subscribe to the theory that Sophie-B (who had just earlier proclaimed her love for Ethan-B) decided in that instant after Ethan-B hit the force field that she all of a sudden now likes Ethan-A, maybe because she sees that has her way to escape. That feels pretty contrived to me, though.

      Reply
  132. Nishad

    1. Why does Ethan B need Ethan A’s clothes but Sophie B doesn’t?
    If they have learnt and adapted so much, why are Ethan A’s clothes important?

    2. Let’s think of the story on a macro level.

    The force field.
    The technology used for simultaneous existence.
    Tedd Danson being unavailable in the end. (Does that mean every time he plays counselor he just leaves his place?)

    What could all this mean? Any theories?

    3. How does Sophie B get a hold of Ethan A’s phone, I mean it wasn’t at a very obvious place to begin with neither did anyone see him keeping it there.

    4. How doesn’t Ethan B react when Sophie A clearly hears Ethan A banging the door? I mean he doesn’t react at all. Does that suggest that since it was just the beginning their simultaneous existence was weaker and going by the rules Ethan B couldn’t have heard Ethan A shouting and banging the door?

    These and many other questions arise. This movie certainly is a beautiful one. So underrated and still hasn’t had as many fans as I’d have hoped for.

    Reply
    • Tommy

      1. I was left confused by the clothes thing. At first, Ethan-A mentions missing a shirt. Later, Sophie-A asks where Ethan-B got his shirt, like she had never seen it before. Her question seems genuine, but maybe it wasn’t and she was trying to see if Ethan-B would admit to stealing it. Regardless she didn’t seem to care whether or not he did.
      2. All those things are left purposefully unexplained as they don’t drive the story and probably wouldn’t be explained very satisfactorily anyway. I would say those theories are to be derived for the mental entertainment of anyone that decides to noodle on them.
      3. We are left to come up with our own explanation for the phone. My take would be that the B’s are able to see what the A’s are doing and when they are coming and going so the B’s saw him hide the phone. Then Ethan-B tampered/deleted the recording and then made some calls with it to find out more about Ethan-A. Sophie-B then gives it back to him the next day.
      4. Because the B’s are pretending to only exist and be present to their A counterparts. You believe this is the case up until they show up in the main house and all four of them are together.

      Reply
  133. Tommy

    Tayor,
    Way way late to the game here, but I felt like making a comment as I hadn’t seen anyone else make this point.

    I just watched this movie and the one comment you didn’t reply to is the one I think is correct – Sleepyhead’s take: Ethan-A leaves with Sophie-A. The bacon thing at the end, however, implies it is Sophie-B. That leaves a couple irreconcilable issues where we are forced to assume something we aren’t shown.

    Per Sleepyhead’s comment, at the end when they run out after Ethan-B hits the force field, Sophie-A and B appear to stay on their respective sides and we are given no reason to think otherwise. Sophie-A has just been freaked out by Ethan-B’s forwardness of trying to get her to leave with him, the fight, and then abandoned by him (Ethan-B) as he makes a break for it. I therefore agree with Sleepyhead that Ethan-A leaves with Sophie-A, as Sophie-B looks down and cries not only about how the Ethan-B that she loves has betrayed her and tried to leave her beind, that now she’s also stuck there with him, again. Sophie-B loves Ethan-B and wants to stay with him even if it means continuing to be stuck there. She doesn’t love Ethan-A, doesn’t sleep with him or flirt with him when the 4 of them are together, the way that Ethan-B does with Sophie-A. All of this (and the points Sleepyhead states), to me, makes much more sense that A leaves with A.

    Now, the bacon ending. To me that scene intentionally makes it look like Ethan realizing he left with Sophie-B, quickly coming to grips with it and accepting it, as sort of a dark reality and more sinister ending. The only way to explain that away as being Sophie-A, is that Sophie-A KNEW that Sophie-B made Ethan-A bacon and he liked that, so because she is happy now she is doing something she knows he likes. That is a stretch, however and it makes the viewer have to make up that explanation to get there. It also feels wrong that Sophie-A would purposely do something she knows Sophie-B did, because that is shallow and Sophie-A is not shallow at all.

    So, to me, the facts of the ‘escape’ make me believe it is Sophie-A, and the facts of the ending seen make me believe it is Sophie-B. Therefore I am left with the director having done that on purpose just to be paradoxical, and that there is no correct answer here. Part of me likes that, but another part of me finds it annoying, like the director/writer is just messing with us to make themselves seem smarter than they are. I prefer a clever plot, but I think this one has left us with things that are incongruent and to me those are plot holes.

    I will agree with you though – movies like this and Continuance are an excellent change of pace from the rest of the sci-fi action explosions in your face movies that are rolled out one after another. While I like those eye-candy movies, 9/10 times they leave me feeling empty, whereas movies like this give you something to chew on.

    Reply
  134. Roy

    Nice review and blog 🙂 Helped clear up a few things (I actually thought Ethan B had died when he hit the forcefield thingy). I especially like how you’re very open when wrong and then fix things. Shows a good growth mindset. Good review, thanks!

    And great film. Would have been interested to see it explained a bit more in the film (the technology and what was actually happening there). But maybe it was too low budget (and I didn’t know it was so low budget til reading this either).

    Good stuff!

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Oh, believe you me Roy, I can point you to a million other examples of when I was much much less of a “growth mindset”! Hahah Trust me, or just ask my wife! hahaha. But the compliment is sweet all the same.

      Yeah, I agree. If they had made it more about the idea of capturing young love, and more about the possibilities, then being vague makes more sense. But the twists of the ending really are sci-fi, deeply science fiction related in fact. Which, usually requires more clarity around the how. But, if you look at the recent Netflix Arq, they didn’t really give us a how did they? Oh, actually they did. Never mind. Arq proves your point. I’m going to shut up now and continue with my original point which was, you are right Roy! hahah.

      Take care mate, and be sure to swing back through.
      Taylor

      Reply
  135. Lindsey

    OK I’m really late to the party, but I’ve only just now watched the movie and I was DYING to discuss it with someone! There are some really great theories and comments here so I really hope I’m not too late to get some conversation on it because this has been such an awesome thread!  *fingers crossed* I’d love to know what you make of my interpretation! Some things I’m just rehashing because they’ve already been discussed at length here, but I’m going to include them anyway because I think it gives weight to my theory. So anyway, here we go!

    OK first, establishing what the entire premise was. I don’t know if it’s magic or aliens or holograms or super advanced technology that creates these “copies”; in fact, I don’t WANT to know what allows everything to happen. The mystery of HOW is better left a mystery because no matter what it is, it’ll sound cheesy if it’s spelled out. In fact, it’s exactly like Sophie complaining how Ethan once ruined an entire magic show for her by explaining how every trick was done. It ruins the effect! But, what IS known is that this isn’t just some alternate dimension with alternate versions of themselves; these are actually 2 completely different people who have somehow just been cloaked to look like them and have been coached to act like them. They were a previous couple who came to the retreat just like Ethan and Sofie did, and they were the ones who ended up trapped the last time around. So I think, based on that, we can safely debunk the robot theory. They’re not custom built machinery, they’re actual people who existed outside of the retreat at some point. We know this because Sophie2 tells Ethan 1:

    _______________________________________________________

    “He fell in love with her. He’s not supposed to fall in love with her, she’s supposed to fall out of love with you, that’s how this works, that’s how we get out.”

    “What the hell are you talking about?”

    “That’s how we become you.”

    “You become us?”

    “Pitting you against each other that’s the best way to break you down. Then it’s your turn to stay. The closer we get to moving on, the more trapped you become.”

    _______________________________________________________

    So it’s obviously a cycle of troubled couples. A couple in marital trouble is sent to the retreat where they encounter another couple who was previously sent to the retreat and subsequently trapped there. That couple is trapped there until another couple comes in, in which it’s the first couple’s job to trap the new couple there so they can presumably do it all over again to the next couple who gets sent. Round and round. The confusion is that they look like clones, but they’re really just entirely different people who’ve somehow been masked to look like them (again, don’t want to know how). There isn’t a lot of argument on that score, but the mention of robots was made so I still wanted to address it. My guess is the “purpose” from a counselors perspective, is that it requires unity and working together “in sync” on a common goal to get out of such a situation, hence “fixing” your marital problems in the process. You continue to stay trapped there until you learn to work together and/or learn to move on from your issues. IF you can manage to trap another couple and escape, then you must’ve bonded together and stated working in sync; you’ve moved past your issues to be able to do so. It’s a complicated task that requires trust and teamwork and unity from its participants. Which is the purpose of any therapy, really. It’s job is to bring you together to function as a whole, a team. But because Ethan 2 is a selfish prick and abandons “his” Sophie, it all goes to shit this time. So the next big question is, which Sophie is the one to escape?

    I sit firmly in the Sophie 2 camp. I don’t think it’s the original Sophie for a couple reasons and they’re all in the finer details. Number 1, I think deciding how the whole thing “works” and what the “rules” are makes a difference. For instance, we know 2 people leave together, but it doesn’t specify that it needs to be the original configuration of people. Meaning: any combination can leave, but it can only be 2. E1 can leave with S2 or S1 can leave with E2, (or maybe even S1 & S2 or E1 & E2- who knows!). We know this because E2 (who was already trapped here and presumably knows the rules of the house) wants to leave with S1 instead of his own Sophie. If swapping partners wasn’t a possibility, he wouldn’t even be trying. That’s not how it’s MEANT to work, but I’m guessing Ted Danson didn’t consider swapping as an option anyone would try, so it’s possible either way. So from this information, the possibility that it even COULD be S2 has been established; just because E1 was the one to get out, it doesn’t mean it HAD to be with his own Sophie.

    Even more than the obvious ending (which I’ll get to), it’s the little details that play into the “rules” of the house that sways me to think it’s S2. S2 says earlier “the closer we get to moving on, the more trapped you become”. She didn’t say “the closer we get to moving on TOGETHER”. So I think it’s as much PERSONAL growth as it is growth as a couple, that allows you to leave. Ideally, the couple would grow and move on together (hence the purpose of it being a couple retreat) but either way “moving on” from whatever issues or flaws that trapped you there in the first place is what enables you to leave. E2 gets hit by the wall because he OBVIOUSLY hasn’t changed and he’s still a selfish prick. Whatever issues he had with his own Sophie would just continue to ruin future relationships because he’s still the exact same toxic person; he’s not changing or “moving on” from his issues so to speak. So he can’t leave. Yeah, he tried to go through alone, but I think it was more than simply not having a partner with him that traps him. He’s proved he’s the exact same asshole with the exact same issues he came with. The house hasn’t worked on him so it’s not letting him leave. He didn’t play the game and you’re not allowed to cheat!

    E1 though, proves his growth when he gives his deceleration to Sophie that he doesn’t want “perfect” anymore. He initially wanted her to get off his back about how he had hurt her, let him be lazy, let him eat bacon, etc because he thinks she’s the problem and SHE is the one who needs to change for them to be happy again. But at the retreat he learns that her submission not really going to make him happy at all, because S2 gives him that and it has no appeal for him. He realizes he needs to make HER happy and meet her needs just as much. For HIM to truly be happy, SHE also should be happy. He realizes her happiness is just as important as his and it requires change from him; change that he is now willing to make. So he’s letting go of his selfish ideals and he’s willing to work for their relationship now. He’s now “moving on” from what was holding him back, hence he is able to leave. He played the game and he played by the rules. So what about the Sophies? Which of them had “moved on”?

    S1 was so attracted to the “other” Ethan the whole time and that indicates to me that she was never getting any closer moving on, or even trying to. Ethan TRIES to sneak in the guest house and figure out what she wants from him to try to be better for her, but she never even thinks of him at all throughout the entire movie. She was still too attracted to the younger, cooler version of Ethan to even think about “her” Ethan. In their earlier therapy sessions, she says happiness used to be so easy and now they’re trying to recreate it and she hates that it’s something that needs to be recreated. That’s her role in why this relationship isn’t working, its because she’s caught up on the past when it was “easy”, and he was goofy, and he said things she wanted to hear, etc. She wants easy and effortless without having to sort through the damage that’s accumulated since then. She spends so much of the movie with E2 because he let’s her have that. She’s far more into the “others” than Ethan is because she’s not really getting any closer to letting the “old” version of Ethan go. She doesn’t even try because the fantasy still much too tempting to her. She doesn’t even think about how her role in their relationship has played a part in its troubles. Ethan spends the movie sorting through himself and what went wrong that lead them here, she just spends it ignoring the problems and engaging in the fantasy with E2. She’s still too hung up on that idea of him to do any growing or changing at all; she’s not moving on, even all the way up to the end. She’s only ever separated from E2 because she was tricked and then because E2 makes a break for it, not because she comes to an independent decision to on her own. She has a moment of confusion after E1 makes his declaration to her, but it’s still not enough to officially turn away E2. She’s STILL too tempted by what he offers to say “No, I want MY Ethan. You can take a hike”. Her silence and sudden refusal to go with E2 is not the same thing as definitively cutting him off. She likes what E1 is finally saying to her now so she’s momentarily shocked into silence, but SHE didn’t make any change or have any realization the way he did. E1 is making compromises for their relationship, but what changes or compromises is she making? What moment of self reflection did she have? She still doesn’t have enough self awareness to see her part in this or to see her own flaws. She still thinks Ethan was the problem all along. Where is her personal growth? What did she learn? She shares the same selfish tendencies that E2 has; she wants Ethan to say these nice things to her and offer what she wants without putting in any work or effort herself. That’s not changing or moving on at all! She’s still “trapped” by her lack of growth. That means she’s more inclined to be the Sophie that gets trapped; the house hasn’t worked on her or helped her anymore than it has helped E2. If he can’t pass through, presumably neither could she.

    Sophie 2, however, has a realization that her Ethan is never going to change when she tricks him and he accidentally admits to her he really wants to be with S1 instead of her. All this time she’s been clinging to him even though he didn’t return her devotion. She was trapped because she kept going back to him and repeating the same behavior. She kept willingly circling the drain with him because she keeps deluding herself into thinking that, even though he’s not “good” to her, he still really does love her. But when he admits that he wants to leave her behind for S1, she FINALLY realizes that he’s never going to return her love and he’s a son of a bitch. This emboldens her and she finally decides she’s done. She’s finally ready to move on. Not with him, but FROM him. Either way, she’s still growing and changing and therefore, less inclined to be the one trapped. So it seems just in terms of personal growth, between the two Sophies, S2 is more apt to be the one to go free. She’s finally realized her self worth and gained the confidence and self respect needed to leave him. She has no baggage or hang ups anymore for her to stay; she’s free from the burdens that once trapped her there. Further leading me to believe, just by logistics of it, she’s the one who left. If either of the two Sophies had made a bigger change or “moved on” from personal issues, it was definitely her. Those who are figuratively “trapped” within themselves get trapped literally, those who are figuratively “free” are freed in the literal sense. Like E1, she spends the entire movie on a gradual journey of realization and growth. So it just makes sense to me that they would be the two who were allowed to leave.

    Now to the bacon. The bacon at the end was the most obvious clue that people notice, if nothing else. But even in that scene, it’s more was his reaction to the bacon that tips me off. The argument from the other half who thinks it’s S1, seems to be that her offering to make bacon is just to signify that she’s changed and trying to be a better partner by allowing him bacon now. Their time in the house taught her to be more open minded and that she needed to let go of things; disallowing bacon was one of those things. It’s showing us how the therapy worked and brought them back to making each other happy again instead of selfishly focusing on their own idea of what “happy” should look like. But, as I said, we don’t see that from her at the retreat. She makes no promises to compromise or work on their relationship. There’s nothing to suggest she made a change at all. Ethan giving her a pretty speech is not the same thing as HER changing like this. And his reaction isn’t one of happy surprise, it’s more shock and realization. If it was S1 just doing something kind for him, wouldn’t he react with a knowing smile or some indication that he appreciates her renewed kindness? Instead we see him shocked. Shocked because he didn’t expect this from her. And we see him realizing that something is out of place about it. You can almost hear his internal thought process in his actions: “Wait, what? (Stunned silence)… Oh god, is that not my Sophie? (Looking back at the bed and remembering their encounter)…. Oh well, this is working anyway (getting up and going to her)…”. His last moment is basically just resignation to the whole thing and deciding to roll with it.

    Also, their entire conversation before that is telling, to me. He’s talking about how she stole all his covers in bed. It’s like it’s a topic of conversation worth him mentioning to her because it’s new and she’s never done that before. Or at least that was my take away from it. My husband and I used to discuss his snoring or talking in his sleep when it was new to me, but I don’t even mention it anymore because I’m used to it now. Who wants to have that same conversation every morning? We both know he does it, it’s a dead topic now. So my interpretation is that he’s talking about it because it’s new and she’s never done that before. Why has she never done that before? Because she’s an entirely different person! Even if S1 was trying to be a better partner by making bacon, that wouldn’t change her sleeping habits. So that to me, that further indicates its S2, who has entirely different characteristics and mannerisms. It also makes him pointedly looking back at the bed and recalling their conversation more meaningful. He looks stunned at the offer of bacon and then looks back on that whole blanket stealing conversation as if to answer his own confusion. It now makes sense to him. He was confused she offered bacon, he was confused she slept like that that last night, but the two together puts it in perspective for him.

    The question I have throughout all of this though, is if these are just two normal people, where do they disappear to? Or how do they do it? Immediately they just vanish when the “original copy” walks in. E2 was in bed with Sophie when Ethan barges in and E2 is just gone. Poof. Same with the bacon (and all the dishes she dirtied to make them). How do they just blink out of existence if they’re just normal people? We know they can’t leave the house so it’s not like they snuck out the back. Where do they go??

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Holy Mary Moses and Joseph Lindsey… write much?
      Seriously think you need to apply to the president of THinc. for a writer job here on the site. I have come and gone over the past couple years as to which Sophie ended up with Ethan at the end. There is evidence on both sides of the argument. And there is so much that one can read in to from either angle.

      As for the question you asked at the end – where do they go? No where. They stay there. They then become duplicates of the next couple that arrives. And they look in the mirror and go, oh holy cow. And if they are motivated to leave, which, they will be, they will lie, connive, convince the new spouse that they are their match, and then they can leave.

      Right?
      Taylor

      Reply
      • Lindsey

        Haha! You’re not kidding! I guess I just like to hear myself talk. A glimpse at my blog would probably confirm that 😉 I think I’m just trying to prove to myself (and everyone else) it’s Sophie 2 because my husband disagrees! haha

        So I’m still confused though, while they’re still stuck in the house, do they just become invisible while their counterpart is in the guest house or something?? Sophie says “you’re in there right now exercising!” But when Ethan goes in to check, E2 isn’t there anymore. He vanishes without a trace every time Ethan goes into the house. (Same with the Sophie’s) So in that moment that Ethan is inside the guest house, where is E2? We know he’s trapped in the house and can’t leave, but when Ethan searched he was no where to be found. Where is he?

      • Taylor Holmes

        We do know for a fact, that when out of love the original couple are relegated to the guest house and cannot move about freely. And conversely when in love, they spend their time at the house and have the run of the place. Right? They said so.

        As for the disappearing, I just assumed he/she just walked out when about to confront themselves. Saved on movie magic complexity that way. Less blue screen necessary. But seriously, I just assumed they left. No? It’s been a while since I’ve seen it.

    • Catherine

      All great points. I wrote my post before I read yours, and I have a different take on the ending, but I really enjoyed reading your analysis of the film. I think the question of where the dishes and the breakfast go is important. I think the movie changes its intent; at first, there’s something magical, but at the end, it’s somehow more mundane: 2 people acting. Perhaps this is another take on romance. At first, we think: magic! In time, the magic subsides, if not dies. So, I think he’s with Sophie A at the end. One reason is that whatever is cloaking the doppelgangers would only work at the retreat, and then when they left the retreat, they would return to their true selves. But the woman at the end looks like Sophie, so she is Sophie; that is, Sophie 1.

      Reply
  136. Catherine

    Reading the interview with the director, I think that Ethan A left with Sophie A. I remember him saying that this was the only ending that made sense. What I think he is saying is that it’s the only ending that makes sense in a cinematic way. That is, this is the ending in which we see the characters grow. If Sophie B tricks Sophie A, there is no change in characters; Ethan A is just tricked and goes with it, but that doesn’t make sense in terms of his growth. Why would he accept the fake Sophie when he’s made so many protestations to the contrary during the movie? But if Sophie A realizes that she loves the difficult Ethan A, instead of the fake and charming–but kind of evil–Ethan B, she shows growth, tremendous growth where she realizes that she should embrace her husband’s flaws, and eating bacon is one of his flaws. Ethan A has grown because he has become more of a “man;” that is, fighting for his wife and becoming more actively engaged in the relationship. There is one problem with the movie for me which is the question of leaving. Do you fix your marriage and stay behind, or does your marriage break apart and you stay behind? I’m not sure which version would account for the comments in the guest books.

    Reply
  137. Brandon

    Hi. In the scene where EthanA confronts SofieB, she tells him “it’s not the first time” and she knows because “she’s his wife”.

    But she doesn’t literally have all her memories, so how does Thisbe make sense. And what is she referring to anyway?

    Thanks for a great home for discussions about awesome movies.

    Reply
  138. Alex Chaney

    After watching this movie for at least the sixth time now, I’ve been reaffirmed of my gut feeling the first time the movie ended; Ethan A ends up with Sophie B. Because the actual legitimate ending of this movie is up to speculation, one must come to a conclusion based off of what is offered. During my last watch-through of this movie I began to think Sophie A and Ethan A ended up leaving with each other purely based off of where they were positioned as Ethan B knocks himself out trying to escape. Presumably Sophie B leaves the door first as she was closest to the door when Ethan B runs out after his “fight” with Ethan A. Going with this scenario, we end up having Sophie B on the right, and Sophie A on the left…which means That Ethan A leaves with Sophie A.

    Being that I’ve been convinced of the Ethan A/Sophie B theory on all of my previous watch-throughs, I was somewhat disappointed that my gut feeling was proven wrong based off of what was presented at the (near) end of the feeling. But alas, my gut feeling was proven right by the ending of this film. Though I see where advocates of the Ethan A/Sophie A theory are coming from when it comes to Sophie A cooking Ethan A bacon as a sign that she’s willing to try on her part, I find that Ethan A’s body language in the final scene is pivotal in determining which Sophie came back with him.

    Based purely off of Mark Duplass’ acting in this final scene, I think it is only plausible that Ethan A leaves with Sophie B, as the Sophie A scenario doesn’t quite add up to the reaction that he has. As She offers up bacon as a possibility, we see him immediately remember when Sophie B made him bacon in the beginning of the movie. He then begins to piece everything together, as he realizes that it really is odd that Sophie stole his blankets at night when she has NEVER done that before. We then see him contemplating the Sophie B theory and his body language goes from a shocked to almost sullen/mourning posture. He then has a solid 10 seconds or so where he stares in Sophie’s direction, processing how he feels about this recent discovery. We then see Ethan break out of his trance and begins to put his glasses back on as he say’s to himself (it definitely wasn’t loud enough for it to be heard by Sophie) that “He’ll be right there”. Because of how this last scene played out, I think we are left with two scenario’s to choose from:

    -Ethan A ends up with Sophie B, accepting that things are seemingly better with her (and not to mention that Sophie A stays with Ethan B in this scenario, which makes accepting Sophie B much easier).

    OR

    -It doesn’t matter which Sophie came back with Ethan, because either way the Sophie he ends up with will essentially be a “new” Sophie. Whether it’s Sophie A or Sophie B, both will present the same positive qualities from this point forward due to what they both experienced in the house. Because of this, Ethan could of came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter which Sophie he is with, as they are one in the same after finding out that Ethan B was a douche-nozzle.

    This really is one of my favorite movies, and I would invite anyone who has watched this movie and reads this to watch the movie “Comet” on Netflix. Love the discussion guys!

    Reply
  139. De Advocate

    I liked this one so much I watched it twice in a few days. I know that Ethan A got out, he was the only constant in the film. I am not 100% sure which Sophie came back with him. My wife posited that Sophie A (claiming to be Sophie B) was the one who spilled the beans to Ethan A at the end just so she could switch and stay with Ethan B. It got me thinking. But then, in the end it really doesn’t matter which Sophie left with Ethan A. The Sophie that left was the one who wanted to go. Otherwise the other Sophie would have left or at least tried to. There was plenty of time for her to absorb the situation and say something to them as they left. But we are given clues throughout the movie that Sophie A was falling in love with Ethan B.
    Ethan got the one who really wanted to be with him even if it wasn’t Sophie A.
    Why the heck Ethan B decided to screw it and then run smack into the barrier, where did he think he was going anyway? He clearly knew the rules right? He was so stable and level headed up until then.
    The only confusing thing is how the B’s transformed and if it was Sophie B, will she stay that way?
    I really thought this was going to be some transcendent experience for Ethan and Sophie so as the other couples (the B’s) would teach them some lesson by being the ‘perfect’ versions of them, and then they would learn to love each other and work through their issues. Man, it really threw me when they sat down with each other. That’s when I knew it was going in another direction!

    Reply
  140. De Advocate

    Catherine, dang it…now I am back to confused again. I was sure it was Sophie B. But, if you look at all the clues we are given, we know Ethan A does not engage with Sophie B at any level other than to confront her about being fake. We slowly see Sophie A fall in love with Ethan B and she clearly communicates this to Ethan. I am not sure what Ethan B wants. Sophie B loves Ethan B but remember they were the previous couple with marital problems. That’s why they are stuck in the guest house.
    Sophie B loves Ethan B but it breaks her heart when Ethan B thinks she is Sophie A and tells her he wants to leave with her. We see it break her heart and then he sees it too and knows it is Sophie B. I think that is when she finally realizes she needs to leave with Ethan A. Sophie A has been falling for Ethan B all along and so stays.
    That’s my answer and I a m sticking to it. (You can’t argue with bacon anyway…)

    Reply
  141. Ari

    Great acting. I breezed through all that because I wanted to check if anyone commented on the final conversation about the covers.

    “It was full on grand theft covers, look at this, come see.”
    “I need a visual.”
    “You were basically a Tootsie Roll, wrapped up, rolled over on to your side, and you abandoned me on the other side of the bed. And, I froze my titties off all night.”
    “Oh no, I’m so sorry.”
    “That’s what you did to me, YOUR HUSBAND.”
    “That’s so horrible.”
    “It really is.”
    “What kind of A WIFE is that?”
    “I don’t know, you’re awful, you owe me big time.”

    I know that talking about yourself in third person could be a form of humor and emphasis using sarcasm, but in this case I think it was intentional. I’d like to know if this was seeded by the creative team or totally improvised. While watching, I thought they were both already aware that it was Sophie B that got out and that Ethan A was filling her in with some past memory he’s shared with Sophie A.

    After going through the comments, I can concede the bigger possiblity that they were talking about something that just happened last night. But, in my mind, it could never be Sophie A that got out. Still, I’d like to hear what the creative team has to say.

    Reply
    • Ari

      Apparently, the last 30 minutes was fully scripted according to the interview. Great last scene. Just before Ethan concedes to his fate and said, “I’ll be right there,” the end credits theme started playing. “While I’m far away from you my baby….” And, there lies the answer to all my (our) questions.

      Reply
  142. DJ

    I think ethan b leaves with Sophie b but intended to leave with Sophie 1. It’s a reach, but presumably Ethan b knew the rules, so why would he try to run away at the end by himself. I think everything switched when Ethan A stalked Sophie A and pretended to be Ethan B to see if she would have sex with him. After Ethan A realizes that Sophie A is all the way into Ethan B he steals Ethan Bs identity (characteristics) to reclaim Sophie As love. He remains in the guest house pretending to be Ethan B forcing Ethan B to assume the identity of Ethan A. At the end when Sophie B kisses him with her eyes wide open, Ethan A(pretending to be Ethan B) says you’re not Sophie. Ethan B would know Sophie B as somebody completely different than Sophie so why would he choose that fiction, why would he not say, why are you pretending to be Sophie, or drop the characters original name, saying, “Your not Sophie, your so and so.” Then after the fight Ethan A(still pretending to be Ethan B) says screw all of you, and runs tries to escape, but Ethan B would know already that there is no way to escape without at least one other person. It baffles me that he would try to leave alone. The movie tricks us into believing that Sophie A and B are the ones we should be paying attention to (like a magic trick), when really what we should be watching is The battle between Ethan A and Ethan B attempting to assume each other’s identity to win the heart of Sophie A. Like I said, it’s a reach, but it works in my mind lol

    Reply
  143. Tony

    I liked your synopsis and explanation of the ending. However, there were a couple things that I feel need correcting. Your rule #3, “When the A couple are fixed, the B couple can leave.” That is just not true. The entire point is that couple A need to be driven apart. Couple B is supposed to have fixed their relationship during their imprisonment, and are supposed to drive couple A apart so that they can take their place and leave the estate.

    Now, your rule #2, “Sophie-A and Ethan-A cannot inhabit the same building together as an Other”, I don’t think is true. I believe that the “others” simply played it that way to further their goal of driving them apart. Otherwise, what is the reasoning for that rule being allowed to be broken later on? I do not, however, have any idea as to how they were able to seemingly reset the house instantaneously (like getting rid of bacon smell so fast).

    The “others” are indeed guests #6, and that is what they looked like. Imagine that the movie ended differently, everything worked the way it was supposed to, and couple A is now trapped. When the next guests come, the last picture in the book will be that of Couple B (or guests #6), but after they had transformed into Couple A (or guests #7). So assuming chronological order, The last picture accurately represents what the currently trapped couple looks like.

    Something I don’t understand though, what is the requirement for being able to leave. The movie seems to imply that once your relationship is fixed, and the other is broken, you are able to leave. So in that sense, the stronger relationship can leave, right? Well who had the stronger relationship? I would definitely say that goes to Ethan B and Sophie A, but then Ethan B was prevented from leaving.

    If it does work like that, then obviously Ethan A left with Sophie A. But then you got the bacon scene, which doesn’t make any sense unless that is actually Sophie B. So what’s going on?

    Reply
  144. Morteza Haghani

    So I wanted to ask one thing. The data that the doubles have on the visitors (originals) came from therpay sessions right? We find that out from the recordings that Ethan plays from previous couples. So if that is true Ethan could have easily find out that she is the real sophie or the double one that came with him, like from a memory or a dialogue from the past that hasn’t been shared in therapy sessions. I think the last scene shows us two things, first is that it brought back that memory from the retreat center which wasn’t a pleasant one and second is at the very end he finds out that she is her true wife that now is completely accepting him…

    Reply
  145. Mara

    OH people, I’m stuck in the movie. I cannot stop thinking about it.
    What’s the explanation? Which Sophie goes home?
    Maybe the purpose is no matter which one, it matters happiness.
    This movie freaks me out much more Mulholland Drive by David Lynch.
    Oh god!
    Crazy greetings from South Italy

    Reply
  146. Love

    I really enjoyed this film. It makes a refreshing change to all the comic book, action, romance, vampire, tween-type films out there most of which I do enjoy but it’s nice to watch something a bit different every now and then.

    Reply
  147. S.

    I am so blown away by this discussion that I feel I can’t sleep!!

    I think Real Ethan left with Fake Sophie. And I think this happened because they both broke their OWN relationship pattern. He confronted his actions, took responsibility and chose for Real Sophie (bathroom talk) and Fake Sophie because she was able to leave behind the person who clearly showed didn’t love her (Fake Ethan, by choosing Real Sophie and later choosing “for himself” and attempting to run). I think Fake Ethan wasn’t allowed to leave because he was repeating his pattern of cheating/leaving and that Real Sophie stayed because this is how she deals with relationships: she sticks around, even though her partner doesn’t treat her with respect (Real Ethan cheating and Fake Ethan attempting to abandon her) and because she is still doing what she did before, idealizing a person that doesn’t exist and focusing on that. The only thing I can’t decide is if I believe them to be totally different couples, or only 2 different versions of the same couple. “Fake” Ethan and Sophie being either an idealized version of each partner, or maybe how they used to be when they first met. Him, cool, charming and self secure – her, easy-going, pleasing etc. Although I like the idea for it all being only a metaphor (and them, the same couple in 2 different stages) I find this hard to really believe when they show the computer files with the pictures and audios of other couples learning to be themselves. But then again, I find it also hard to buy them being 2 different couples due to the “bacon smoke” and the way they could appear and disappear so fast in the guest house. I’m not questioning the therapist and his empty office so much because I do not find this very important, as I am not into the sci-fi, complot kind of theory.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      I 100% agree with you. 100% for every reason you gave. I love the acknowledgement of failure and desire to change as being core to your theory.

      I haven’t thought since day one of writing this post that Real Sophie made it out, and it was primarily for this thought logic. Ethan acknowledged his failings. And was desperate to try and make it work. And here is Sophie sleeping around on him in the middle of therapy?!?! Sure, extenuating circumstances whatever. She knew what she was doing.

      Thanks for the comment S… and not to get weird on you, but do you live in Amsterdam per chance? (noticed your email address domain). I absolutely adore that city. Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh alone are reason enough to fly in.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment,
      Taylor

      Reply
  148. Nathaly Araujo

    But, are they robots? Whats with the recordings Ethan-A found and the weird voices?

    Reply
  149. Emma

    This is fascinating! The movie has a Black Mirror vibe to it. If you haven’t watched that series you absolutely should, you can find them on Netflix.

    Anyway, in regards to the confusion surrounding the Counselor pulling a disappearing act when Ethan A and Sophie return to his office, in my opinion, it makes perfect sense for him to do that.

    Think of it this way, the guy is essentially conducting social experiments on unwitting couples and holding them captive against their will, it would be unwise of him to stay operating in one location for long periods of time because it increases the risk of him being caught by the authorities, not to mention the high possibility of his previous victims seeking him out for revenge once they’ve successfully escaped (they may have agreed to work with him to transform themselves into the next couple’s dopplegangers, but it’s not like they have a choice in the matter because they’re literally stuck in the retreat until they comply and successfully carry out the mission that the counselor has given them). If I was forced to endure something like that I’d absolutely seek out revenge once I’d escaped.

    Perhaps the reason the counselor has successfully carried out his “therapy” so many times is that they’ve never caught him, plus no one would believe his victims anyway because it would sound like the ramblings of a madman. Combine those two factors together and he can continue on with his science experiments indefinitely.

    If you want to take it even further down the rabbit hole, perhaps the Counselor himself uses his transformation technology to take on different physical identities to avoid detection… which would also lend some credence to the comment about the Counselor’s voice sounding different in one of the recordings.

    Reply
  150. Cynthia

    This discussion has been going on for almost four years now! Wow.

    I tend to agree with S. and Lindsey’s theory: the ones who leave (Ethan A and Sophie B) should be the ones who were able to abandon old patterns, to “renew” themselves. But…

    Even though I kind of enjoyed the movie, I also agree with Jason Olshefsky: it has a storytelling problem. The sci-fi/fantasy aspect seems to have been inserted merely to confuse the audience. No theory can “solve” it not because it is complex, but because it is random. Depending on the scene, the doubles (Ethan B and Sophie B) could be understood as anything: robots, clones, common people somehow transformed to look like other people… Witches, angels, cyborgs, spirits, holograms, imagination, Freudian dolls. Well, anything you like.

    That is not the main issue, however. Their existence could be simply inexplicable, like the appearance of the Death in “The Seventh Seal”. But the film does try to explain, mainly through the computer files and Sophie B’s discourse to Ethan A (the “able to move on” explanation). And it gives “clues” too, like the bacon smell, the sudden disappearance of the doubles inside the Guest House, Ethan A’s phone being unable to record, the theft of clothing pieces, family members and friends being reached to answer questions about Ethan A’s past, the locked doors and windows when Ethan A wants to get out, the therapist’s empty office… BUT these clues don’t take us anywhere, as this 200-posts discussion clearly shows. Because they don’t follow a pattern, there is no “goal” behind them.

    Despite of Shelby’s comment to Olshefsky’s observation, no, it’s not true that this randomness applies to every intricate film AT ALL!! Memento, The Prestige, Vertigo, Interstellar and even Mulholland Drive (which has a surreal aspect to it), among many others, are all solvable puzzles. They don’t break Aristotle’s concept of likelihood: the world created within the fiction piece has to make sense according to its own rules.

    With “The One I Love”, we can barely understand the rules (are there really any rules?), much less follow them.

    The ending is also not ambiguous like in “The Shinning”, “Black Swan”, “Taxi Driver” or whatever. Not knowing if it is Sophie A or B is more of an annoying doubt (hence wanting to contact the director, hehe) than a window to various insights. Who would have the nerve to call Kubrick “hey, has Jack always been the caretaker”? Haha. We KNOW that he built the ending to be exactly what it is. In the case of “The One I Love”… I guess it does cross our minds that it can simply be the result of bad choices in writing and direction. This is why we feel like “closing” the matter, instead of appreciating its openess.

    Removing a couple of scenes would have helped a lot, in my opinion. Ethan A finding out the therapist voice-coaching the Bs and the not-being-able-to-record thing add a sci-fi note that makes the film a little silly.

    Now, the metaphorical side of the couples’ interactions — that we shouldn’t idealize our partner so much; that the magic from the beginning won’t be recreated, but new good things may come if you allow them to come; that we should be able to change and recognize our mistakes — is truly nice. And the acting is very good too.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.