Ending of Movie Miss Sloane Discussed and Unpacked
Miss Sloane is a political crack pot thriller of the Sorkin variety with a target on the back of the second amendment... maybe?
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Ending of Movie Miss Sloane Discussed and Unpacked

I’m going to be 100% honest here. I just watched Miss Sloane – and I’m still a little unclear what happened. But, (and I actually do this a lot… shhhh) as I talk through a movie, it usually becomes more clear, what exactly, just happened. I’ll be honest, Miss Sloane is a complicated movie with a ton of moving parts. And I would actually go so far as to say that it isn’t actually a political movie but rather more of a heist movie. You know, one of those movies that make you go… oh. OH. uh. oh?  OhhHHHhh. nope. hrm. AHh!

You know the kind.

So all that to say, if you haven’t seen Miss Sloane yet, I’d recommend it for those of you that love political thrillers. And it’s a MUST watch if you even know who Aaron Sorkin is. Basically it follows a lobbyist as she tilts at the gun lobby windmill and does absolutely anything and everything to win. Jessica Chastain plays a woman that is out for blood by always playing her ace after the other side has played their ace, over and over again. So yeah, I actually adored this movie. But it is a mental work out to keep up with. And for me to say that? Hahahah. This movie won’t be for absolutely everyone. Boy did I enjoy it though.

See? Great movie. Definitely a must see. Hard as nails movie. Alright now though, I’d prefer to chat with those of you who have already seen it. K? So if you haven’t yet? Cease, desist. Go. Shoo.

The Internal Workings of the Movie Miss Sloane

As I said above, this thing has been constructed like a bank heist movie, not a political thriller. We have a mark. And we have a tight knit group of con-men that are working together towards their trophy. And none of this is clear ahead of time. None of it. To make matters worse, the movie starts at the end, goes to the beginning, goes deeper into the ending and the leaps backwards to the middle. So we think we know what is happening at the end, but we really don’t know anything at all.

The writer for this movie is a man by the name of Jonathan Perera. Right. TOTALLY LOVE HIM TOO?!? Nope. You have never heard of him because he’s never written anything before and comes out swinging with a half court shot out of nowhere. Like an Aaron Sorkin walk and talk 10. This kid Jonathan actually wrote Miss Sloane cold, on his own – while teaching English in Korea. (Ok, sure, he was a lawyer earlier on, which ups his success percentage from .0001% to .00015%. So there is that. And I have to say, that I have ALWAYS wanted to write a film script. Now, if only I had a story like Miss Sloane to tell! hahah. Anyway, the internal workings of this movie are more like a safe than any other movie you’ve ever seen. So when watched it the first time, I’m sure, you were caught off guard when the end rolled around. I sure was anyway.

Miss Sloane Movie High Level Plot

I normally dive really deeply on movies and the ins and outs of what happened and how they worked. But this time? I plan to just give the skeletal overarching structure of what is going on. Just enough so that when we talk through the ending in detail we have a half decent idea of what it is that I’m talking about. Cool? Great. (“NO!! DIVE DEEEP!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!??” whatever.) But I have read the script just because I adored the banter so very much (thankfully it was blacklisted, and was easily available. You too can find it out here.) and am already wondering how succinct I’ll be able to be. (Succinctness is not a skill I have.)

The movie kicks off with Miss Sloane in trouble. We know she’s in trouble because she is talking to her lawyer and giving us the keys to the entire movie without giving anything away: “Lobbying is about foresight. About anticipating your opponent’s moves and devising countermeasures. The winner plots one step ahead of the opposition, and plays her trump card just after they play theirs.” And quickly we learn that she is being investigated by a Senate Investigation Commission. But why?!?

Well, to understand that, we need to jump backwards in time 7 months to Sloane’s time at Cole, Kravitz and Waterman LLP. Because it is while there that she gets tipped by a firm that wants to hire her to take on the gun lobby. And it’s while there that Sloane talkes 75% of her team to leave with her to tackle the 2nd amendment. Oh not to change the country for better, but to win an argument no one has ever won before. A true David and Goliath story. Oh, and by the way, one of the team members she leaves behind? Her name is Jane. Remember her name. She’ll become important again soon enough. But before we leave our dear Jane, I wanted to include this amazing banter as proof to why I think we may have found a Sorkin Sequel (oh, he just got so nicknamed like right now.)

JANE – So a Congressman can technically get rich by sponsoring bills that screw foreign governments and wait for them to buy him off?

ELIZABETH – That’s a little too much work for a class of people who exempt themselves from insider trading laws.

JANE – You see? This is why I’m thinking about post-grad.

ELIZABETH – Jane, we go to school because it prepares us for the real world. You happen to find yourself at the sharp end of the real world at the age of twenty-nothing.

JANE – I’m not so sure I like the ‘real world.’

Cut to Peterson Wyatt, the “boutique law firm with a bi-partisan Government Affairs division” where Sloane has stolen away to with her old team from Cole, Kravitz and Waterman. But now? They are going to try and do the impossible, they are trying to get Heaton-Harris passed on the Hill. Oh and by the way, they need at least 34 members of Congress to flip in order to make it happen.

So the ducking and weaving begins. Peterson Wyatt begins advertising, canvassing, talk shows, etc. Sloane begins pushing Esme Manucharian as the face of their grass roots movement. But eventually Cole, Kravitz, and Waterman want a go at Sloane herself. And she demurs until, she finally agrees to a prime time debate between the two lobbying firms. During which debate, Sloane completely off message and starts downplaying the Constitution completely. And then, to Esme’s horror, Sloane tells the world that Esme was in the closet hiding during the most famous high school mass shooting in history. (Can’t remember the name of the high school they used, and it isn’t in the script, but it is obviously a stand in for Columbine.) A few days later, a maniac with a gun is about to kill Esme, but is killed by someone with a concealed carry. And the downward spiral starts.

Cole, Kravitz, etc. decides that in order to win they will need to go after Sloane herself, and find ethics charges to bring her down. And the firm, which Sloane used to work for begins digging – lead by Jane… you know THE JANE? – through all their files looking for anything and everything to take her down with. (Please, I’m 1200 words in at this point in my “short” overview… I know I am leaving scads and scads of details out here. You would be shocked at the emails I get pointing all the erroneous details I get wrong as I desperately try to get to the point.) And sure enough, at the beginning of the movie, they were working on the Palm Oil lobby and offered a trip to a congressman in order to secure his vote. And Jane found the paperwork, with Jane’s handwriting on it.

Cut back to the Senate Hearing we started the movie with. And now we start to see that the Senate has some pretty serious dirt on Sloane. We know that she has considered utilizing ex-NSA guys in order to track, and bug (literally) Senators to harass them into voting the right direction on the Heaton bill. We know that the Senate Hearing has this inappropriate travel approval with Sloane’s handwriting all over it. And then the committee marches in Sloane’s male prostitute… right? This is going all kinds of pear-shaped at this point. And more importantly, their 34 votes necessary to pass the bill are rapidly rapidly rapidly disappearing. Right? Elizabeth Sloane is not only going to lose this fight for the Heaton-Harris bill, she is also going to go to jail.

But at the back of our collective brains – rings the quote from the beginning of the movie… “Always play your ace after they have played theirs.” How though? What possible play could she actually have up her sleeve still? Nothing. She’s got nothing. There is no way she’s going to get Heaton passed. Right? Wrong.

Miss Sloane Ending Explained

Alright, FINALLY. I’m at the bit I’ve been wanting to talk about. All the rest has just been the framework to actually discuss this last bit coherently. As the Senate Hearing concludes its railing against Elizabeth Sloane, they offer her the opportunity to make any final comments that she may like to make. Which, would prove to be the hearing’s downfall.

Sloane opens by talking about how she broke the ethics code by how she treated her co-workers and her friends. She talks about her failures due to her desire to win. That it was her drive for success that caused he to blindly attack and do whatever she could in order to win.

And then she starts to disclose that she understood that Cole, Kravitz, and Waterman would do anything to win as well. Including tarring and feathering her in an attempt to discredit her, and dismantling their campaign to pass Heaton. And so she had certain susceptible Congressmen surveiled to see if the lobbyist team would bribe the member into convening a hearing on her. And sure enough, they did. And sure enough, ladies and gentlemen, our esteemed head of the committee Congressman Sperling was bribed into convening this exact hearing. Mayhem ensues. Simultaneously, Jane hands in her notice… “I don’t think this is hardly the time Jane.” “Uh, no, I think this is exactly the time…” The note in the envelope reads:

Page one – “A conviction lobbyist can’t only believe in her ability to win”

Page two – “For services rendered Peterson Wyatt offers you $0”

Now to understand this – remember back to the quote that Sloane gives to the head of Peterson, Wyatt as he is pitching her to come on board. Sloane says: “A conviction-lobbyist never cheats; she exposes cheaters.” Right? So page one is a reference to this idea… not only do conviction lobbyists need to believe… they need to win. They need to close the deal for the betterment of their conviction, for their moral end. Pretty simple.

But what about that second page? Remember that Jane’s firm’s name is Cole, Kravitz, and Waterman. Jane is saying, she now works for Peterson Wyatt. And not only that, but Cole, Kravitz, and Waterman were the ones that allowed them to win on the Heaton bill. It was because of their ruthlessness against Sloane that allowed Sloane to win. But you know what, although you helped us greatly… we owe you nothing for that help. Right? Does that make sense?

Miss Sloane Movie Ending to Eleven

I got all that as the movie turned off. But I didn’t understand the timeline. I didn’t get Jane thing. I didn’t understand their connection. I didn’t understand the relationship between Cole and between Peterson. But as I was writing this it clicked. And I think the best way to explain that bit of trivia I will do a high level timeline of the movie in chronological order, which will clarify a number of things pretty quickly I think.

  1. Sloane and team are working at Cole, Kravitz, and Waterman on Palm Oil or something
  2. The head of the gun lobby comes to Cole and pitches to have Sloane run their ANTI-Heaton push
  3. Sloane refuses and ridicules the head of the gun lobby
  4. The head of Cole flips out completely because he wants the business
  5. Mean time the head of Peterson, Wyatt pitches Sloane on fighting for Heaton
  6. Sloane connects the dots immediately and has an epiphany
  7. Sloane pulls Jane aside and says, I’m going to leave, you are going to stay. Jane agrees.
  8. They have the conversation in the bathroom about the Palm Oil stuff and how they are going to slick a Congressman by sending him on a trip.
  9. Jane and Sloane draft up the paperwork to send the Congressman
  10. Sloane announces to the team she is leaving, and offers to let her team come if they want
  11. Most go with Sloane, but Jane stays as they agreed
  12. Sloane starts tearing it up over at Wyatt knowing that its just chum in the water for Cole & company
  13. Sloane uses her ex-NSA team to surveil key Congress people
  14. They catch George DuPont of Cole on video bribing Congressman Sperling
  15. She reveals the tape at the hearing proving that Cole, Kravitz, and Waterman were unethical
  16. Sloane says nothing about how the trip was just done to catch Cole & company
  17. Sloane serves 4 to 6 months for unethical travel inducements instead of 5 years for perjury

So many of these details were never said within the movie itself. A few of them were in the script. But most of them were implied indirectly. But once you see them all in order it should help clear up a few of the confusing bits of this movie. At least they did for me anyway. I think I was on like number 11 as I was writing them and I was like… nice, no way. hahah. Just helps a lot to see it play out in the actual order they happened.

But What Does It Mean?

Was the movie about 2nd amendment rights? I thought it was about guns??! No, actually it wasn’t. Sure, some of the details of the debates and the arguments are brilliant (particularly the drivers license debate argument, “we need licenses to drive cars, right? Why not licenses for operating deadly weaponry?”) but that isn’t what this movie is actually about. It was a meta-discussion about the duplicitousness of D.C. The deadliness of power. And utlimately it was all about the intoxication of the drug called “winning”.

At the end, Sloane won. But she was also changed. She wasn’t normal per se. But she was changed. She truly had come to a realization that she had really screwed over Esme… almost got her killed actually. She had assumed that someone would attack herself. But not Esme. And that caused her to reconsider all the planning and the chess maneuvers she had planned. Right? She hadn’t taken the pills on her way into the courtroom, right? (I think I’m right on this point. Will double check soon enough.) She was changed. Sure, she still won the case, and did absolutely anything she had to do to win. But I am willing to bet she won’t be doing this again. No? Even if I’m wrong on this point, I do think this was a movie about the bigger problems in politics and our country. That big money does anything to get away with pretty much anything it can. And that just isn’t ok.

No? Disagree? Did I miss anything? What are your thoughts on the details of the inner-workings of how this movie unfolded? Comment below. I definitely want to hear your thoughts on this fantastic movie.

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20 Responses

  1. Nilisha

    Hi,
    I just finished watching this movie and then read your article. It covers all the interesting plot twists and is to the point. I just wanted to tell you that there is one mistake I found in your article.
    When trying to explain sloane’s strategy you mention that she had a congressman surveilled, but she infact had George Dupont under surveillance.
    Hope this helps!!!!!!!

    Reply
  2. Taylor Holmes

    Nilisha!!
    Thank you so much! I’ll fix it soon. (Like when someone adds an hour to my day as opposed to subtracting it for daylight savings time!!!)

    Taylor

    Reply
  3. Gail

    What is your opinion about Ford? Did he save Sloane because he was a softie, or did she anticipate this and pay him off to lie for her. ?

    What was the reason Sloane called Jane and Jane would not acknowledge the caller ?
    Was it some kind of coded message between them? I think so.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Um.
      He was a total softie… he totally was into her. That was obvious from the beginning when he continued to engage in her personal life, again and again. No?

      tay

      Reply
    • Lukas

      What if Fotd was the doctor and was trying to save her. There might be even a bigger plan to get her to jail to escape her obssession, pills addiction and insomnia. The hotel sessions might be also therapies she was taking and not sex dates. That would explain his answer during the hearing and he is probably the one waiting for her when she left the jail as they fell in love with each other but had to solve her problems first. What do you think?

      Reply
  4. Jim

    Sloane appeared to recognize someone picking her up after jail? Was is Esme? Ford? Her bald boss?

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      No no no.
      It’s the attack on Esme that wakes Elizabeth up to what she’s done and forces her to acknowledge her failures on a personal level. But no definitely not.

      Taylor

      Reply
  5. Zoe

    Great discussion and analysis of this movie!! I thought the opposition. Team hired the guy to attackEdse and the shooter. I remember one of them saying that they ” wanted it to hurt Elizabeth” but after watching it the second time, I think
    It was random. Also , no one
    Ever mentioned Elizabeth’s/ ms Chasteins wardrobe!! Know led it out of the park!! Loved the plus blouse at the nd after all the black
    And white!

    Reply
  6. Luke

    I was confused about the length of time she served. Was it not 5 years? Did she not commit perjury? – By saying under oath that she had never used surveillance – but then was clear to everyone that she did (as that’s how she got the conversation between her old boss and the congressman)?

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      The sentence was for signing the contract. It was a five year sentence, but six months into the sentence her lawyer visits her and lets her know that she’ll probably be free in less than a year.

      Reply
  7. Annett

    Hi! I just saw the movie and I am totally fascinated by it. While I understand that what interests me the most has nothing to do with winning the bill in the movie per se is her personal backstory. I was really hoping it would be revealed in the movie in the scene where she tells Ford “she grew up lying, didn’t want to but had to, that’s why she excels at it”. I feel total compassion for this woman who must have been tortured as a child (mentally? / physically?). It takes a lot to twist and warp the mind of a child like that in order for her to have turned out this way. Not to let anybody close to you at all and to feel so very comfortable in not needing to connect deeply on a social level… I guess it doesn’t matter for the story, but it matters when it comes to her and her cold heart.
    I actually cried at the very end when she’s released from prison, because I think no one would have been there to pick her up. She’s probably all alone. And then again, how much does it take to forgive and to be forgiven?
    Yes, it was only a movie. An incredibly well done one. But the characters are so realistic. I feel for her even tho in real life I would have also stayed away from her. But what made her who she became?…

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Oh yeah, totally know what you mean. Great question. She definitely was an outside the box character from a Hollywood standpoint. Roles like this (let alone for women) are extraordinarily rare. And Jessica absolutely crushed this role. Nailed it. It was so fun to watch.

      I personally was never abused, but lived in a world that forced two-faced-ness, if you know what I mean? Duplicitousness. And in this world of never saying what you mean I became very good (bad?) at always saying what I didn’t mean. “OHFANTASTICHOWGREATTOSEEYOU.” Right? And even though there was no abuse, it was an abuse by the society in general. It was a maligning of my mind through this experience. This skill though, to see what people mean, not what they say, has been enormously helpful in my career. But from a personal standpoint? Hahaha. Not the greatest. I’ve had to unlearn many of these “skills”/”traits” that I grew up with.

      Anything could have done this to her. I am sort of glad they didn’t cheapen the character by saying… well, she’s evil this way because of her momma. Or whatever. It would have been too simple. She is who she is because of a long list of complex influences I’m sure. But yeah, she was an amazing character to watch unfold.

      Reply
  8. Annett

    I mean…what happened to her to make her who…I mean, how…you know what I mean.

    Reply
  9. Annett

    But there’s something that ticks me off: the soundtrack of “Miss Sloane” is almost exactly the same as the one from the movie “Passengers”. Like they couldn’t think of something new? I wonder who stole from who? Oh dear… Still, both movies are very enjoyable.

    Reply
  10. Michael

    Need better answers to:
    • did NRA set up guy to be killed
    • why did Sloan call Jane?
    • why did Ford lie?

    These were all left hanging. Seemed sloppy for such a good script.

    Reply
  11. Annett

    – Ford clearly lied, because a) he would never reveal any of his clients’ names (they talked about that) and b) he really liked her.
    – Sloane caled Jane, because they had stuff to check up on. That phonecall is also necessary for the plot to wake up Sloane.
    – They very well could have hired him, I think it’s totally possible. On the other hand the movie does sort of prove that America is armed to the teeth and people just carry guns around. So it could just have been purely accidental, but still, playing fully into the hands of the gun lobby.

    Reply
    • Jerry

      Sloane called Jane because that was the “trigger” for Jane to find the smoking gun to use against her and force the Senate Hearing. Sloane had already put the tail on DuPont, because she knew that as soon as they got the evidence to go after her, DuPont would reach out to a Senator to call the hearing.

      No one hired the gunman to go after Esme or the hero, after it happened, everyone on that side was claiming that “Christmas came early” and the momentum won’t last long. Not one person or group claimed to have orchestrated it.

      Bloomington High School was the high school where the shooting happened.

      Forde did not reveal his part with Sloane, because he wasn’t being compelled to. What I mean was, he was sworn in and asked about it, but he wasn’t on trial for it. So, he did her a favor and kept it a secret. There is definitely more to that relationship than meets the eye.

      She didn’t lie when she said she never surveilled a Congressman. She surveilled George DuPont. It was George DuPont that went to see a Congressman. So that Congressman did end up getting surveilled, but the original surveillance was for a non-Congressman George DuPont. So she didn’t have to lie, because of the phrasing of the question.

      My 2 cents. I thought it was an excellent movie as well. It reminded me of another great movie. If you all loved this one, you should see (if you haven’t already), Spy Game with Robert Redford and Basic with John Travolta. John Travolta doesn’t have the reputation as an actor that Redford or Chastain have but the movie was very good, with a lot of plot twists and turns with a reveal at the end that was surprising.

      Reply
  12. Annett

    Rats….I confused Jane with another character… Totally agree with Jerry. I first thought it was part of the plan they hatched, but that would have meant “5 years minimum” for Jane, which Sloane clearly didn’t want to happen.

    Reply

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