Amanda Christine as Ava and Mamoudou Athie as Nolan in BLACK BOX

Black Box Movie Ending Walkthrough Explanation

Black Box Movie Ending Walkthrough Explanation
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Today I’ve got an interesting inside out movie for you guys. And I’m pretty sure many of you will really adore this one – about a guy who suffers from amnesia after a car accident. It’s got a lot more going on than what you see at the surface, which, seeing as though you are reading these words on the THiNC. website, you now know that there is a LOT more going on under the surface here. So let’s do this thing: Black Box Movie Walkthrough Explanation!!

I’m going to start with this detail. Any movie that includes Phylicia Rashad – you know, Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show – has already lost me. Not because of the whole Bill Cosby controversy. I 100% doubt that she is a part of any of that nonsense, and she seems like a lovely, and morally upright individual. But she will always be Clair Huxtable in my mind. Totally and completely. Whenever she is on screen, I expect the kids to come bouncing into frame, and normal Cosby Show chaos to ensue. This is my fault. I realize this. So, let me apologize directly to Mrs. Rashad. I am literally not smart enough to jump tracks fast enough and allow her to be brilliant in something other than that old 80’s television show. So, even though my rating on this one is pretty low, it’s 100% because I couldn’t detach my brain from Mrs. Huxtable and absolutely nothing else. Okay?

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, this will be lots and lots of spoilers, and you should stop reading pronto. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a trailer to give the basic details of the film. And you will be able watch the film over on Prime.

Black Box Movie Walkthrough

Right. So, from here on out, spoilers abound – don’t continue forward without having watched the film Black Box in its entirety, otherwise? You’ll be turned into a bull frog. Poof. It’ll be bad. OK, so, this tricky little movie starts us off at a deficit… a lot has gone on before the movie started. But you just have to give it some line, and eventually it will all come together for you, I promise.

Nolan Wright (played by Mamoudou Athie whom I enjoyed in the film Underwater) has a car accident. K? Boom. Bad. He survives the accident just fine, but his memory is glitched beyond all recognition. It’s so bad that his 10-year-old daughter Ava has to intercede on his behalf regularly. Why? Where is his wife? Well, his wife passed away recently – so it’s all on Nolan and his tripped out memory to pull it all together.

Now, after getting in trouble with Ava’s school more than once for being late, etc., (which, inadvertently starts going in all kinds of negative directions when you start applying the fact to the equation that Nolan … cough… happens to be black. <insert black stereotype here>.) and worse, after not having his job as a photographer picked up and carried forward at work. So, when his job, and his personal life, is so bad that he knows he needs help, he agrees to have an experimental procedure done on his brain that might just solve his memory black-outs that he has been having.

Dr. Brooks (Phylicia Rashad – who hasn’t been in anything you’d know, trust me) begins by using hypnosis to see whether Nolan will respond to the treatment she can offer him. After deeming him a potential candidate for her groundbreaking research, Brooks uses her black box to investigate the recesses of Nolan’s mind. During the brain therapy sessions, Nolan sees glimpses of memories and figures, but he regularly encounters “monsters” that cause Nolan to run from the hypnosis and abandon the session. Eventually, outside of the sessions, he starts to see new memories that start to create positive interactions with his daughter Ava.

But eventually, Nolan starts to see glimmers of things that make zero sense at all. Things that don’t line up with what Ava tells him has been their experience together, etc. Something is going on here, but he isn’t sure of what exactly. Suspicion turns to outright confirmed fears when, during one session with Dr. Brooks, he sees himself in a mirror and he looks like someone else entirely. Snapping out of the hypnosis he actually realizes that he is not Nolan, but rather he is Thomas Brooks. Yeah, Dr. Brooks’ son. Wait, what? What is this woman up to? What is going on here? Is he actually Thomas, or is he actually just going insane? Dr. Yeboah tells him that obviously this can’t be real. That isn’t even a thing. Like, how could this have even happened?

Eventually though, Dr. Brooks confirms that her son, Thomas Brooks, died previously. But before he physically died, she happened to be there at the hospital, and she was able to get a hold of his body for just enough time to map out his brain in her black box. Effectively, she downloaded her son’s consciousness, and then she waited for a body to plant him back into. Knowing only that, “Nolan” leaves the hospital and doesn’t know what to do with this new information that he is now grappling with. He is so unstable that he eventually decides to take Ava to Dr. Yeboah to keep her safe. And meanwhile, “Nolan” heads over to “Thomas'” wife, but she has cut all ties to him entirely. She is not interested at all.

Yeboah, and Ava, on a hunch that something isn’t right at all with “Nolan’s” life or the story that he is telling, the two of them break into Dr. Brooks’ office and find her struggling to replace the last remaining bits of Thomas’ memory with Nolan. Yeah, apparently consciousness transplants are sort of tricky still? Hahahaha. And when they arrive and stop her, we watch as Thomas and Nolan are fighting each other over the control of Nolan’s physical body. When Ava, standing there in the office screams, it reminds Thomas of his own daughter, and he quits fighting. He quits. But mainly because he remembers that he was killed by his wife who tossed him down the stairs after years of being abused by her.

Black Box Movie Ending Walkthrough Explanation

As the movie comes to a conclusion, Thomas has quit. He’s stopped fighting. Or has he? It would appear that Thomas has released his hold on Nolan’s body. We watch as Nolan, Ava, and Dr. Yeboah depart Dr. Brooks’ office but we are left hanging a bit in the balance. We did see though that Ava and the guy in the chair was able to remember the intricate details of the handshake he wasn’t able to remember the entire movie long. Cut to Nolan remembering his bed, and the loss of his wife’s death. And even intricate details like his daughter’s hair length, etc.

Then we watch as Dr. Brooks is furiously working to repair her black box, and attempt to rebuild the index of her son’s consciousness. She’s been fired from her work at the hospital, but it doesn’t slow her down in her attempts to bring back her son’s consciousness in someone else’s body. As the system works on rebuilding the consciousness of her son, it appears that ultimately it works. Why? Because we watch as Dr. Brooks notices that the black box hood that she used with Nolan pops to life. She says her son’s name, looks through the viewfinder, and then smiles.

So what happened? Apparently, the Thomas that was injected into Nolan’s mind failed to take root because he realized that he too had a child, and he too knew the pain of losing a child. So he yielded to Nolan’s mind, and allowed Nolan to take back over his life, to remember the things that he had been keeping Nolan from remembering. But, at the end, we learn that Dr. Brooks was successful in restoring her son’s memory from the EEG she did, at least within her system, and restoring his consciousness. What does that mean though? What does her smile say? It means that she is, once again, ready to implant her son’s consciousness into someone new. Black Box 2 anyone? And the revenge of Phylicia Rashad… which is a movie I would pay large sums of cash to watch. Literally, Black Box 2: The Revenge of Phylicia Rashad. No other title, just that one.

Final Thoughts on Black Box

OK look. I’ll admit, Phylicia Rashad threw me off my game here. Why? Because she is a lovely, glorious, individual, and she can play, one character. And that character, is Mrs. Huxtable. This is a verifiable fact. Every role she’s ever played? Mrs. Huxtable. A beautiful. Strong. Smart woman. With an easy laugh. And a glorious charm. Heck, This is Us? She played Mrs. Huxtable. A stern, smart, critical woman with a charming laugh. Etc. Now, why does this matter? Mrs. Huxtable here as a mad scientist attempting to rebirth her child into another human being’s body? She’s way too sweet for all that. The only acting I saw from her that even hinted she was doing the Dr. Frankenstein thing effectively was from her hairstylist, who fritzed her hair a bit. Disheveled her some. But otherwise, she was the same, loving, caring, 80’s sitcom megastar we’ve always known and loved.

Which, is sort of a problem… no? In order to do something as crazy as murder someone’s consciousness, if not their body, you would think you’d need to be slightly unhinged. Slightly insane. Or morally repugnant. Wouldn’t you? Maybe I’m wrong here. I mean, what do I know about murdering consciousnesses? Nothing apparently. If you’d like to watch a movie in the same genre as Black Box, maybe you should try Archive. And if these sorts of mental/philosophical/sci-fi/technological conundrums are intriguing to you – then you definitely have to check out Black Mirror. Specifically, USS Callistor, Playtest, etc., etc. And I think we also really enjoyed digging in on the film Antebellum, that was sort of in this space as well.

Did you enjoy the movie? What were your thoughts on the film?

Edited by: CY