The Ending of the Movie Dual Unpacked and Explained. I loved the movie Dual. But I also adored Riley Stearns’ other brilliantly meta flick – The Art of Self Defense as well. So, I had been anticipatorally awaiting the drop of this movie for quite some time now. But, similarly to Self Defense, this is a meta-ironic-apocalyptic-adjacent-car-crash-of-a-non-funny-comedy. Unsimilarly to The Art of Self Defense, Dual has an ending that is DYING to be discussed. But first, before you go any further, before you join in on the comment battlefield that is about to open up, you have to watch the film.
Detailed Dual Walkthrough – Please Pay CLOSE Attention
The setup here is crazy, but simple. In the near future, science has figured out how to clone individuals, and present the clone into the place of the dearly departed’s place so as to give a gift of themselves, and to keep their family from grieving, etc. It’s a clever twist in that other sci-fi and similar movies use the double as a medical farm for parts. Right? But instead, the dearly departed leaves the gift behind as a gift to loved ones.
Sarah (Karen Gillan) learns she is terminal, with a 98% she’s dying and a 2% statistical rounding error in there. But the doctor is certain. So Sarah purchases a clone of herself… and she begins teaching it about herself. Only, the problem is, Sarah’s husband, Peter, falls madly in love with Sarah’s Double (which, is, ironically, the double’s name… literally, “Sarah’s Double”) and this sort of chafes a bit. As it would. But when Sarah goes into remission, completely, 100% well, Sarah begins the decommissioning process for Sarah’s Double, but Sarah’s Double files for a legal – and literal – stay. Push comes to shove, and the duo are going to fight to the death in a year’s time.
Sarah? Trains all year. Non-stop. She is paying divorce fees, medical fees, double fees, legal fees… and she is determined to fight her way back into her husband’s life. But Peter makes it clear (and this is the most important thing I’m going to say in this write up) that there is NOTHING that Sarah can do to get back into his life. The two of them are done. Okay? Scribble that down somewhere… because we will come back to this point in a minute.
Okay – so as time goes by, and Sarah is training and training and training – eventually Sarah and Sarah’s Double connect and they begin to wonder why can’t both live. And eventually a plan is hatched that the two of them should ditch everything and make a run for the Canadian border together. It’ll blow away the authorities, and really confuse everything as to what could have possibly happened to send them both on the lamb. And as they head off into the woods together, just shy of the Canadian border, they both stop for a drink. And it is a really stupid, and OBVIOUS play on the double’s part. So ham-fisted, I wrote it down when Sarah’s Double said it: “Let’s drink some water – let’s take another bigger drink just to be safe.” I mean, come on. Sarah saw this a million miles away. Obviously her double is poisoning her. Right? Then a few minutes later, we watch as one of the Sarah’s is crashing her way, this way and that in the car as she heads back to the field, where she says to everyone that she is The Original. Right? The ORIGINAL WON! Then, we watch as Peter, and Sarah’s mother, assist with the winner… getting her colored contacts to hide her blue eyes. And she hates Mexican food right? It’s obvious that it wasn’t the original that won. But rather it was Sarah’s Double that actually outwitted Sarah… poisoned her, and crashed her way back to the field and announced herself, in a lie, as the original. Right?
Let Me Explain Why You Are Wrong About the Ending of Dual
Let’s begin by going back to Sarah’s problem. She learns she has a terminal illness, and she is 100% going to die. She then does a very sweet (if misguided) thing and purchases (through an enormous loan) a clone of herself in order to extend herself beyond her death. And, to her surprise, her husband and her mother adore the dual more than they love the original. It breaks her heart. Right? Sarah even reaches out to Peter almost a year later and attempts to insinuate herself back into his life… but it’s clear that this isn’t going to work. A date, a nice meal? That’s just not going to cut it… he is really in love with Sarah’s Double. Hrm.
Now, Sarah’s Double? She knows that Sarah has been training an entire year straight. She knows that there is literally no way that she is going to beat the original Sarah. No way at all. So instead, she comes up with the plan that she will out connive the original Sarah. Thus the manipulation tactics and the idea that they could “run away” together. No, stop for a second, and think… why would Sarah agree to this? She doesn’t like anything about Sarah. She is desperate for Peter to love her again… for her mother to love her again. (Regardless of the rightness, or wrongness of this… it still remains to be the truth.)
Then Sarah’s Double hands Sarah her a water, from her own backpack. HERE DRINK A LOT OF THIS! Sarah sees this coming. And Sarah outmaneuvers this ham-fisted play. I don’t know how exactly, but she does not get poisoned by Sarah’s Double. Instead, Sarah murders her double and buries her in the woods. Then she gets in the car, and drives it into absolutely everything on the way back to the field. Why? Because she needs to convince two people that she isn’t Sarah, but rather, Sarah’s Double. Peter and her mother buy it, hook, line, and sinker. So much so, her mother buys her the contacts she doesn’t need in order to NOT hide her eye color. Also, notice the way in which Peter talks to who he thinks is Sarah’s Double… “you need to take care of yourself, women peak earlier than men… ” etc., etc. He’s talking down to her. But you can see that Sarah isn’t having it… “Where do you want to go for dinner? Mexican?” “You know I hate Mexican” Sarah says… enjoying the irony of being able to throw that back in her husband’s face. But here is the piece de resistance…
Mom is calling … oh, wait, what is that? The screen is all mangled. JUST LIKE Sarah’s phone, remember!? Hold on. Does that mean Sarah is the one that survived through to the ending? Huh. Who knew? But let’s consider the two possibilities and what they actually might mean for the movie’s meaning if either one was the correct ending.
What Does the Ending of Dual Mean if Sarah’s Double Survived?
If Sarah’s Double survives – what does that mean for the movie Dual? Well, it’s actually a very tragic ending if Sarah’s Double is the one that wins the day. It means that no small kindness of a terminal person goes unpunished. It means the world is horrific in pretty much every way possible. It means that Sarah, the only really well prepared person in this movie is out maneuvered by a lazier, but more clever opponent. It means that this already dark movie just spiraled completely down the toilet and is enveloped by it’s own darkness.
What Does the Ending of Dual Mean if Sarah Survived?
I personally think it’s extraordinarily clear that it is Sarah that survived… but I’m excited to know that 90% of the people coming to this page will disagree with me. (It is what it is… I still am outnumbered in my belief that the machine in the movie The Prestige didn’t work.) But what would it mean if I am right?? Well, it means that Sarah is desperately broken, and desperately in need of being loved by her husband and her mother. So much so that she outwits her clone, kills her, and acts like she is the clone in order to act like she is herself… and that she enlists her mother and husband so that she can convince everyone that she is actually Sarah. But it also means that Peter wants to baby Sarah. It means that Peter, more than anything, wants to baby his wife… tell her what to do, and care for her like she is a new born.
Both are sad possibilities. Right? But Sarah’s Double winning are infinitely sadder in every possible way. Regardless of which person wins, whether it is the clone, or the original, it literally can go either way. If you believe that the original wins, you have to explain the bad driving, if you believe the clone wins, you have to explain the phone. Right? But trust me… TRUST ME, Sarah is acting like the Double in order to insinuate herself into her husband’s life again. And she’s done it… she figured it out. But… as the movie ends, she is in her crashed car, in the round about, crying because she was done exactly what she shouldn’t have. She is back inside the trapped relationship, and trapped chaos, she was dying to get out of at the very beginning of the film. What has she done?!?
Think I’m wrong? Let me hear about it in the comments. Think I’m right? I want to hear about it doubly in the comments! hahaha.
And with that?? Dual is our new King of the Hill for 2022!
Edited by: CY