Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie Movie Eileen Ending is CRAZY

Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie Movie Eileen Ending is CRAZY
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Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie Movie Eileen Ending is CRAZY. And we are going to explain it if you didn’t understand it. Promise. But woah! Please tell me that you’ve seen Eileen? You can find it all these fine streaming establishments, but whatever you do – don’t continue reading without already watching. Also, I’ve started a podcast, Film Exploder, and on episode 2, we picked up Eileen to do a deep dive on. We had a lot of fun discussing this one.

Eileen Movie Detailed Walkthrough

The movie Eileen is adapted from Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel, and that is a critical detail we will get to later. Basically the movie unfolds as a character-driven exploration into the life of its unassuming protagonist, Eileen. The film is set in a bleak and desolate town, the narrative begins with Eileen’s (played by Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace, JoJo Rabbit, and M. Night’s Old) mundane existence as a secretary at a juvenile correctional facility. We watch as her daily routine is regularly punctuated by visions, dreams, or “false tangents.” Our first view of Eileen’s tangential predilections is sexual encounter with one of the guards there at the penitentiary. We are shown that it didn’t happen at all… So, with that, we should be really, really cognizant about assuming that absolutely everything Eileen is telling us is true. In short? We have a non-reliable narrator on our hands, folks.

Her routine takes a fantastic turn with the arrival of the vivacious Rebecca (played by Anne Hathaway, Serenity, Interstellar and obviously the Princess Diaries), a new counselor, who becomes the catalyst for a series of events that will alter Eileen’s life forever. The film meticulously traces Eileen’s descent into a world of secrecy and darkness, as her complex relationships with Rebecca and her alcoholic father come to the forefront. The plot’s intensity heightens as Eileen grapples with her own desires, unraveling a web of psychological complexity that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

Conversely, at home, Eileen lives a life of abuse. Her alcoholic father is almost an over xeroxed stereotype of an alcoholic father. He is an ex-police officer that lives the entirety of his life drinking. Well, drinking and berating his obeisant daughter. Regularly, Eileen finds herself fantasizing about killing her father in numerous different, and startlingly realistic ways. When she isn’t daydreaming about killing her father, she’s thinking about killing herself.

At the heart of the story though is a singular inmate. Lee Polk. We learn over the course of the story that he killed his father violently by stabbing him repeatedly. Why? Rebecca is really curious. So she begins working with Lee, and Lee’s mother, to find out more. But when Rebecca invites Rita, his mother in to the penitentiary to learn more, things start to go a little sideways. Rita storms out – but Rebecca says Lee told her just how horrible his father was to him.

On Christmas Eve, Eileen gets an invitation from Rebecca inviting Eileen to her house. They have a weird chat, pickles, and drinks. But eventually, Rebecca reveals that this actually isn’t her house… it’s Rita Polk’s house instead. Wait, WHAT? I have to say, that when Anne Hathaway dropped that particular shoe it absolutely blew my mind. Why? Because the question up to that point had been… will the movie end with Eileen killing her father, or not. Would the screenplay/book author go the Taxi Cab route and not do it? Or would they? There weren’t a lot of other options. Zero or One. Dad dead? Or not dead? But when the entirety of the movie headed into Polk’s house? hahaha. So good.

Now, obviously, Rebecca was suspecting that Lee was sexually abused by his father, but she just needed Rita to admit to the abuse. Which, is why she came to the house to question Lee’s mother. But when the conversation got heated, one thing led to another and the next thing Rebecca knew? Rita was tied up in the basement and she needed help from Eileen. Eileen, originally wanting nothing to do with any of this, decides that she could actually help Rebecca… so much so that she heads out to the car to get her father’s hand gun from the glove box.

Eventually, Eileen gets Rita to admit that she eventually helped her husband rape Lee regularly. Enemas and baths included. And it was all about post-pregnancy separation. Sad. So, obviously she had to help her husband. But mid-confession, Eileen shoots Rita in the chest. “I was angry.” But what are the two women going to do with the woman now? How can they get out of this really obvious jam that is going to ruin both their lives? And that is when Eileen gets the clever idea to take Rita over to her house, and to blame her father for Rita’s random death. (Yes, you are right, none of that adds up.) Rebecca agrees, she’ll stay and clean up, and will be there soon. But she never shows in spite of Eileen’s visions to the contrary. With that, Eileen takes Rita, and drives her car into a ditch, and leaves it running… which will kill her because of the fumes coming into the cab (which has been happening since the beginning of the film… possibly the longest running McGuffin in all of movie history.) Eileen then heads out to the road, hitches a ride, and then leaves town… obviously heading out to the big city, where she’s been desperate to head to since the movie opened.

Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie Movie Eileen Ending is CRAZY

Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie Movie Eileen Ending is CRAZY

This movie is all over the place, and could be interpreted about a dozen different ways. With that in mind, why don’t we try and see if we can elucidate a few of them, shall we?

Eileen Movie Theory #1 – Literalism at its Finest

What is there to interpret? Eileen worked at a penitentiary. Rebecca is a new psychologist that has taken an interest in Lee. Rebecca and Eileen get tied up in a series of unfortunate events. And a woman ends up dead. Pretty simple really.

Eileen Movie Theory #2 – Rebecca isn’t Real

If we take a step away from the literal vantage on the story, the most obvious next step is to realize that our narrator was definitely a bit unhinged. We see this regularly throughout the movie. We see her having sex with a guard, but then realizing that didn’t happen. We see her murder her father, kill herself, but neither of those things happened either. Eileen has issues. So, why exactly, would we believe for one second, that Rebecca existed? Think about it… glowing blonde hair. Doesn’t fit into the world she walks through. She wears designer clothes and sort of hovers everywhere she goes. Rebecca is not cut from the same cloth that the rest of the movie’s characters are cut from.

But? How?

Well, if this theory is true, then, physically, it would mean that Eileen has a dual personality that isn’t detailed out in the story, or in the movie. She manifests sort of a sa feminine Tyler Durden (Fight Club, come on man… you are missing out.) in this story. So basically, on Christmas Eve, Eileen went to Rita’s house as Rebecca… she interrogated Rita, but when she learned nothing she became afraid and “called in” Eileen for support. Eileen shows up with her gun and interrogates her.

Now, Moshfegh seems to support this position even. Moshfegh being the author of the book that the film is based on. She told The Guardian, “Rebecca was somebody else’s character, a character from a movie or book read long ago. She is an imaginary person in another sense too in that Eileen has imagined her.” See? Interesting.

Eileen Movie Theory #3 – Nothing is Real

Now, an argument could be made, that Eileen just gets carried away here ALL THE TIME. She’s bored, she’s spending her time getting abused by her father, and she sees intrigue and excitement where there is none. She acts out constantly (sexually, mentally, she’s also an alcoholic herself…) and she does whatever she has to in order to remain sane. Remember, she begins dreaming about one of the guards. She begins dreaming about Lee Polk’s life and starts to construct fact out of fiction. She crafts an interesting psychologist, she spins a woman with gold hair out of thin air. She falls in love with her. And she ends up murdering someone… all while at her desk at the prison. None of this is real ultimately.

Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie Movie Eileen Ending is CRAZY

How the Man Booker Short Listed Book Was Made

Actually, I would normally advocate for a theory. I’d say, look, Moshfegh said clearly that Rebecca was spun whole cloth out of Eileen’s mind, so therefore!? MPD! But if you take a look at the way that Ottessa Moshfegh decided to write the book, I’d argue, pretty much anything is up for grabs here. And remember, this is a Man Booker shortlisted book we are talking about here. But basically, Moshfegh decided, she had had it writing short fiction that was too literary, and too far above the greater society to pay the bills. So she purchased a “write a book in 90 days” tutorial, and she began writing. After about 60 days of monotony, the book took on a life of its own. Literally, Ottessa Moshfegh wrote this book as one big F-you to the entire literary community, and they lapped it up. (Which is pretty ironic actually.) So, with that bit of information under your belt, what do you think the ending of the movie really means? Maybe we should make a 4th theory and entitled it “Eileen Movie Theory #4 – A Screw You to the Literary Industry.”

Personally, I thought the movie was fantastic. I was CERTAIN that the McGuffin that is the hand gun in the movie was going to go off and it would kill either Eileen herself, or her father. There were literally no other options in my mind. This thing was the McGuffin to end all McGuffins. The grenade was there on the table… the pin was pulled, now, all that had to happen was for the murder victim to be selected. But when Rebecca says to Eileen… “The first thing you have to know is that this isn’t my house, it’s the Polk house, and I have Mrs. Polk tied up downstairs.” I laughed and laughed and laughed, it caught me so off guard. It was fantastic. The rest of the movie was just frills at that point. I had decided! So with that, I’m in love.

Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie Movie Eileen Ending is CRAZY