First premiere in 2022, The son is an emotional drama with a controversial and curious ending. The film is a prequel to Florian Zellers The father, which won Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, follows two divorced parents as they struggle to provide for their teenager. The emotional film recently made its way to Netflix on May 20, 2023 after a limited theatrical release and world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.
The drama film plays the leading role hugh jackman, Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby and newcomer Zen McGrath, along with a brief cameo from Anthony Hopkins, who led the predecessor. The film is currently climbing the Netflix top 10 chart after failing to attract attention during its theatrical release and subsequent awards ceremony.
With lots of new eyes seeing this flick, we’re here to break down the ending – which many critics called “emotionally manipulative.” However, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure – and boy, do I think that movie has an ending for eternity? Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of The son.
The son explained on Netflix ending:
“The Son” follows Peter Miller (Jackman) as he welcomes his teenage son Nicholas Miller (McGrath) to the blended home he shares with his wife Beth (Kirby) and their newborn child. Nicholas previously lived with his mother, Kate Miller (Dern), but she asked Peter to take him in because his behavior was uncontrollable and she was afraid of his aggression.
Despite being a hardworking child, Nicholas shows no interest in school or socializing and struggles with severe depression. His father is in uncharted territory. He is working hard to discipline his son and understand his withdrawn behavior. In addition, Beth increasingly loses trust in Nicholas and limits the time she can spend alone with his little brother. Once she suspects him of stealing her jewelry. It goes without saying that Nicholas isn’t getting the support he needs.
His father erupts when he finds out that Nicholas has skipped school and the boy is attempting suicide. He is placed in hospital and on supervised visits he begs his parents to sign him off, insisting he has recovered. Peter and Kate are strongly advised against taking Nicholas out of the facility, but they give in to his demands and do it anyway.
The final moments of the film are very emotional and show Nicholas and his parents spending time together, which rarely happens. They arrive at Peter’s home from the asylum and Nicholas runs around making them tea. The parents plan to keep the teenager under constant supervision, with Kate agreeing to let Nicholas move back into their home and Peter deciding to turn down his promotion and let Nicholas accompany him at work as an intern.
In the final moments, Nicholas brings his parents tea and then joins them on the couch. They plan to watch a movie and Nicholas apologizes to his parents and they exchange “I love you”. The teenager excuses himself to take a shower, but ventures into the laundry room, where Peter keeps a gun believed to be a gift from his father earlier in the film. Nicholas shoots himself with the gun.
But this is where it gets confusing. Before it is revealed that Nicholas is dead, the film has a flashback of Peter teaching Nicholas how to swim, which leads to a dream sequence in which Peter imagines his son alive. An unreliable narrator, Peter Nicholas introduces himself as the author of a book entitled Death can wait. He says to Nicholas, “I’m proud of you,” and looks him in the eye as they face each other.
Then the camera pans and shows Peter standing alone in a room. His wife comes in and asks him, “What’s the matter? Have you thought about Nicholas?” When Peter expresses his regret, Beth reassures him, “You did your best back then.” He bursts into tears while his wife tells him, “Life goes on.”
The son is currently streaming on Netflix.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 988.