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The Ending of Anatomy of a Fall, Defined





  • Anatomy of a Fall captivates with a fascinating courtroom drama, leaving us questioning the complexity of really understanding one other particular person.
  • Director Justine Triet leaves the ending open to interpretation, highlighting the battle in understanding the morally grey nature of individuals.
  • The movie is a coming-of-age story for Daniel, struggling to reconcile the picture of his mother and father amidst a bittersweet conclusion.

The previous couple of months have been extremely type to Anatomy of a Fall, winner of the Palme d’Or on the 2023 Cannes Movie ComPetition. Along with immense important and viewers acclaim, the movie had an outstanding awards season run, getting a number of wins at varied critics teams across the nation, and capped it off with an Academy Award for Greatest Unique Screenplay. It is easy to see why — the movie, targeted on a author accused of murdering her husband and attempting to clear her title, is a completely partaking courtroom drama and contemplation on the difficulties of attempting to completely know one other particular person.

So within the wake of its Oscars success, and in honor of its Hulu debut this month (it begins streaming on March 22), we’re revisiting one in every of 2023’s greatest movies and breaking down the implications of its Mysterious ending.

Did Sandra Kill Her Husband?

Anatomy of a Fall

Anatomy of a Fall


Launch Date
August 23, 2023

Justine Triet

Sandra Hüller , Swann Arlaud , Antoine Reinartz , Jehnny Beth , Saadia Bentaieb

2hr 31min

Justine Triet , Arthur Harari

At roughly the midpoint in Anatomy of a Fall, issues look dire for Sandra Voyter (Sandra Huller). Whereas she insists that her husband Samuel’s demise will need to have been a suicide, proof the court docket prosecutor presents solely appears to level more and more to her guilt, particularly for the reason that demise echoes a plot from one in every of her novels. Though nothing implicates her greater than a secretly recorded dialog Sanda had with Samuel the day earlier than his demise. Performed in court docket, the tape particulars a vicious struggle between the couple, wherein Samuel accused his spouse of infidelity and plagiarizing his work to additional her profession earlier than the argument then turned violent.

Concurrently, Sandra’s blind son Daniel (Milo Machado-Graner) requests to provide testimony earlier than the court docket makes its closing arguments. Since he is spent most of his life unequivocally accepting his mom as a loving and compassionate girl, the trial throws his notion of her into query. Not eager to imagine that she’s able to homicide, but additionally unsure about whether or not his father would kill himself, Daniel checks a idea of his personal after listening to his mom testify about how Samuel intentionally overdosed on aspirin after going off antidepressants.


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Remembering that his beloved canine Snoop (the incomparable Messi, already in the Hollywood canine pantheon) had fallen sick after unintentionally consuming his father’s vomit, Daniel intentionally feeds Snoop aspirin. His take a look at works — Snoop briefly falls sick in precisely the identical manner as earlier than, confirming to him that his mom’s testimony about Samuel’s melancholy was possible true. Understanding he cannot know for sure what occurred, Daniel admits throughout his testimony that it is simpler for him to imagine that Samuel dedicated suicide than the choice of Sandra being a assassin.

Moreover, he recollects a dialog he as soon as had along with his father, the place he was advised that he wanted to organize for the inevitability of dropping a cherished one. Whereas Samuel was particularly speaking about Snoop’s quick lifespan, Daniel concludes that this most likely mirrored his father’s personal suicidal ideas. Daniel’s testimony works, and Sandra is acquitted.

What Does the Ending of Anatomy of a Fall Imply?

Director Justine Triet (who received a well-deserved Greatest Director nod) properly leaves her movie’s ending open to interpretation, as we’re by no means given any definitive proof of Sandra’s innocence or guilt. Triet is not inquisitive about answering this query; her final curiosity within the movie is exploring simply how tough it’s to actually perceive one other particular person. In her worldview, we’re all essentially morally grey, and the one method to make a conclusion a couple of good friend, a cherished one, or an acquaintance, is to attract on what we find out about them to be factually true and to return to our personal conclusions.

The truth that the movie is structured completely round courtroom testimony will not be an accident; what’s a trial if not trying to make an argument about what sort of particular person they’re? All through the movie, Sandra’s protection and the prosecutor provide coNFLicting narratives about who she is. Her protection claims that she’s a depressed widow sad residing below her husband’s thumb and feeling remoted in a rustic not native to her; the prosecutor asserts that she’s a vindictive liar unconsciously admitting her guilt in her novels. The movie’s stress lies in seeing which of those narratives wins out.

However there’s one other extra emotional, private dimension to the movie, and that is Daniel’s perspective. Anatomy of a Fall is a bizarre form of coming-of-age story for him, as he begins the film with an idyllic view of his mother and father. He hears them typically argue, however he figures that is regular for any loving couple. The whole lot he as soon as thought he knew about each of his mother and father is totally thrown into flux when Samuel is discovered useless. On one hand, he desires to imagine that Sandra is each bit the loving mom he as soon as grew up with, however he cannot comprehend the chance that Samuel is depressed.

Thus, the movie’s ending is each bit as a lot an try for him to know his mother and father as it’s for the viewers. Since he is actually blind, he has no goal proof about what really unfolded the day of Samuel’s demise. All he can do is draw on what he is aware of about each of them and kind a coherent narrative round that. The one he varieties (and that in the end wins out) is that his father was depressed and that his mom didn’t homicide him.


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A Bittersweet Wrap-Up

Anatomy of a Fall by Justine Triet
Le Pacte

The movie’s closing scenes element Sandra’s return house and reunion along with her son, who stays distant from her, nonetheless shaken by the emotional ordeal of the trial. Daniel would not really feel a lot decision, the idyllic picture he as soon as had of his mother and father has been ceaselessly shattered, and even whereas he is emotionally concluded that his mom cannot be a assassin, there isn’t any manner for him to know that definitively. It is a bittersweet and engaging conclusion to a charming movie, one in every of 2023’s greatest, flawlessly illustrating that life’s biggest thriller of all may very well be different individuals, and the way what we imagine to be true might battle with what’s really true.

Anatomy of a Fall begins streaming on Hulu on March 22.