'The Son' Takes Many Dark Twists and Turns, But Here Is What the Ending Means
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Netflix recently released the Argentine thriller The Son (El Hijo) on their platform, and if you're into convoluted suspense, we definitely recommend adding this movie to your queue.
It follows the wild story of Lorenzo (Joaquin Furriel), who's trying to understand what happened to his son through two parallel storylines. But if you've watched the whole movie and want the ending explained, keep reading and we'll dissect it all.
What's The Son about?
The Son follows artist Lorenzo and his scientist wife Sigrid (Heidi Toini). This is Lorenzo's second marriage, and he doesn't have much contact with his two daughters who live with his ex-wife, but now that he's met Sigrid, who's a decade or two younger than him, they're keen on starting a family of their own.
In this "earlier" time frame, we also meet Lorenzo's friends, Renato (Luciano Caceres) and his wife Julieta (Martina Gusman), now an attorney, but formerly a student and lover of Lorenzo's. Then we jump ahead in time and see that Lorenzo has been diagnosed with Capgras syndrome, because he believes his son has been substituted with an imposter.
The movie is a bit confusing because of all of the time jumps, but we're going to try and explain it as linearly as possible.
Back before Lorenzo's flash-forward where we see him beat up and in jail, we saw a pregnant Sigrid — who's built a laboratory in her basement — performing medical tests on herself and injecting her belly with medication, while refusing any medicines from anyone but herself.
Because she's Norwegian, Sigrid insists on bringing over a live-in midwife, Gudrum (Regina Lamm), who shuts Lorenzo out of the pregnancy even more and way overstays her welcome past their son, Henrik's birth. Even when he's born, Gudrum and Sigrid team up to lock Lorenzo out of the room where the baby is staying.
Moreover, Lorenzo isn't allowed more than a few short and daily visits with Henrik. But it gets even weirder as Sigrid becomes convinced that Henrik has developed an allergy to light, a diagnosis she's the only one to confirm. Lorenzo is growing increasingly suspicious of Gudrum and his wife, and resents them for not letting him take his son out of the house.
He voices his concern to his friends Julieta and Renato, saying that the baby hasn't been out of the house in the six months since he's been born.
Things come to a head when Henrik is crying one day because of a high fever, and Lorenzo storms out of the house with the baby, trying to take him to the doctor. He accidentally knocks Sigrid down to the floor when she's trying to stop him from going.
The hospital confirms the fever is nothing out of the ordinary, but when Lorenzo and the baby return, Henrik is violently removed from him and the dad receives a restraining order where he learns he can't see the baby for three months on account of domestic violence, and what's more, that Sigrid has filed for divorce.
The Son's convoluted ending explained.
After spending those 90 court-ordered days away from the house and crashing with Renato and Julieta, he returns home to find that the young boy in his house is not his son Henrik. He loses his mind, understandably, and tries to find his wife, who has dead-bolted her basement area.
Meanwhile, Gudrum feels terrified and threatened and calls the police. who take Lorenzo away. This is when we return to the "flash-forward" narrative from earlier, where we see Lorenzo being diagnosed with Capgras and psychosis. In this timeframe, we watch Lorenzo live his life as a single man in a rental apartment.
One day, he receives a letter from Sigrid asking to share custody of Henrik but demanding written permission for Henrik to go visit Sigrid's family in Norway, which Lorenzo refuses. Instead, he asks to spend one day with Henrik, to which Sigrid agrees. Julieta, who is now representing Lorenzo as his attorney, will be present.
So, Lorenzo picks Henrik up the next day and brings him over to the couple's house, but all the while he has suspicions of what Sigrid is hiding back at what was formerly their house together. He leaves Henrik with his friends and escapes to his old house, where he finds ANOTHER BABY — the one he's convinced is his actual son, Henrik.
As soon as he makes this realization, Sigrid shoots and kills him, running away with their son and Gudrum. Julieta and Renato soon realize that Lorenzo is missing and go to his apartment, where they find troubling drawings of his son pinned up against the wall. They then head over to Sigrid's, where they find Lorenzo's dead body and call the police — though Sigrid and Gudrum are gone.
Flash forward a few years, and we see that Renato and Julieta have adopted the fake-Henrik baby who was left in their custody. While the family is on a vacation abroad, Julieta spots Gudrum and follows her to a secluded house where Sigrid is also staying.
The camera stays focused on Julieta's face, so we never see what Sigrid is up to in her new life, or whether she has any other babies lying around the house. The movie ends in this open-ended way, allowing viewers to interpret for themselves what all went down with Sigrid and Gudrum, and how they let Lorenzo take the fall for their twisted antics.
Whether it's a case of Munchausen-by-proxy is unknown, although all signs do point in that direction. It's a troubling movie full of twists, turns, and a soundtrack that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Stream The Son on Netflix today.