8.14.2007

BMQ: Premonition Ending Explained

Not too long ago frequent reader Sadie asked (editor’s note: the following is sexily paraphrased),

“I am naked right now. I have many ice cubes to play with but I can’t get into the mood because I am confused. What the hell is up with the ending for Premonition?”
Never fear Sadie, because I am here to satisfy your curiosities. I rented Premonition to figure out just what the hell happened and I have an answer for you, though I can’t guarantee you’ll like it.

"I'm confused"

Spoilers creep below.

First, a brief back-story for everyone who wants to ruin the movie for themselves.

Linda (Sandra Bullock) time-travels in her sleep from past to present and back again in a near Groundhog Day reenactment. The major difference is that she does not repeat any day twice but instead moves through a single week from Friday to Monday to Saturday to Tuesday, and so on. As she flips through the days, she comes to understand the many strange conditions surrounding her husband’s death (which happened in the middle of the same week).

And now the explanations.

Very simply, the entire film can be summed up with a very famous expression.
“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Most of the details surrounding Linda’s husband’s (aka Jim) death are simply red herrings and the main focus of the movie is on Linda’s relationship to her husband. The crow, the daughter’s cuts, and the strangely prophetic police officer are ultimately unimportant to the film’s resolution. They exist solely to create confusion and raise the movie’s tension, which they succeed at quite well.

Now let's look at the final scene.

Jim is dead (and boy is he!) once and for all, and Linda looks strangely happy. This is supposed to make the audience question the outcome. Did Jim somehow survive that incredible fireball and limp his burned, adulterous little feet back to his loving wife and two darling children? Nope. He’s dead, baby. Linda’s content because she finally accepted her love for her husband and even though she basically killed him, she killed him with love. This may seem like a weak sentiment, but the film actually took great pains to explain it - remember how the priest explains to Linda that it was never too late for faithless whores her to realize what was important and to fight for it?

Linda decided that she did love her husband and even though he died, she is at peace with herself. The fact that she’s pregnant is a cinematic cop-out. Instead of trusting the audience to realize that Linda’s husband “lives on” inside her, the filmmakers (and Sandra Bullock) decided to take the notion literally. It’s silly and unnecessary and weakens what could have been a dramatic ending. The filmmakers simply got overwhelmed with the complexity of the idea and not only had to introduce a weak character to explain the entire premise (the priest), but they had to tack on a fetus to drive the point home.

Rather than get stuck in a bad movie ending, it might just be better to abort the whole thing. What? Too much?

Hope that explanation gets you in the mood, Sadie. I know talking about fetuses always does the trick for me.

14 comments:

Sadie said...

Oh, okay. That makes sense. Thanks for the assist!

And just so you know... I was naked. ;)

Sarah said...

Glad I didn't add this to my netflix!
:)

Matt said...

sadie - No problem. I actually enjoyed Premonition overall. And I like hearing about nakedness too.

sarah - You could definitely do worse than Premonition. Spooning with Oprah, for example.

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Anonymous said...

A premonition is when the mind sees an event, or series of events, before they occur. In the movie Premonition the main character sees an unchangeable event and a series of changeable events. After the reoccurrences of a few repeating days, she uses her memory of the reoccurring days to correct and achieve the best possible outcome that she is able to achieve.

The main message of the film is stated in the church scene with the priest/pastor: a mind without faith and hope creates a void, nature eliminates voids by filling it with something. The pastor reads of a couple of historical events when one person's premonition comes true and another's premonition proves false. Sandra Bullock's character understands from her conversation with the priest/pastor that she needs to fill her mind with love, faith, and hope. Three mindsets that she had long lost thereby creating this void. With the void now filled, her focus changes toward her home and family like in her happier days, and she then decides to repair her damaged marriage.

She is not able to alter the ultimate death of her husband; however, it is the culmination of changes that she is able to correct that exists when she actually lives through the occurrence of the accident which kills her husband toward the end of the movie.

Symbolism

The flying crows and the dead crows in dreams (in this case the premonition) is the symbol of death or fortune. In the movie, both cases exist. The death is the death of the husband; the fortune is realized that she is able to correct some of the unfortunate events of the reoccurring days.

Mile marker 220 in numerology can be broken down a couple of ways; however, they have the same meaning. The number 2 is duality, faith, trust, intuition, insight, and life purpose (remember the priest/pastor). 22 represents vision, and service to humanity. The number 0 amplifies the numbers it appears with and is considered to represent the beginning of a spiritual journey; suggesting to listen to your intuition (the premonitions) and one's higher self (the priest/pastor) to find the answers.

The main character processes the accident following the seven stages of grief: Shock when the police officer comes to her door announcing her husband's death; Denial when she tells her mother that he did not die; Anger when faced with his affair; Bargaining when she is contemplating affecting the accident's outcome; Depression denoted by her mother calling the psychologist; and finally Acceptance and Hope at the end of the movie when she moves out of the house to begin again as foreshadowed by the new lake houses visit during one of her re-lived days.

The conundrum of repeating one's day(s), as in Premonition, is that are there more than one timeline that we can be living simultaneously; and in that, are we able to dramatically change our future (being placed in an insane asylum or receiving a large insurance payout and moving to a beautiful new home)?

Enjoyable movie!

Anonymous said...

The second conundrum is the free will vs. predestination question. In the movie, the main character has the free will to alter certain events while not being able to alter others. In the movie, she is only able to affect the outcome of herself during the days that she re-lived leading up to the accident. Besides her husband ultimately dying, her daughter had also ultimately received the cuts from walking through the sliding glass window. Her day of putting the stickers on the window did not occur in the final analysis. The decision to walk through the glass was the decision/act of the daughter; and the decision for her husband to meet the office manager at the hotel was the decision/act of the husband. Although he recanted his choice, her change in actions did not affect his previous decision. In this conundrum, the main character does have the free will regarding her own life while not changing the free will decisions of the others. There still exists the cause and effect of her decisions on others in the future, but her free will choices did not change the predestination of the others during her period of changing her days before the death of her husband.

The movie addresses some interesting concepts!