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Senior Year (2022) Ending Explained

Senior Year (2022) ends with Stephanie realizing that true happiness comes from relationships and personal growth, not popularity.

The Netflix film Senior Year is a comedy about Stephanie Conway, a high school cheerleader who wakes up from a 20-year coma. She tries to reclaim her high school glory and become prom queen. The ending is both uplifting and reflective, showing Stephanie’s growth and the importance of genuine connections.

Plot Summary

Stephanie Conway, played by Angourie Rice as a teenager and Rebel Wilson as an adult, moves from Australia to the United States. She joins Harding High School and works her way up to become the cheer captain and one of the most popular girls. Her dreams are shattered when a cheerleading stunt goes wrong, leaving her in a coma for 20 years.

When Stephanie wakes up in 2022, she is shocked to find herself a 37-year-old woman who missed the final month of her senior year. Determined to complete her high school experience, she returns to Harding High to graduate and achieve her dream of becoming prom queen. This sets the stage for a journey filled with humor, nostalgia, and self-discovery.

Graduation and Cheer Routine

The film reaches its climax at the graduation ceremony. Stephanie finally graduates alongside her friends, both new and old. The ceremony turns into a cheer routine that Stephanie had created years ago—the same routine that led to her coma. This time, the routine is performed successfully, symbolizing Stephanie’s growth and her ability to overcome past traumas. This moment is both triumphant and emotional, showing how far she has come.

Realizations and Personal Growth

Throughout the film, Stephanie is obsessed with regaining her former popularity and becoming prom queen. However, she eventually realizes that these superficial goals are not what truly matter. A conversation with her childhood idol, Deanna Russo, played by Alicia Silverstone, helps Stephanie understand that a perfect life is not about material possessions or social status. Instead, it is about the relationships and experiences that shape one’s life. This realization marks a significant turning point for Stephanie.

Reconciliation with Friends

Stephanie’s friends, Seth and Martha, become frustrated with her as she continues to prioritize popularity over their friendship. This tension reaches a peak when Stephanie secures the prom queen crown, only to realize that it is not as fulfilling as she had imagined. She makes amends with Seth and Martha, acknowledging the importance of their friendship and the support they have provided throughout her journey. This reconciliation is heartfelt and underscores the film’s message about the value of genuine relationships.

Future Prospects

The film leaves Stephanie’s future somewhat open-ended. While it is not explicitly stated what she will pursue next, she now has a high school diploma and a significant social media following. This gives her the option to attend college or explore other opportunities. The ending suggests that Stephanie is ready to embrace the future with a newfound understanding of what truly matters in life. This open-ended conclusion allows viewers to imagine various positive paths for Stephanie.

Themes and Analysis

The Illusion of Popularity

One of the central themes of Senior Year is the illusion of popularity and its fleeting nature. Stephanie’s initial obsession with becoming prom queen and regaining her high school status highlights the superficiality of such pursuits. The film critiques the high school culture that places undue importance on popularity, ultimately showing that true fulfillment comes from genuine relationships and personal growth.

Personal Growth and Self-Discovery

Stephanie’s journey is one of personal growth and self-discovery. Her time in a coma serves as a metaphor for the stagnation that can occur when one is fixated on past glories. By the end of the film, Stephanie has learned to let go of her past and embrace the present, understanding that life is about the journey and the people who accompany you along the way.

Nostalgia and Cultural Shifts

The film also explores themes of nostalgia and cultural shifts. Stephanie’s return to high school in 2022 highlights the changes that have occurred over the past two decades, from social media’s influence to shifts in high school dynamics. The film uses these cultural references to both comedic and reflective effect, showing how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

Conclusion

Senior Year (2022) combines humor with heartfelt moments, delivering a message about the importance of personal growth and genuine relationships. While the film has its flaws, it succeeds in providing an entertaining and reflective look at high school life and the journey to self-discovery. The ending, with its focus on reconciliation, personal growth, and the realization of what truly matters, offers a satisfying conclusion to Stephanie’s story.

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