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The Ending of Pearl Explained

Pearl (2022) ends with a haunting scene that captures the tragic journey of its main character. The film’s conclusion is both chilling and thought-provoking, setting the stage for the events of X.

Set in 1918, Pearl tells the story of a young woman living on a farm in Texas. Her dreams of becoming a movie star clash with her oppressive family life. As her mental state deteriorates, the film builds to a shocking and emotional climax.

Pearl’s Descent into Madness

Pearl lives with her strict mother, Ruth, and her sick father. Her husband, Howard, is away fighting in World War I. Pearl dreams of escaping her mundane life to become a movie star. However, her family environment stifles her aspirations. Ruth dismisses Pearl’s dreams, insisting she focus on the farm.

As the story unfolds, Pearl’s mental state worsens. She becomes resentful of her mother and the life she feels trapped in. This tension leads to a series of violent acts. Pearl kills her parents and a projectionist she briefly dates. The climax of the film sees Pearl auditioning for a dance troupe. She is rejected based on her appearance, which pushes her over the edge.

In a raw and emotional monologue, Pearl confesses her crimes to her sister-in-law, Mitzy. She reveals her deep-seated guilt and frustration. When Mitzy confirms Pearl’s suspicions that she got the part Pearl wanted, Pearl’s rage boils over. She chases Mitzy and kills her with an ax (Looper).

The Haunting Final Scene

After killing Mitzy, Pearl arranges her parents’ bodies around the dinner table. This macabre scene symbolizes her twisted attempt to maintain normalcy. When Howard returns from the war, he finds this nightmarish tableau. Pearl greets him with a forced smile, tears streaming down her face. This haunting image lingers as the credits roll, leaving a lasting impression on the audience (Screen Rant).

Themes of Dreams and Isolation

The American Nightmare

One of the central themes of Pearl is the pursuit of dreams. Pearl’s desire to become a movie star represents her longing for freedom. However, her dreams are crushed by societal expectations and family obligations. Her rejection at the audition symbolizes the unattainable nature of her aspirations. Her breakdown and violent actions reflect the destructive consequences of unfulfilled dreams (Collider).

Isolation and Mental Deterioration

Pearl’s isolation is another key element. Her husband’s absence and her oppressive home environment contribute to her sense of entrapment. This isolation worsens her mental instability, leading to her descent into madness. The film’s visual style, reminiscent of classic Hollywood musicals, contrasts with the dark narrative. This highlights the dissonance between Pearl’s fantasies and her grim reality (High on Films).

Societal Expectations and Identity

Ruth’s Oppression

Ruth, Pearl’s mother, embodies the rigid norms of the time. She insists that Pearl adhere to her duties on the farm. This pressure to conform stifles Pearl’s individuality and fuels her resentment. The dance troupe judges’ rejection of Pearl based on her appearance underscores the theme of societal judgment. This has devastating effects on personal aspirations (CBR).

Howard’s Return

Howard’s return at the end of the film serves as a stark reminder of Pearl’s entrapment. His presence signifies the continuation of the life Pearl wanted to escape. The juxtaposition of Pearl’s forced smile and her tears highlights her internal conflict. She resigns herself to a life of unfulfilled dreams and domesticity (Collider).

Broader Implications

Commentary on Horror

Pearl offers a meta-commentary on the horror genre. By blending elements of classic Hollywood musicals with the slasher genre, the film subverts traditional horror tropes. This creates a unique cinematic experience. The stylistic choice underscores the film’s themes of disillusionment and the dark side of the American Dream (High on Films).

Setting the Stage for MaXXXine

The ending of Pearl sets the stage for the next installment, MaXXXine. The unresolved tension and Pearl’s descent into madness provide a rich foundation for further exploration. As the trilogy progresses, it will be captivating to see how these themes and character arcs develop (CBR).

Conclusion

The ending of Pearl (2022) is a powerful and haunting conclusion. The film delves deep into the psyche of its troubled protagonist. Through its exploration of unfulfilled dreams, societal expectations, and mental deterioration, the film offers a poignant commentary on the darker aspects of the human experience. Mia Goth’s exceptional performance and Ti West’s visionary direction create a memorable cinematic experience. As the trilogy continues with MaXXXine, audiences can look forward to further insights into the intricate world of Pearl and its characters.

References

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