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The King’s Daughter Ending Explained

The King’s Daughter ends with King Louis XIV abandoning his quest for immortality to save a mermaid, thanks to his daughter Marie-Josèphe’s plea for compassion.

The King’s Daughter, directed by Sean McNamara, is a fantasy film based on Vonda N. McIntyre’s novel The Moon and the Sun. Despite its star-studded cast, the film faced many delays and received mixed reviews. Let’s dive into the film’s ending and what it means.

The Climactic Confrontation

King Louis XIV, played by Pierce Brosnan, becomes obsessed with gaining eternal life. He captures a mermaid, planning to steal her life force during an eclipse. His daughter, Marie-Josèphe, discovers the mermaid and forms a bond with her. This sets the stage for a dramatic confrontation.

Marie-Josèphe, portrayed by Kaya Scodelario, learns of her father’s plan and decides to stop him. She reveals her true identity as his daughter, adding emotional depth to the story. The confrontation happens with the eclipse looming, creating a tense atmosphere. The mermaid’s life hangs in the balance, and Marie-Josèphe’s plea for compassion becomes crucial.

Marie-Josèphe’s courage and love for the mermaid shine through. She convinces her father to abandon his plan. This moment highlights themes of love, sacrifice, and redemption. The mermaid is freed, and King Louis XIV reflects on his actions. He realizes the futility of seeking eternal life at the expense of others.

The Aftermath

The film concludes with a sense of closure. Marie-Josèphe discovers her true heritage and purpose. She finds a new sense of belonging and identity. King Louis XIV becomes a more reflective and humbled figure. He learns a valuable lesson about the consequences of his quest for immortality.

The ending underscores several themes. Redemption and sacrifice are central, as King Louis XIV abandons his quest for immortality. Marie-Josèphe’s journey emphasizes identity and belonging. The bond between Marie-Josèphe and the mermaid highlights the importance of love and compassion.

Critical Reception

Box Office Performance

The King’s Daughter had a lackluster box office performance. In its opening weekend, it earned $723,150 from 2,170 theaters in the United States and Canada. In its second weekend, it made $440,846 (Wikipedia).

Critical Reviews

The film received generally unfavorable reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, only 20% of 65 critics’ reviews were positive, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The consensus reads: “A muddled mess that was clearly tinkered with in post-production to little avail, The King’s Daughter is a royal disappointment” (Wikipedia). Metacritic assigned the film a score of 31 out of 100, indicating “generally unfavorable” reviews (Wikipedia).

Audience Reception

Audiences polled by PostTrak gave the film a 66% positive score, with 33% saying they would definitely recommend it (Wikipedia).

Thematic Elements

The ending of The King’s Daughter underscores several thematic elements:

  1. Redemption and Sacrifice: King Louis XIV’s decision to abandon his quest for immortality in favor of saving the mermaid and reconciling with his daughter highlights the theme of redemption. His journey from a power-hungry monarch to a more reflective and compassionate figure is central to the film’s resolution.

  2. Identity and Belonging: Marie-Josèphe’s discovery of her true heritage and her role in saving the mermaid emphasize the themes of identity and belonging. Her journey from a convent girl to a royal composer and savior of the mermaid is a testament to her growth and self-discovery.

  3. Love and Compassion: The bond between Marie-Josèphe and the mermaid, as well as her plea to her father, underscores the importance of love and compassion. These elements are crucial in driving the narrative towards its resolution.

Production and Direction

The film’s production faced significant challenges, including an eight-year delay from its initial filming in 2014 to its eventual release in 2022. This prolonged delay likely contributed to the film’s disjointed narrative and haphazard editing, as noted by several critics (Flickering Myth).

Director Sean McNamara, known for his work on family-friendly films, attempted to blend historical drama with fantasy elements. However, the execution fell short, resulting in a film that struggled to find its identity and coherence.

Visual and Technical Aspects

While the film’s visuals, particularly the scenes shot on location at Versailles, received some praise, the special effects, especially the CGI mermaid, were criticized for their poor quality. The editing was also noted as a significant drawback, with many scenes feeling rushed and poorly executed (Flickering Myth).


The King’s Daughter had the potential to be a captivating blend of historical drama and fantasy but ultimately fell short due to its disjointed narrative, poor editing, and lackluster special effects. The ending, while thematically rich, could not salvage the film from its overall shortcomings. Despite its star-studded cast and intriguing premise, The King’s Daughter serves as a cautionary tale about the challenges of adapting elaborate narratives and the importance of cohesive storytelling.


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