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Umma (2022) Film Ending Explained

The ending of Umma (2022) shows Amanda embracing her cultural roots and supporting her daughter’s aspirations, bringing peace to their family.

“Umma” (2022) is a supernatural horror film directed by Iris K. Shim. It stars Sandra Oh as Amanda, a Korean immigrant living with her daughter Chris, played by Fivel Stewart. The film explores themes of intergenerational trauma, cultural identity, and mother-daughter relationships.

Plot Summary

Amanda has distanced herself from her Korean heritage and her abusive mother. She lives with her daughter Chris on an isolated farm, away from modern technology. Their peaceful life changes when Amanda’s uncle arrives with her estranged mother’s cremated remains. This event triggers supernatural occurrences, forcing Amanda to confront her past and the ghost of her mother, Umma.

Ending Explained

The Climactic Confrontation

In the climax, Amanda and Chris face the spirit of Umma. Amanda, possessed by her mother’s spirit, attacks Chris when she wants to leave for college. This moment highlights the film’s central conflict: the struggle between holding onto cultural traditions and embracing individuality.

The Unmasking

Chris knocks off the mask that Amanda/Umma is wearing. This act allows Amanda to see her daughter clearly, breaking Umma’s supernatural hold. Their mutual love and recognition of each other’s pain enable Amanda to confront her past trauma. On a different plane of existence, Amanda and Umma have a cathartic conversation. Amanda admits she should have integrated her Korean heritage with her new life in America. This realization allows Umma to find peace and let go, ending her haunting presence (High on Films).

The Aftermath

After the resolution, Amanda embraces her cultural roots. She performs a traditional Korean funeral ritual with Chris, symbolizing her acceptance of her heritage and the wrongs done by her mother. The film ends with Amanda helping Chris pack for college, showing her newfound understanding and support for her daughter’s aspirations. The final scene shows Umma’s tombstone, indicating that all three generations have found peace (This is Barry).

Themes and Metaphors

Intergenerational Trauma

“Umma” is about intergenerational trauma, especially in mother-daughter relationships. Amanda’s abusive past and her attempts to shield Chris create a cycle of trauma. The supernatural elements symbolize the lingering effects of unresolved trauma and the need to confront it for healing (High on Films).

Cultural Identity

The film explores cultural identity, focusing on the tension between traditional Korean values and American modernity. Amanda’s initial rejection of her heritage and her later acceptance highlight the struggles immigrants face in balancing their cultural roots with their new lives. This theme is illustrated through the traditional Korean funeral ritual at the end (This is Barry).

Mother-Daughter Relationships

The relationship between Amanda and Chris is central to the film. Their bond, initially close, becomes strained as Chris seeks independence. Amanda’s controlling behavior mirrors her own mother’s, showing the difficulty of breaking free from inherited patterns. The resolution signifies a hopeful break from these patterns, allowing for a healthier relationship (Netflix Life).

Critical Reception

“Umma” received mixed reviews. Critics praised Sandra Oh’s performance and the film’s thematic depth but criticized its execution as a horror film. The use of jump scares and the overall horror elements were seen as mediocre, detracting from the film’s deeper messages. Despite these criticisms, the film’s exploration of cultural identity and intergenerational trauma has been acknowledged as significant and thought-provoking (High on Films).

Unanswered Questions

While “Umma” resolves its central conflict, several questions remain unanswered. The fate of Amanda’s husband and Chris’s father is never revealed, leaving a gap in the family history. Additionally, the film does not explain how Amanda’s uncle found her despite her off-grid lifestyle or how he knew about her phobia of electricity. These unresolved elements add mystery but also leave viewers with lingering questions (This is Barry).


“Umma” (2022) offers a rich exploration of intergenerational trauma, cultural identity, and mother-daughter relationships. Its ending, while leaving some questions unanswered, provides a cathartic resolution that underscores the importance of confronting and integrating one’s past to achieve peace. The film’s thematic depth and Sandra Oh’s compelling performance make it a noteworthy addition to the genre of supernatural horror, even if it falls short in delivering traditional scares.


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