Was the heroine of the movie Crooked Lines of God crazy? God’s Crooked Lines (2021-2022): explanation of ending, meaning, film plot summary, analysis, similar films.
Genre: detective, thriller
Year of production: 2021
Directed by: Oriol Paolo
Cast: Barbara Lenny, Pablo Derkey, Edouard Fernandez, Javier Beltran
The meaning of the film God’s Crooked Lines (or “Los renglones torcidos de Dios”), which is already the second (the first was in 1983) adaptation of the detective novel by Torcuato Luca de Ten, repeats the idea of the original. And just like in the original, the picture of 2021 keeps the intrigue to the end, whether the main character is crazy or not. Let’s do our analysis and try to give a clue.
The plot of the movie
The Crooked Lines of God is set in 1979. The main character Alice Gould Almenara arrives in a psychiatric hospital. A man takes her there in his car. The woman has a cover letter with her, addressed to the chief physician and director of the hospital, Samuel Alvar. It is read by Dr. Ruiperez. The letter was written on behalf of Alice’s primary care physician, Dr. Donadio. It says that the new patient is very smart and able to fool naive people, including inexperienced psychiatrists. She does this with the help of mental constructions, which, in terms of meaning and content, can completely contradict those created earlier. However, the patient with extreme dexterity finds a logical explanation for them.
The role of Alice Gould Almenara was played by Barbara Lenny. Frame from the film.
Dr. Ruiperez asks Alice questions. One of the first concerns the father of the heroine. Alice says they loved and respected each other. The woman lived with him until she married. Alice’s mother died after her birth. Husband’s name is Eleodoro Almenara. He has no education, he spends his wife’s money on gambling and betting. Alice claims that it was her husband who decided to imprison her in a hospital.
According to Dr. Ruiperez, the patient tried to poison her husband three times with a poison that she probably made herself, since she has a degree in chemistry. Alice is justified by the fact that her chemical knowledge is somewhat different, and she works as a private detective. The woman says that Eleodoro wants to fully manage her condition, and therefore passed it to the hospital. Moreover, it was he who tried to poison her. Dr. Ruiperez makes notes in a notebook: “Smug, hates her husband. Pure paranoia.”
Deputy director Montserrat Castel shows Alice the grounds of the hospital and takes her personal belongings for safekeeping. The patient asks to keep at least the book. Montserrat agrees. Title of the book: Syndromes and types of paranoia.
Alice undergoes a medical examination and goes to the ward. There she takes out papers hidden between the glued pages of the book. These included a newspaper clipping with the headline “The Tragedy of the Del Olmo Family”, a piece of paper reading “The Killer: You Killed Him, Not I” with the comment “Who Sent It?”, a scrap of notepad with the note “Suicide? There are no signs of poisoning”, a list of the main employees of the hospital.
We are shown footage of future events. The hospital is on fire, and the patients run erratically outside in the rain. Director Samuel Alvar looks at all this. He is shown the corpse of one of the patients lying in the ward.
Edward Fernandez played the role of the director of the hospital, Samuel Alvar. Frame from the film.
Again present time. Alice wakes up, goes to the bathroom and dining room, where she meets other patients. One of them is Ignacio Urquieta. He has a privileged position in the asylum and is the only one who admits to being mentally ill. He shows two more patients: Romulo and Remo. These are twin brothers who were born in a hospital. Romulo has been impersonating the people he sees all day, taking care of the girl he considers his sister, and, according to Ignacio, is ready to kill for her. Remo doesn’t talk and acts aloof.
Future events. Detectives inspect the scene of the murder and find a weapon – bloody glass.
The present. Alice tries to interrogate the residents of the asylum about their knowledge of Damien Garcia Del Olmo. She sees a fight between Romulo and a large patient. The head of the clinic Cesar Arilano talks with Alice. She agrees to be frank, but decides not to answer some questions, leaving them for director Samuel Alvar. Caesar proposes to call these topics taboo. To such Alice attributed the characteristics of her husband and an attempt to poison him. When Caesar suggests naming associations, in response to the word “children”, the heroine says “frustration”, because her husband did not see himself as a father. She also doesn’t know if he was faithful to her. In response to what she likes about herself, the heroine says: “Ambition, the desire to always achieve the goal.”
Future events. The detectives conclude that the killer had a cunning plan. Therefore, the suspects must be looked for clearly not among the completely insane.
The present. The heroine takes advantage of Cesar Arileno’s awkwardness, caused by her attention to his appearance, steals the keys to the archive, takes the evacuation plan from the hospital and the list of discharged patients in it. Among the latter is Ignacio Urchieta.
The role of Ignacio was played by Pablo Derki. Frame from the film.
Future. The policemen discover that Ignacio Urquiet’s palms are bloody. He says that he tried to save the dead. A coroner (an official who determines the cause of death) named Lucia stays in the hospital.
The present. Romulo approaches Alice and says he knows who she is. The conversation is interrupted by the appearance of a large patient with a girl whom Romulo considers his sister.
The heroine asks Ignacio why he is among those discharged from the hospital. He says that from time to time they let him go to the city. Alice also asks if he knew Domieno Garcia Del Olmo and if Ignacio wrote the letter on behalf of the killer. The woman says that it is written in the handwriting of a schizophrenic. But it starts to rain, and the man does not have time to answer. He suffers from hydrophobia (fear of water), so he hurries into the room.
Future. The detectives realize that one patient is missing.
The present. Alice tells Ignacio that she is investigating the murder of Domieno Garcia Del Olmo with permission from director Samuel Alvaro. She suspects one of the patients, and the motive is revenge on the victim’s father. Ignacio says that Domieno suffered from schizophrenia, and on the night of his murder, the sick Luis Ojeda, a dwarf who annoys Alice, disappeared.
Future. Sumuel Alvaro is talking to the detective. He philosophizes about mental illness. He says that if God created people in the same way that we write a text, then mentally ill people are God’s Crooked Lines, created by him while learning to write. Alvaro offers the detective not to make the case public and, in principle, not to qualify the death that occurred as a murder. After all, the killer is one of these God’s Crooked Lines. After being caught and examined, he will still end up in this or a similar hospital.
Loreto Mauleon as Montserrat Castel. Frame from the film.
The present. The heroine is looking for Louise Ojeda, but she meets Romulo. He shows a hut made of branches, and says that he built it for his family – his brother, imaginary sister and Alice, whom he considers his mother. The woman does not deny the status assigned to her. Romulo says that she came here specifically to be with her children and will stay here forever. Alice replies that she will never leave them again. The heroine hears a rustle, leaves the hut and is attacked by Louise Ojeda. As a result of the struggle, she loses consciousness. After awakening, it turns out that the dwarf is dead, and she is suspected of murder. Alice remembers hitting Ojeda in the temple with a stick.
Samuel Alvaro returns to the hospital. It turns out that he knows nothing about Alice’s investigation, although she is convinced that through correspondence she agreed with the director about this. The heroine realizes that she is a prisoner and tries to escape, but to no avail.
Alice tells the council of doctors that she cheated on her husband to get into the hospital. According to her, he thinks that his wife went to Buenos Aires for work. Alice also reveals that what she said earlier about her husband is a lie. She does not despise him, and he did not try to poison her – the spouses love and respect each other.
Alice talks about how at the New Year’s ball her husband introduced her to Raimondo Garcia Del Olmo (while for some reason called him a traitor), the father of the victim, whose murder she is investigating. Before that, the woman had seen him in the newspaper. She learned about the murder itself earlier on TV – since then it has not gone out of her head.
Raimondo Garcia Del Olmo asked Alice for an investigation and handed over the same letter from the alleged killer. From the handwriting, she determined that the author was suffering from hybephrenic schizophrenia. The letter was sent two days before Domiano’s death from Robregaard, ten minutes’ drive from the asylum. It is likely that the director temporarily discharged the sender, but it is his imaginary support that Alice enlists in absentia at the suggestion of Del Olmo. The heroine convinced the trusted doctor, Dr. Donadio, to make up a legend about her illness, and deceived her husband so that he would sign the documents about the need for hospitalization.
In confirmation of her words, Alice reads from memory the description of the legend of the disease from Dr. Donadio, which she allegedly invented.
Federico Aguado played the role of Ruiperez. Frame from the film.
The opinions of doctors about the mental health of the heroine differed. Samuel Alvaro is trying to convince his colleagues to rely primarily on the signs of the disease, while the rest want to check the accuracy of the information transmitted to Alice. The director says that the patient is pathologically arrogant and she had a motive for poisoning her husband – she could not bear that he did not love her, but money. He sets out his version of events, according to which there was more than one assassination attempt, and when introduced into the hospital, Alice chose her own real illness as a legend.
Ignacio Urquieta tells the doctors that Alice is not responsible for the death of Luisa Ojeda. After an attempted rape, he himself stumbled and died, hitting a stone. Doctors show Alice the real doctor Raimondo Garcia Del Olmo – it turns out to be a stranger to her. The woman behaves aggressively and is taken away for electroshock therapy. Seeing this procession in the corridor, Romulo howls like a wolf.
We see how Alice reproduces past events in her mind and tries to understand their true meaning. Upon awakening, she comes to the conclusion that the man she believed to be Raiomondo Garcia Del Olmo was actually a figurehead who conspired with her husband. The latter decided to send her to a hospital after the assassination attempts and staged a performance asking for an investigation into the murder, forging even a newspaper with a photograph of Del Olmo. Cesar Arilano decides to check this version and first goes to the police, and then to Alice’s house, where he finds a sign confirming that she is a private detective.
Montserrat Castel finds in Samuel Alvaro’s papers a check from Alice’s husband for twenty times the normal cost of a hospital stay.
The heroine, with the help of patients, is preparing an escape. At night, she sets a fire and releases the sick into the street – events take place, partially shown earlier. Ignacio discovers the corpse of one of the twin brothers, touches him – so his hands are covered in blood.
Alice comes to the gate, lets the coroner Lucia in, and looks out over the area outside the asylum. In the eyes of the patient – fear. The coroner asks to see the scene of the crime. Then Alice decides to stun the official and switch places with her in order to find out the details of the murder that just took place. The heroine examines the body and comes to the conclusion that it was damaged not only by glass blows, but also by significant weight. This suggests that the killer is a giant patient. His motive is love for a girl whom one of the twin brothers considered a sister. Romulo did not let the giant get close to her and he decided to kill the defender. Alice tells this version to the police and doctors, also confirming that she killed the dwarf after all in self-defense. In confirmation of the words of the detective, cuts from glass are found on the hands of the giant patient.
A little later, the police announce a detail that confirms Alice’s version of her imprisonment in a hospital – recently her husband emptied all the money accounts. This became possible because the woman was recognized as incapacitated.
Alice communicates with the surviving twin brother, as with her son, and it becomes clear that this is Romulo, and not Remo – the giant man was mistaken.
Montserrat Castel appoints an extraordinary council of psychiatrists, at which the issue of Alice’s discharge will be finally resolved. Before leaving, the heroine looks into the broken mirror of her cosmetic bag. At the council, everyone except Samuel Alvaro speaks out in favor of Alice’s discharge, since she is healthy. The director is of the opposite opinion, but withdraws his vote, leaving his colleagues to their shame. At the end of the meeting, he brings into the hall a man whom Alice mistook for Raimondo Del Olmo. It turns out to be a psychiatrist Dr. Donadio.
God’s Crooked Lines Ending explanation
So, throughout the film God’s Crooked Lines, just like in the original novel, unfortunately, not yet translated into Russian, there is a twisting of intrigue. It lies in whether the heroine is actually mentally ill. And the ending gives an unequivocal answer: yes, it is. The director Oriol Paolo himself confirms this in an interview: the meaning of the ending of the film God’s Crooked Lines is exactly that. The 1983 painting also clearly shows that Alice is ill.
From the very beginning to the end, director Samuel Alvaro was sure of the mental illness of the patient. He was finally disappointed in the competence of his subordinates and students, who succumbed to the tricks of the patient and did not check the clinical diagnosis made by Dr. Donadio. The appearance of the latter in the ending put an end to this issue.
However, this does not mean that the fate of the heroine is finally decided and she will still be returned to the hospital. In the final frame, we see the intense work of her mind. Alice will surely come up with a new lie, contradicting the previous words, but very convincing – everything, as it was said in the cover letter.
However, it is interesting that such an explanation of the ending does not at all cancel the veracity of what was shown earlier. This God’s Crooked Lines compares favorably with films where the main character is a mentally ill person and, accordingly, part of the events are just his illusions. Most likely, Alice really was a private detective – Caesar did not see the sign in her apartment. Her husband really took all the money out of the account – the police are not mistaken either. Probably Alice really tried to poison him, which was the last straw.
Poster for the film.
Although, in fact, Eleodoro could take money earlier, which he did in general (remember the words of the heroine about the cost of poker and bets). After all, a clinical diagnosis confirming the insanity of his wife was made even before hospitalization. It’s just that the hospitalization helped get rid of Alice’s control. And the payment of twenty times the cost of the services of the hospital allowed us to hope that the spouse would stay here for a long time.
In the 1983 film God’s Crooked Lines, it is shown that it was Eleodoro who provoked his wife’s mental illness: he constantly brought his mistresses to the house and beat his wife. In the 2021 film adaptation, only hints are given of his infidelity (a conversation with Caesar). But it is clear that Alice’s unhealthy relationship with her husband was a continuation of her relationship with her father, with whom she lived before marriage. She characterizes them in the same way – literally with the same words. Probably, the disease began in childhood, but it has acquired its most acute form now.
Alice’s madness is also hinted at by the fact that she took her own illness as a legend for the “investigation”. The letter from Dr. Donadio was typed by her (simply copying the clinical diagnosis) and signed by him – here, too, there is no contradiction to the events shown.
Another interesting detail: the only book that Alice asked to take for herself is called Syndromes and Types of Paranoia. If she was investigating a murder for which she suspected a patient with hebephrenic schizophrenia, then why didn’t she take a reference book on this disease? This is because the investigation was made up (and the legend about it is supported by her husband and Dr. Donadio), and she was going to imitate paranoia and really misled Dr. Ruiperez. No wonder Alice herself says that the murder of Damien Garcia Del Olmo did not go out of her head after being told about it on TV.
It was also not in vain that the emphasis was placed on the look of the heroine, when her escape plan was almost a success and she was standing at the gate – there was clearly fear and confusion. Most likely, she was locked up (at home with her father or with her husband, then in a hospital) for a long time, and freedom frightens her.
Despite the illness or even thanks to it (we remember the letter of Dr. Donadio: the patient is forced to constantly invent plausible interpretations of newly discovered facts), Alice was able to investigate the murder of Remo. But can the conclusions drawn be considered reliable? And what about the death of Damien Garcia Del Olmo – was it violent? Here we come to the most controversial part of the plot.
The conclusion suggests itself that with her lies the patient confused and misled both the doctors and the police. Little is known about the death of Damien Del Olmo. There is a note written in the handwriting of a schizophrenic and sent from the city two days before the tragedy.
Frame from the film.
Perhaps this is a real-life document, but Alice learned about it from television and newspapers – it is unlikely that she would have had the original. The diagnosis of “schizophrenia” in “Crooked Lines of God” is directly voiced in relation to only one patient – Damien Del Olmo himself. This is what Ignacio Urquieta says. So the author is most likely directly suicidal. The content of the note can be explained by his madness and revenge on his father for imprisonment in a hospital. And Ignacio, who has access to the city, could send it without reading it. However, the killer could also be a dwarf who suspiciously disappeared on the day of Damien’s death and, judging by the attack on Alice, is quite capable of atrocities. But it is unlikely that he would write something.
Alice says that the author of this note suffers from hybephrenic schizophrenia, that is, one of its subtypes, which is characterized by features of foolishness or childishness. Romulo fits that description perfectly. In addition, Ignacio told Alice with complete certainty that Romulo was capable of murder. However, we note again: it is unlikely that Alice had a real note addressed to Raimondo Garcia Del Olmo, which casts doubt on the existence of the original. So, most likely, Damien’s suicide took place.
With the murder of Remo, everything is no less confused. The names of the twin brothers are a reference to the legend of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. According to her, they were raised by a she-wolf (it’s not for nothing that Romulo howls after Alice, whom he considers his mother and who is being taken to electroshock therapy), and the first killed the second.
The murder also happened in the movie. Alice considered the giant patient guilty, but it is possible that the grieving Romulo contributed to this – for example, he specially left for the “sister”, provoking the killer. True, the meaning of this act is unclear – the brothers did not fight for any power and spheres of influence, unlike the ancient prototypes. Perhaps Romulo thought that this way he would get more love from his imaginary mother. After all, Alice herself tried to match the created image, because she always wanted to have children (we remember her answer “frustration” as an association to the word “children”). Another argument in favor of this version: the heroine, as one of the motives for killing the giant man, called the fact that he saw how Romulo protected her from Louise Ojeda. Although, most likely, she herself killed the dwarf, as was originally shown.
The meaning of the film God’s Crooked Lines
The book by Luca De Ten, of which the film God’s Crooked Lines is a film adaptation, was intended, in a sense, to return mentally ill people to their dignity. The author wanted to show that mentally ill people do not actually make mistakes and do not deceive. Their thinking is complex and does not meet the usual standards that healthy people are used to.
In the film adaptation of 2021, there is most likely no such hidden meaning. The essence of the film is to hold, and then to reveal the detective intrigue, which, however, consists not in the question “Who is the killer?”, but in the question “Is the heroine crazy?” That’s what the director is focused on. And, perhaps, he succeeded.
Frame from the film.