The Meaning & Explanation Of The Film’s Ending The Turning (2020)
Country: Ireland, UK, USA
Genre: horror, drama
Year of production: 2020
Directed by: Floria Sigismondi
Actors: Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklyn Brines, Barbara Marten, Joely Richardson
A Detailed Analysis Of The Plot
The horror film The Turning is a classic horror in the best traditions of gothic, transferred to modern realities. This picture is not the first in a row, but a very successful film adaptation of Henry James’ story “The Turn of the Screw”. However, the content of the book and the film are different. Despite the general outline of the story, the ending is different. If the end is clear in a work of art, then in the film version it remains open. Let’s try to analyze in detail the meaning of the film The Turning (2020), so that the viewer does not have an ambiguous interpretation.
What is the movie about
Let’s start the review with the fact that the film The Turning very accurately withstands the tense atmosphere of horror, which attracts fans of this genre. For this there is everything you need. A bit of mysticism, frankly creepy moments that make you shudder, and a hidden meaning, in search of which you want to watch the film again.
Young teacher Kate receives an offer to babysit a seven-year-old girl who is left without parents and is in the care of an old housekeeper. A friend tries to dissuade the heroine, but she lightly brushes it off, being sure that one little girl is easier to look after than 25 restless tomboys with whom she works at school.
The role of the young teacher Kate was played by Mackenzie Davis. Frame from horror.
The house makes a good impression on Kate. This is a huge family mansion, with greenhouses, stables and a large area. However, close up it becomes clear that no one has been looking after the house for a long time. The parents of seven-year-old Flora died, only an elderly housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, looks after the household. Every two weeks a gardener comes to clean the surrounding area.
Flora makes a good impression on her governess. The girl is very mobile and cheerful, and her character does not fit into the gloomy atmosphere of the mansion at all. It is revealed that she has a brother, Miles, who is in a boarding school.
Flora gives her governess a little tour of the house, complaining that her previous nanny ran away and didn’t even say goodbye. Kate promises that she will never leave her ward. The girl believes her and calms down.
The beauty of The Turning is that there is no lengthy preface. Inexplicable events begin already on the first night of Kate’s stay in this house. She is about to close the window in Flora’s room and suddenly sees an eerie reflection of a half-decomposed female corpse. It is noteworthy, but the nanny perceives this phantom quite calmly: there is no predictable squeal or scream. Later, from her room, she hears voices and a creaking bed. Kate fearlessly sets off to travel through the gloomy corridors of the mansion, more reminiscent of a luxurious family crypt. She finds a room with a noise coming from behind the door, but when she opens it, she finds only an empty room.
Here it turns out that Miles, who should be in a boarding house, returned home. The boy tells The Turning that she is not allowed to enter this room.
Miles and Flora, played by Finn Wolfhard and Brooklyn Prince. Frame from the film.
The next day, Kate finds out for herself a few more important points. Mrs. Grose considers the children to be chosen and considers it a great honor to work in this house. The director calls from the boarding house, who says that Miles beat the boy in the toilet, and for this he was expelled. Kate shares this message with the housekeeper, but she is sure that this is just a slander on a cute and harmless boy.
Kate finds a curriculum in the study room, where her predecessor shares her little pupil’s progress. However, the former governess also mentions a groom, Quint, with whom Miles became close after the death of his parents. At the same time, The Turning mentions that the man has a detrimental effect on the boy, and once she saw how they came home drunk together.
Kate honestly tries to do her job, but soon becomes convinced that the kids are not so chosen. Miles is in a difficult adolescence, he does not respond to comments, he begins to frankly bully the new nanny, as if testing her psyche for strength.
Flora is completely under the influence of her brother, so she willingly takes part in his cruel pranks. For example, on the second night of their stay at Kate’s house, the children threw a mannequin into the pool. The governess decided that it was Flora, and without hesitation rushed into the water. Realizing the mistake and emerging, she sees her brother and sister making fun of her.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that the girl sees ghosts everywhere. Kate breaks down and decides to leave the mansion. However, later she remembers the promise given to the girl and returns. The governess tries to start over. She wins back Flora’s trust, but Miles doesn’t get through.
Flora reminds The Turning that she promised to play hide and seek with flashlights. Kate does not want to play, but the children work together to crush the governess. The rules of the game are simple. The driver is looking for hidden children with a flashlight. Whoever finds himself in a beam of light is “dead.” The game is played in complete darkness. Kate quickly finds the hidden Flora, and is forced to go down to the basement in search of Miles.
Here she finds herself in a room full of old, broken dolls. Someone snatches the flashlight from her hands, and the girl accidentally breaks her nose by hitting the doll’s head. Going upstairs, she sees Miles in the room with the housekeeper and Flora. At the same time, Mrs. Grose assures the enraged governess that the boy has been here for 15 minutes.
Sitting in the room, Kate sees wet footprints appearing on the floor. She goes to the window and sees a figure dressed in white walking into the woods. On the bank of the pond, someone grabs Kate by the leg, she falls into the water and sees the body of her predecessor in the depths.
Frame from the film.
The next day, Kate receives a letter from her mother with black drawings. In the room where voices used to be heard, she sees the scene of Quint strangling the previous governess. After that, the groom’s ghost attacks the nanny. She tries to save the children and leaves the mansion with them.
However, the content of “Nanny” is too confusing to end with a happy ending. In the next scene, Kate is again sitting at the table with her mother’s letter. She hears the voices of children discussing her. She tries to get confirmation from her charges that they also see ghosts. However, the children assure that nothing otherworldly is happening in the house, and there are no ghosts. In the expanding eye of the nanny, you can see that she is in an empty pool, where her mother, who is in a psychiatric clinic, draws her pictures.
When the woman turns, Kate stares into her eyes, screaming. Titles, end. It is this ambiguous ending of the film The Turning that raises many questions among the audience. Let’s try to give it a simple and logical explanation.
The meaning of the film The Turning can be understood by the fiducial points, which are perfectly traced throughout the film. For example, in the first frames you can see how Kate’s predecessor is trying to escape from the mansion at night. However, Quint grabs her near the gate, whose reflection is clearly visible in the glass of the car. This unequivocally indicates that the story of the groom and the governess, which runs in the background in the film, is quite real.
Quint killed the woman and hid the body in the pond. The groom himself may have been killed by Mrs Grose. She herself told Kate that she was personally convinced of the death of a man. Moreover, she did not like the unbridled behavior of Quint, who imagined himself the master of the house.
The explanation for why Flora refuses to leave the gates of the mansion is also simple, and not connected with mysticism. The girl saw her parents die right in front of the gate. She also watched through the window as the previous nanny tried to leave, and also died. The girl is sure that death awaits everyone outside the gates. This confidence in her is fueled by the housekeeper, who does not want to let the baby out from under her care.
Barbara Marten as Mrs. Grose, the housekeeper. Frame from the film.
All the oddities in the house are the work of Miles. The boy is just playing with the new nanny, albeit in very cruel games. He is also covered by the housekeeper. Moreover, Miles is in puberty, so he shows a completely unchildish interest in Kate.
Kate herself is an abandoned child. She mentioned that she was left without a father early, while the girl’s mother is in the clinic. Kate is drawn to the children, quickly finds a common language with them, but most of all she is afraid of becoming like her mother.
These accents help to understand the meaning of the film The Turning.
The meaning of the ending
Let’s move on to explaining the ending. The point is that nothing supernatural happens in the house. Perhaps ghosts live here, but they belong to the category of harmless ghosts. Please note that otherworldly entities do not harm anyone. Nobody but Kate. However, what she sees is happening in her imagination. She learned the history of the mansion, and, as they say, screwed herself up by presenting the story itself. Only the mannequin’s head does not fit into this theory, which itself turns, returning to its place. But this can be attributed to Miles – it was on this night that he returned home from the boarding house.
Frame from the film.
The key to the plot lies in a single phrase that Mrs. Grose casually dropped. The old and curious housekeeper opened the envelope sent by her mother to Kate. Mrs Grose says, “I don’t know what’s wrong with your mother, but I hope it’s not hereditary.” Kate inherited a mental disorder from her mother, which aggravated in the gloomy and oppressive atmosphere of the mansion. To a large extent, this was facilitated by Miles, who frightened and brought The Turning the whole film.
Another phrase that reveals the meaning was said by the boy about the broken doll: “It broke, just like you.” In the finale, Kate realizes her own madness, so when she finds herself in an empty pool with her mother, she sees herself in the turned woman, which makes the girl scream in horror.