Silent Night (2021) – an unfunny comedy about the apocalypse and hope: plot summary and meaning of the film, description and explanation of the ending, similar movies.
Genre: drama, comedy, fantasy
Year of production: 2020
Director: Camille Griffin
Actors: Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis
Slogan: “Celebrating a final Christmas night before an apocalypse will destroy the world” (Celebrating the last Christmas night before the apocalypse destroys the world)
Camille Griffin made a very pretentious, acutely social satire. The plot of the film “Silent Night” tells about the Earth, which has decided to get rid of greedy humanity – and about the people who have to understand and accept this.
What is the movie about
Brief description of the contents of the picture. The plot centers on a married couple, Nell and Simon. The time for Christmas is approaching – a quiet family holiday. It will be celebrated under somewhat, to put it mildly, unusual conditions: a cloud of poisonous gas is approaching the country, which will destroy all life on Earth. In this regard, the government “made sure” that the death of the Kingdom’s subjects was calm and not painful: each of them received special pills in a timely manner.
Nell and Simon come up with the idea of celebrating Christmas in their large country mansion, in the company of friends. The party promises to be perfect, and the little family is looking forward to the evening with pleasure.
Soon the guests begin to arrive at the house and, having taken their seats, they begin to have dinner. However, the fun seems strained, and the meaning of the prayer read at the table is ominous: each of those present, no, no, will even look outside the window…
Soon the conversation turns to the queen and one of the guests expresses the opinion that she is probably celebrating Christmas in some bunker. “She’s old, she doesn’t care,” says one of the guests, young Kitty, authoritatively. This passage greatly outrages another guest, Sophie: “According to you, the old people have outlived their usefulness and can we put an end to them?” – she seethes.
Little by little, the rest of the guests join in the conversation – and each of them has something to say. Nell is trying to prevent a conflict: what is the point of arguing when very soon all contradictions will disappear and inexorable death will reconcile everyone? However, the children do not agree: one of the owners’ sons, Art, begins a philosophical conversation with Kitty, who is sure that the giant cloud is the fault of the Russians, who decided to destroy everyone. “This is wrong. Our planet tolerated us for a long time, but then it decided that there is a limit to everything – and now, we are all finished,” the boy answers.
Adults feel uncomfortable that children know the truth, but nothing can be corrected. The men go out to smoke and one of them, Tony, admits to his friends that he is scared as hell. Sophie’s husband, James, says that everyone is scared now – except for the most renegade and fanatics. In addition, he is worried about his pregnant wife, who, for fear of harming the child, does not want to take a suicide pill. “Are you crazy?” – Tony is perplexed. “She has a choice,” James reprimands him sternly.
It’s time to give gifts. Everything seems to be going smoothly, but Art rebels – in his opinion, there is no point in this, because none of them will ever be able to use what was given… The boy runs away from the celebration into the corridor, and when his father comes out to him, he asks if everyone has received pills. Simon sheepishly admits that the government has taken care of everyone except the migrants and the homeless. Nothing personal, they are simply not taken into account by the system and therefore they will have to die in agony.
Art thinks this is unfair, and his father justifies the government. Slowly the conversation turns to choice. Alas, nothing good comes of this, because the father, frightened and crumpled, says that they have no choice – at the appointed hour they all need to take their pill, and that’s it.
A little later, Nell and Simon take the children with them to contact their grandmother. An elderly and very elegant lady says that everything will be fine – they will all meet in heaven soon. Having said goodbye to her loved ones, she breaks off the connection. This hurts Art very much, and he makes a firm decision not to take the pill.
However, he wants to talk about it and chooses James, who works as a doctor, for this. He assures the boy that he still needs to take the pill. Art’s interpretation is simple and sincere: “She’s going to kill me,” he says. “It just won’t hurt you,” answers the rather embarrassed doctor. The boy doubts that the coming “apocalypse” will destroy all life, but James says that since “knowledgeable people” are talking about it, it means it is so. Art is stubbornly confident that “knowledgeable people” can make mistakes.
The doctor turns out to be completely unprepared for such a “debriefing” and, grabbing a bottle of wine, goes for a walk with the rest of the adults. The music is playing, everyone is already pretty drunk. However, Simon and Nell have to sober up – Art does not want to die, which he tells them about in private. They have only one answer: “We are your parents and we know better,” but the boy has already taken the bit between his teeth. Confident that the “apocalypse” can be survived, he desperately asks his parents not to take their pills. But they are too frightened by the prospect of a painful death.
The boy accuses his parents of wanting to kill him and runs away. In the forest, he comes across a car with dead people, and he becomes hysterical. Slowly the simple thought that “everyone is dead” dawns on Simon. Tony looks at him like Cap: “Yeah, yeah, the whole world is dead,” he admonishes. But Simon is scared, and he can’t do anything about it…
Silent Night Ending explained
Explanation of the ending of the picture. The ending of this Christmas night is unlike any other – Simon, Nell and Art’s two brothers are preparing to fall asleep… The boys, under the control of their parents, take ominous pills. Everyone else does the same. In the morning, it turns out that everyone is dead except Art, who, due to a nervous breakdown, never took his pill.
The message at the end of Silent Night is that the boy was right. The gas that the government used to scare people turned out to be non-lethal. And the message of the ending is this: we always have the right to choose, and life is worth fighting for. Even when everything around you screams that this is the end, you need to believe in yourself and not give up.
The meaning of the film Silent Night
For some reason, “Silent Night” was released as a comedy, which seems very strange. Of course, this conversational, British-elegant film is funny in places, but there is not much to laugh about here. The essence of the film lies on the surface: this is a film about universal responsibility to the world. It is also about the hope that the new generation will be smarter and will be able to correct our mistakes.
The British are famous masters of chamber conversational cinema. Their films lack the inherent American pathos and pan-European hopelessness and decay, but there is a fair share of gloomy “subtle English humor”.
Here we see several interesting characters who are in the same location. Initially, it seems that we are in for a moderately absurd comedy about how wealthy and self-sufficient citizens meet the apocalypse with champagne, salads and music. However, the director, Camille Griffin, chose a slightly different path.
Her heroes are people who have come to terms with the situation. Knowing full well that they are not destined to see the morning of the next day, they behave according to the situation – they sort things out, scream, are afraid and even partly hope that “everything will be fine.” Like the heroes of “The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio, they know very well that they will have nothing more and therefore they are not worried about existential questions at all, but about ordinary ordinary topics – family, children and love…
There are many films that try to ironically comprehend the inevitable end, but this does not bother the director at all. Moreover, she argues with colleagues and does it very confidently. For example, unlike the venerable Lars von Trier, who destroyed humanity in his “Melancholia,” she gives people a chance.
At the end of the film, the most sober hero in the film opens his eyes: the gas affected him, but did not kill him. It is he, the child, who allows himself to ask questions from which “wise adults” cowardly hide and run away. Art rightly criticizes the older generation, which led the world to destruction. “Why give toys if you won’t play with them?” he asks. This phrase has a sinister hidden meaning. After all, unless people start treating the world responsibly, their cars, big houses, fashions, gadgets and everything else risk remaining as monuments of overconsumption in the ruins of civilization…
One of the main advantages of the film is its courage. After all, not every director can afford to pose a socio-political issue as the leitmotif of his creation. We are talking not only about social injustice, but also about the notorious “Russian trace”. The director ridicules consumerism in all respects – after all, who believes in mythical “enemies” if not consumers of news and all kinds of political talk shows?
Another advantage of the film was the variety of behavior patterns in a critical situation. The characters seem unrealistic and cardboard only at first glance, and it is very interesting to watch how each of them reacts to the inevitable death that will come in a few hours: some of them are afraid and hysterical, others are in full readiness to go into eternity, and some people are just tired of everything.
“Silent Night” is an eclectic mix of genres. This is probably the key to the low popularity of the film: most viewers still like “pure” genres. There is also a grotesque comedy with caustic dialogues and a satire on modern morals and drama and even a thriller (there is plenty of tension associated with the premonition of imminent death). The comedy component of the film can be seen in the dialogues and relationships of some of the characters – you can smile while watching it only during conversations.
Of course, this is not a film about the apocalypse – its onset is only a background here. To a greater extent, this is a story about a choice: to believe or not to believe, to take a pill or not, to leave a plastic bottle on the street or to recycle the candy wrapper you picked up… By making a choice, we take responsibility to ourselves and, no matter how pretentious it may sound, in front of the planet too.
In general, the idea that mass suicide occurs on Christmas (the day Jesus Christ was born) causes a slight feeling of bewilderment, because the filmmakers play on a very unequal opposition. This is probably why after watching this film we stay with these characters for some time.
“Silent Night” leaves behind a long aftertaste. And this is an excellent indicator that the movie really worked.
Here are several films similar in plot and meaning to the film “Silent Night”:
- “Melancholia” (Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, 2011). The film tells about the sisters Justine and Claire, who had to live on the eve of the destruction of the Earth.
- “Don’t Look Up” (USA, 2021). Two scientists are trying to warn people about the impending disaster, but no one wants to hear them.
- “Perfect Strangers” (Spain, Italy, 2017). Seven friends gather for dinner and decide to play a simple game. They have a lot to learn about each other…
- “Time” (USA, 2021). Several people enjoy relaxing on a secluded beach. Soon they notice that their children began to grow up rapidly.