The Little Things Ending Explained & Film Analysis

The beginning of 2021 was marked by the release of a new film written and directed by John Lee Hancock, The Little Things, the meaning of which at first glance is to show the usual detective story to find the killer. It has everything you need for a standard detective: two policemen, mysterious murders, a cunning maniac. That’s just the finale of the picture is striking in its unconventional ending. To understand the meaning of the film The Little Things will help a detailed analysis of the plot of the picture.


The film begins with a car chase scene with a girl at the wheel driving through the city at night. From the first minutes, the viewer is gripped by tension that does not recede until the end of the story.

Without getting to know the key characters of the film The Little Things, it is difficult to understand the meaning of the picture.


Main characters:

  • Jim Baxter is a young police officer, investigating serial murders, married, father of two girls.
  • Joe Deacon is a former legendary detective who accidentally shot a girl while pursuing a killer. This caused a heart attack and suspension from work. After a divorce from his wife, he lives in a small town, working as a deputy sheriff.
  • Albert Sparma is a young man who is fond of detectives and often changes jobs.

The time of action is the 90s. The city of Los Angeles is rocked by a series of girl murders.

Plot Analysis

Joe Deacon arrives at the local police station on business, where he meets young detective Jim Baxter, who is investigating the ongoing murders. Jim has heard about Deacon and asks him to join the investigation.

Interesting! The script of the film was written in 1993, when there were no modern means of communication and opportunities to facilitate the conduct of the investigation. The authors did not adapt the film to current conditions, preserving the atmosphere of the 90s.

After the first frames, it seems that the plot and meaning of the film The Little Things is quite simple. As the denouement approaches, the viewer’s opinion changes dramatically.

Albert Sparma falls under the suspicion of the officers. Their confidence in Sparma’s guilt did not waver even after the suspect’s alibi became known.

Another girl goes missing. The partners hope to save her by catching the maniac before killing her. Joe and Jim go to Sparm for questioning and a search of the house. Sparma provokes the police, claiming to know the whereabouts of the missing woman.

Arriving with Albert to the alleged burial place of the girl, Jimmy begins to dig. Sparma, mocking the policeman, points out a new place each time. An enraged Jimmy, realizing that Sparma is deliberately deceiving him, inflicts a fatal blow on Albert with a shovel.

Dick, who arrived later, helps Jimmy bury the murdered man, telling Baxter to hide what happened, take a vacation and leave for a while. Joe returns to Sparma’s house to destroy his belongings. At the end of the film, Baxter receives an envelope from Joe with a red hairpin, similar to the one that belonged to the last girl.

Plot Explanation

The authors chose such an ambiguous idiom for the title for a reason. On the one hand, the meaning of the expression The Little Things means that every little thing matters. And the film really involved small details. On the other hand, this phrase suggests that even when everything is foreseen and taken into account, any little thing can change everything.

Throughout the picture, the authors periodically return the viewer to the story that happened to Joe Deacon. Despite the fact that many years have passed, he lives with guilt. This feeling and resilient heartache drive Dick, who agreed to investigate the murders.

Jim Baxter for Dick is the personification of himself in his youth, who has not yet had time to make mistakes. By the middle of the film The Little Things, the meaning of the picture changes dramatically. This is no longer an ordinary detective story, but a psychological thriller.

The film shows the inextricable bond between two policemen. Baxter, like Joe, became an unintentional killer. The young policeman did not manage to avoid the same situation as the old one.

The authors showed the cyclical nature of life and crimes, everything repeats itself sometime. But Joe decided to save the young friend from mental anguish. Deacon becomes John’s heavenly guardian angel, helping to cover up the perfect murder.

The author leaves the heroes the right to redemption. Each of them must understand himself. Thus, in the film The Little Things the meaning of the picture is to fight the inner devil.

The Little Things the meaning of the ending

From the very beginning of the picture, the audience is trying, along with the characters, to understand who the real killer is. Quite unexpectedly, the ending does not provide an answer to the question, making you wonder what the true meaning of the movie The Little Things.

The murder of Sparma brings confusion to Jimmy’s soul. He tries to justify himself by stopping the cruel killer. But despite this, Baxter can’t shake his doubts. Suddenly this unpleasant type is not a real killer and a terrible mistake has been made.

The girl’s hairpin, allegedly found by Dick in Sparma’s apartment, assuages ​​Jim’s conscience. But the viewer sees that Joe actually bought this hairpin. Now the viewer, unlike Baxter, is not sure of Sparma’s fault. A lot of questions arise – who is the real killer, why did the authors leave the finale open? What is the meaning of such an ending of The Little Things?

The authors propose to draw their own conclusions. Thanks to the open ending, the viewer is forced to reconsider their attitude to the story they have watched. It seemed that an ordinary detective suddenly turns into a personal drama. By the end of the film comes the realization of how easy it is to make a mistake and become a killer yourself. This explanation of the ending reveals the true meaning of The Little Things in detail.

Like all films with meaning, The Little Things does not allow you to relax. And after the end of the picture, it makes you want to return to the plot in order to remember all the little things and answer the questions that have arisen.

Add a comment