Adam’s Apples Ending Explained & Film Analysis

Anders Thomas Jensen’s film Adam’s Apples (Danish: Adams Æbler) (2005) is a very unusual tragicomedy drama. To the viewer, it may seem like an everyday story from the category of “you can’t imagine it on purpose”, or it can turn into an elegant neoparable without a clearly expressed morality. The Danish filmmaker, who gravitates towards black humor and elements of banter, filled his work with deep philosophical meaning. There are many references here: to the Old Testament story about Job, to the Gospel story about the temptation of Jesus Christ by the Devil, to the foundations of the theories of religious and atheistic existentialism. The story turned out to be both simple and sophisticated – this happens when a real master of the genre gets down to business. A kind of movie joke with a multi-layered subtext: about the eternal confrontation between good and evil, about mercy and philanthropy, about the metamorphoses of human relationships. And also about the meaning of life and destiny, about the fact that only the person himself decides what reality to live in, what to fight for and what to get in the end.

Dramatically, the film is resolved in the vein of confrontation between two main characters: a convicted neo-Nazi sent to corrective public works in a small Danish settlement, and a local priest who acts as a village dean.

Adam Ole Petersen is a shaven-headed, far-right, cynical and brutal thug with fists, a former leader of a neo-Nazi group, an atheist and the devil in the flesh. Evan Felsted is an extremely righteous pastor of a rural parish, a blessed and at the same time eccentric priest, known for his extraordinary attitude to religious canons. Adam is sent to Evan’s parish for three months to be on probation after being released on parole. The pastor is determined to guide the erring one on the right path. He has already re-educated many on his account: the fallen woman Sarah Svedsen, the former overseer of the concentration camp Paul Nordkapp, the alcoholic and rapist Gunnar, the robber Khalid. But the leader of the skinhead gang is set up aggressively and militantly. He intends to sit out a bit in the wilderness and return to his former occupation – to fight the imperfection of the world with the help of extremist actions. The main intrigue of the film is: which of the heroes will win – the blessed priest Evan, whose entire existence lies in the denial of evil, or neo-Nazi Adam, woven from anger and violence, embodying that very evil. At the same time, the story is parallel: just as Adam tempts Evan with unbelief, so Evan tempts Adam with faith.

The images of antipodean heroes are greatly exaggerated to emphasize that one of them finds himself in a world completely alien to him, which is even more insane and fanatical than himself. Choking from internal aggression, the skinhead faces the cult of selfless faith and obedience of a pious Lutheran. The main point of the film is that the time that Evan and Adam are forced to spend together changes both in an unexpected way. As the story unfolds, everyone enters a new phase of life full of surprise and moral reset.

According to the plot of the film, Adam is assigned to take care of the fruit tree in the church garden: to grow it, to get fruits by the fall in order to bake an apple pie for the flock. However, a simple task turns into a whole series of problems – caterpillars devour the tree, then annoying birds peck at the crop, then radicals interfere in the matter. At first, Adam made a promise to fulfill the assignment as a joke so that the pastor would fall behind him with his moralizing. But gradually it turns out that everything is much more complicated. The scene of the robbery of the store is remarkable, when everyone takes what he needs: Gunnar – food and drink, Khalid – money, Adam – a microwave to bake an apple pie.

The creator of the film wraps biblical stories in a wrapper of black humor, spices up the philosophical positions of existentialism with frivolous jokes. He depicts the soul of Adam in the form of an apple tree – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from the Garden of Eden. God’s wrath falls on him in the form of Egyptian executions (worms of doubt, crows of public opinion, etc.). The apple tree literally turns into a burning bush, like a thorn bush. Well, the apple pie in the finale is an offering of an enlightened and renewed person to his Baptist.

The main toolkit of the film – biblical allusions – can be changed to Scandinavian mythology: recall the ravens of Hugin and Munin, rejuvenating apples and the world tree Yggdrasil. The meaning of the film will not change at all and will not lose its metaphorical nature: Adam’s apple pie is a symbol of newfound faith, rethinking one’s values ​​and rebirth. As a result, a miracle happens: Adam Peterson manages to see the true value of life and choose between the reality imposed and the one he created himself. The protagonist fully learns the truth: fighting with another faith, you find your own.

In the finale, the plot of “Adam’s Apples” loops: new lost souls arrive for public works to the blessed righteous man. Everyone is waiting for ideological upheavals and miracles, which they do not even suspect. After all, as you know, a person “in his soul has a hole the size of God, and everyone fills it … as best he can.”

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