Enemy Review: What Does the Ending of Mean?

The meaning of the film Enemy 2013: explanation of the plot & ending. The film Enemy, released on the big screen in 2013, is the brainchild of the French Canadian director Danny Villeneuve. From the first minutes of watching this psychological thriller, it becomes clear that nothing is clear. The meaning of the film Enemy is constantly slipping away, hiding behind allegory and images in the form of spiders and cobwebs. Let’s figure it out.

Description of the story

The plot of the film Enemy develops around the history college professor Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal). His life is monotonous and unremarkable. A stable job, Mary’s constant partner, which at the same time does not require a serious continuation of their relationship. A sort of groundhog day. In general, the whole picture of the beginning of the film is sustained in muddy dusty tones. With a minimum of dynamics and movements. But everything changes in a few minutes.


Looking through a low-quality film, taken at the box office, Adam notices an actor in one of the minor roles, one in one similar to him. Interested in the presence of his double, Bell begins an investigation to find him. Not realizing that he is plunging into a real web of secrets and madness.

The actor who interested Adam is Anthony Clair. He lives in Toronto with his wife Helen. His way of life is fundamentally different from that of Adam. Anthony is an active party-goer who rides a motorcycle. He is brash and impulsive. Has mistresses, indulges himself in visiting sex parties. And dreams of a great acting career. However, outwardly they are completely identical, from scars to facial hair. How can this be? This is the main point of the film Enemy.

I am he!

Both Adam and Anthony are two personalities of the same person. A psychological breakdown occurred in the hero when Helen announced her pregnancy to him. Accustomed to free active pastime, Anthony feels cornered. After all, the child will finally bind him to his wife, who has not attracted him for a long time. Add responsibility to your shoulders. And, perhaps, and deprive the dream. The emotional overload turns out to be so great that the hero simply runs away and… amnesiazes all the memories he doesn’t like. Forgotten are:

  • unwanted wife checking his phone and pockets;
  • failure in acting career;
  • their betrayals and promiscuity;
  • future child, destroying dreams and aspirations.

And at this moment, Adam Bell appears, the absolute antipode of Anthony. He has no ambition. He is content with the life of a simple teacher. Everything that Anthony once loved and wanted is alien to Adam, up to gastronomic preferences (blueberries).

Interesting! Blueberries in the interpretation of dreams according to Freud mean (naturally!) Sex. Anthony adores her and wants to always have a fresh berry at home. What he says in one of the scenes to his wife. Perhaps the reason for his betrayal is that Helen could only offer him a canned surrogate? Adam refuses the blueberry treat. This suggests that the sexual side of life is not so important to him.

The old personality still breaks out. Adam enthusiastically tells his students about total control, which he managed to avoid (goodbye, Helen!). Also, the hero remains his attachment to his mother.


Throughout the film, the director constantly slips the viewer spiders and their webs. The first arthropods appear at the beginning of the film in the nightclub scene. Further, they are either invisibly present in the frame – broken glass in the form of a web. Or tangibly pressed – a giant spider over the city.

On a note! At the National Gallery in Canada there is a sculpture “Maman”, which is identical to the arthropod hanging over the city from the film. Its author, Louise Bourgeois, grew up in a family with an overbearing, hardworking mother and an ever-cheating father.

According to Freud’s theory (who else?), the spider is a female symbol. It includes, on the one hand, the fear of being abandoned, and on the other, maternal emotions and feelings. The protagonist is surrounded by powerful women:

  • the mother, who dictates to him how, where and with whom to live, criticizes his acting work, does not stand on ceremony;
  • a wife who controls his every step, and now also a future mother.

It is from the problems of relationships in the family that he develops a mental disorder. Isn’t that another meaning of the film Enemy?

Ending and hidden meaning

The hero’s personality is put together during a meeting at Anthony and Adam’s motel. They switch places, realizing that they must do this. Adam returns to Helen. She, noticing the changes that have happened to him, convinces him to stay in the family. And at that moment, Anthony dies in a car accident.

Perhaps the integrity of the hero was restored, and the second personality has sunk into oblivion as unnecessary. Perhaps he found peace of mind and mental calmness, getting rid of Anthony’s impulsiveness and audacity. But why then did cobwebs spread on the glass of the broken car? Does this mean that the hero has fallen into a trap again? Can he get out of it?

The answer to the viewer is given by how the film Enemy ended. Adam finds the key to the private room of the nightclub, which belongs to Anthony. That’s the way out of the trap, right? He tells Helen that he wants to take a walk. But instead she sees in the room … Wait, another spider? Yes, but this time small and scared. Probably, the protagonist still managed to defeat one of his fears.

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