Mr. Nobody Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Mr. Nobody (2009) – A Film About Choice And The “butterfly Effect”. The Meaning Of The Film Mr. Nobody, Explanation Of The Ending, Soundtracks, Quotes.

Country: Belgium, Germany, Canada, France, UK

Genre: fantasy, melodrama, fantasy

Year of production: 2009

Directed by: Jaco Van Dormel

Cast: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Lin Dan Pam, Rhys Ifans

“Mr. Nobody” (original title Mr. Nobody) is an atmospheric film that clearly shows that our every action has consequences. This is the so-called “butterfly effect” of the universal scale. By the way, according to the plan, “Mr. Nobody” echoes the 2004 film with just that name.

Given that such an idea is extraordinary in itself, the meaning of the ending of the picture for many viewers remained incomprehensible. Let’s try to figure out what the true meaning of the film “Mr. Nobody” is, and find an explanation for the key points of the picture.

What is the movie about

The hero of Jared Leto is 118-year-old old man Nemo, who comes to his senses in 2092. He was in deep suspended animation for a long time, but the director does not voice the reasons for such a long sleep. In any case, the old man suffers from memory lapses. He is sure that he is 34 years old.

Nemo was the last mortal on the planet. Mankind has long made a technological breakthrough, and now the cells of all people are constantly being updated. In fact, it is immortality. Therefore, in the world of the future, the concepts of love and sex are outdated. People no longer need to fall in love and procreate. They remain forever young.

Nemo in the hospitalFrame from the film.

Therefore, the last relic of humanity turns into the object of a television show. People are watching with interest the last days of the life of the last mortal man. A journalist comes to Nemo with an old reel-to-reel tape recorder, and on the instructions of the editors is going to interview our hero. The old man is immersed in memories. It is in these memories of Jared Leto that the hidden meaning that the audience is trying to find is located.

There is a legend that before coming to our world, babies know all their lives, and even can choose families. However, then the Angel of Oblivion puts a finger to the lips of newborns, and they forget everything. This is how the nasolabial fold forms in humans. For some unknown reason, the Angel bypassed Nemo with his attention, so he received the gift to foresee the future.

The boy grows up in an ordinary American family, thinks about quite ordinary things. One day, when he was 9 years old, his parents divorced. Mom leaves, and the child faces the first difficult choice: to go with mom or stay with father. He doesn’t know how to act. Initially, he stands on the platform with his father, then he can’t stand it, and runs after the train that takes his mother away.

the choice of the boy on the platformFrame from the film.

From that moment on, the boy’s life seems to shatter into several fragments, each of which is a full-fledged line of fate. In his interview, Nemo lives through each of them, misleading the journalist with his spontaneous and contradictory reasoning.

In one of his lives, Nemo lectures on the expansion of the universe and space-time continuums. Curiously, in each of his possible lives, the guy is unhappy. He lives with unloved women, whom he chose, obeying momentary impulses. As a result, one spouse turns out to be a neurasthenic who is constantly depressed. He does not remember the other, and sees it in fits and starts when he briefly breaks out of his dreams. He is really happy with only one girl, but they have to part.

At the same time, the general meaning of the film “Mr. Nobody” boils down to the fact that the hero of Jared Leto needs to live up to a certain date. This is a kind of starting point, after which the universe stops expanding and begins to collapse.

Therefore, at the end of the film, the hero still dies, and the inhabitants of the new world eagerly catch the last words of the only mortal person on the planet. However, the mechanism of the universe is already starting its countdown. As a result, the hero comes to life, and according to the logic of the final, he begins to get younger.

Plot transcript

Let’s make a small review that will help to understand the meaning of the film “Mr. Nobody”. The explanation of the plot fits very well with the dove that we see at the beginning of the film.

The voice-over announces that the bird in the cage begins to associate its feeding with certain events. For example, if a pigeon flapped its wings before receiving food, the next time it will do the same, considering the feeding as a reward for its actions.

Nemo is the same dove, but he is in the cage of his own illusions. He is confident in the correctness of every decision made, but none of them turns out to be correct. In fact, fate leaves the hero no choice.

nemo adultFrame from the film.

If he stays with his father, his life becomes miserable. In one version of events, the fate of the guy is connected with Eliza, and here again two lines of development of events are possible. In the first, he does not dare to fully reveal his feelings, as a result he gets into an accident on a motorcycle, and ends up in a hospital bed in a deep coma. In the second, he still marries Eliza, but she continues to love her boyfriend and is depressed.

It is also possible that he lives with Jin. Here he acts according to plan, and achieves what he wants on all counts. However, having built his life, Nemo is frankly bored, and again decides to trust fate.

Now his life is ruled by a coin, with “Yes” and “No” solutions scrawled on it. Following these clues, he poses as a certain Mr. Jones, ends up in a hotel and receives a bullet in the chest.

The best option for him is Anna. But in order to be with her, the boy needs to leave with his mother. Mom Nemo lives with Anna’s father, so the guys turn out to be half-brother and sister. Real feelings flare up between them, but when the parents find out about the vicious relationship, Nemo and Anna have to part.

connection between Nemo and AnnaFrame from the film.

They give themselves the word to meet, which, in fact, is happening. However, Anna is not yet ready to continue the affair. The girl is already used to being alone and is afraid of losing her lover. She leaves back for New York, but leaves Nemo a phone number and asks to call her back in 2 days. The rain starts washing away the numbers, and the guy loses his only connection with his true love.

He is waiting for her near the lighthouse, and even meets her, but these are already dreams. In reality, he is a homeless man who simply lives on a bench near the lighthouse, entertaining himself with pipe dreams.

It is noteworthy, but even in this branch of fate, he can lose his beloved. If he doesn’t go swimming with a girl on the beach, ashamed of the fact that he can’t swim, he will call her friends fools. As a result, he will meet Anna later, when she is happily married and has time to give birth to two children. Having told the truth, he seeks her favor, and she stays with him.

What is the hidden meaning of these throwings? The fact is that a person cannot be in several realities at the same time. Therefore, all the lives that Nemo talks about simply did not exist. After all, he was missed by the Angel of Oblivion, so all the lines of fate are only possible probabilities.

The meaning of the ending

The ending is interesting because the absurd old man who has lived for 118 years and is waiting for the universe to stop expanding is also just one of the possibilities. Perhaps this is a continuation of one of the branches of fate in which the hero was in a coma.

In reality, everything that happens in this film is the events in the head of a nine-year-old boy who, for the first time in his life, faced a difficult choice. He seems to be sitting alone in an empty cinema, and the scenery changes on the stage, which shows scenes from his possible lives.

After all, in the movie “Mr. Nobody” everything is built on the complexity of choice. This is the “butterfly effect”, where micro changes create macro consequences. An unemployed man in Brazil boils an egg, which leads to the formation of a rain cloud, and a drop from the sky washes away the phone number, effectively breaking the life of the protagonist. A similar idea is reflected in the film “The Butterfly Effect”.

These possible consequences are calculated by the little boy, who was ignored by the Angel of Oblivion. He understands that in none of the probabilities will he be happy. But at the same time, his fate will be inextricably linked with one of the girls sitting on the bench.

As a result, Nemo cannot stay with his mother, but he does not want to live with his father either. So the boy chooses the third option. He runs away into the forest and, blowing a fallen maple leaf into the wind, as if entrusting himself to the hands of fate. This is where he does his best. He meets Anna and sits on the pier with her, throwing pebbles into the water.

That is why the film is called “Mr Nobody”. Nemo does not appear in any of the lives shown on screen. His true fate remains behind the scenes.

little Nemo and AnnaFrame from the film.


The music for the film is chosen very competently, and the sounding compositions very harmoniously complement the actions taking place on the screen. Here you can hear the following tracks:

  • Pierre Van Dormael – Mr. Nobody and Undercover
  • Buddy Holly – Everyday
  • Erik Satie – Je te veux and Lent Et Grave;
  • Eyrithmics – Sweet Dreams
  • The Chordettes sandman.

Here we can add that for the Belgian composer Pierre Van Dormal, this was the last work in the cinema. The famous jazzman died of oncology on September 3, 2008, not having lived to see the premiere of the picture.


If you mix mashed potatoes and sauce, you can no longer separate them. It’s forever. Smoke comes out of dad’s cigarette but doesn’t go back in. You can’t turn back time. That’s why it’s so hard to choose. We must make the right choice. Until the choice is made, everything in the world is possible.

In the life of each of us every day there are hundreds of choices and there are no good or bad choices. It’s just that each of the choices creates a different life, a different unique world. But every life deserves to be lived, every path deserves to be walked.

What happened before the big bang? The fact is that there was no “before”. Before the big bang, time did not exist. The birth of time is the result of the expansion of the universe. But what will happen when the universe stops expanding and the movement goes in the opposite direction? What then will be the nature of time? If string theory is correct, the universe has nine spatial dimensions and one time dimension. It can be assumed that in the beginning all dimensions were intertwined. And after the big bang, three known to us stood out – height, width and depth. And another time dimension, known to us as time.

Why doesn’t the smoke go back into the cigarette? Why do molecules fly apart from each other? Why does the blot not take on a clear shape again? Why is the universe tending to decay? This is the principle of entropy. The desire of the universe towards a state of growing disorder. The principle of entropy is associated with the concept of the arrow of time, the result of the expansion of the universe.

I lost Anna forever because a man in Brazil boiled an egg a month and a half ago. The steam concentrated, and after a month and a half it started to rain on the other side of the world. And even earlier, this man was out of a job because I bought cheaper jeans, and his factory went bankrupt, and he was fired. And instead of going to work, he boiled an egg. And I lost Anna forever…

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