A CURE FOR WELLNESS | The Quick Explanation

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  1. Did you notice the missing teeth in the last scene?

  2. I think you have a similar view of the film as I do my take is below

    After watching the movie last night and being puzzled by the watch stopping scene, my take is we are looking at a kind of day dream about vanquishing corporate greed and how we should all take note that life is more than working hard day in and day out for some faceless company and when it suits them being fed to the fish or in this case the eels who frenziedly attack and feed of the remains in order for the corporation to survive.

    I love gothic style books they are so absorbing but the one problem with them is that they never have a satisfactory ending as the story is within the symbolism throughout the film or book.

    My take on the film is the main character is in a day dream about how he can get himself out of being the fall guy when it comes the the inconsistencies in the data when the merger takes place.

    There is a lot of mirroring of the real life events going on and his daydream has turned it into a kind of vampire-esc story. I say vampire but as energy vampires rather than blood vampires sucking the life blood (energy) from our bodies.

    At the beginning the letter that is read out states that he is not coming back and to hell with the merger of “two unholy alliances”. Which can be construed as the Barron and his sister or Hanna. (probably Hanna as I think the sister merger may have happened in the past and was thwarted by a share holder revolt or something and this was why Lockharts father was thrown to the dogs as a scapegoat but the son survived and was slow to realise what really happened to his father and thought he was weak so he went a long with what the company wanted).

    The corporations we can assume have been active for a number of years and and the Barron is a nod to the “faceless corporations”. They go on with different leaders but there one goal is to be immortal. The company or the Barron survives with many different faces but all with one objective “for the company or the Barron” to survive at any cost and that includes feeding off anyone who works for them or is at the SPA. But to give them the feeling that infact we are helping you have a better life and are looking after you. But infact you are just fish fodder who in reality they couldnt care a less about you and the only goal of the corporation is the survival of that corporation, and at present in order to survive it needs to merge (i.e the baron and sister). The baron and his sister and then when that was thwarted the Baron and Hanna.

    Lockhart as mentioned above didn’t know the real reasons his Fathers suicide and assumed he was just weak and was slow to learn the real reasons. Lockhart wanted to be a corporate flyer and as with most corporate flyers something has to be sacrificed in order to get there and that is normally family in this case discarding his mother.

    She knows his only goal is to get to the top and when he gets what he wants which he says to her he will be moving up, she says he wont be coming back and she knows he will only spend more time in the office doing the companies bidding and whilst he may get her into a better place its only to make him feel better that he will hardly see her (rather like top business people buying there kids everything as they feel guilty at spending time with them.)

    So the message to me is about choosing life over working for a faceless company who will use up take everything you have put into it chew you up a spit you out on the other side without you realising what has happened until its too late and its a message for everyone.

    Why do I say this?

    Lockhart (a lot of people in life these days) works for the company and he wants to be the best, he does the companies bidding and bends the rules to get what they want which they allow when its suits them. They know the rules and as they say to him his bending of the rules is ameature to what they get away with. However his ameture attempts will get them caught when the merger happens. So they offer him a deal as they know as Lockhart says, that it wont just be him that is taken down but someone on the board. The also know that Lockhart wants to get on and will be useful in the future because he is willing to bend the rules. They say this when they talk about the guy who had the heart attack and how he was straight and a family guy and basically not suited to what they want.

    So the deal is to get some washed out old hack (pembrooke) to be the fall guy and the merger will go ahead and lockart will in turn get a place on the board. Pembrooke is being fed to the fish(eels) and will be left to for the eels to pick off whatever is left of this sad dried up old body and he doesn’t realise it.

    Lockhart goes to the spa where top business people are staying believing they are being cured. Mirror this and these top people believe that within the corporation they are special and have got to the top with they hard work and diligence and the company in turn has given them what they want in life. Wealth and power as we live in a materialistic society where this appears to count for much more than real living and family etc. They dont realise in the SPA that in actual fact they too are being used and once they have filtered what they want out of the body the will discard you.

    “we are happy here why would we want to leave?” Same as a job you think you are happy at the top with wealth etc why would you want anything else?

    This is the same in real life the company takes what it wants with you believing they care and when in fact they couldnt give a shit and soon as you become surpless to requirement you will be gotten rid off or as in Pembrooks case used as a scapegoat. He gave them his life as did lockharts father and they shafted them when it suited them.

    On the way to the SPA he talks to the driver and this is me as after a breakdown I realised that getting to the top was not actually what I wanted in life it was just something that I wanted to look good in society and once you stop worrying or caring about a climbing the corporate ladder life becomes a lot simpler and happier as with the driver he was happy where he was and didnt buy into all the bullshit of not being anything in society just because he is not ambitious and is happy where he is. Again its bullshit fed to us all our lives that we need to make it to the top and its looked down upon if you have no ambition.

    Lockhart comes up against strict rules on visiting times which is only a few hours (work time cant see anyone until have finished work taking up YOUR life)

    Lockhart meets the women who was top at xerox for a number of years who by the fact she was institutionalised before she came to SPA suggests she had a breakdown and was starting to see the error of her ways and was starting to see the bigger picture and could be construed as almost a whistle blower. She started to realise there was more to life and that there was a darkness at play and that life wasn’t all about working. But she wasnt entirely sure and therefore went along with it still. “are you sure I have another treatment today I have just had one?” she was being used but went along with it.

    Most companies are about greed they expect you to do there bidding and to dont care abut your health or what effects it has outside of work i.e family etc

    Corporations take as much as they can, whilst feeding the idea they care but what they are giving you it tainted the money the idea you are successful in life which is the water the SPA persons are drinking. Those patients at the top of there game in the SPA also dont understand the villagers dislike of the SPA. The villagers feel in a way shafted or that something is not right which is like a company where those at the TOP have no idea why the lower workers feel victimised or unhappy about certain things and quite often can be laid off or used when it suits the company as were the villagers by the Barron. Some are infact in on it though and also want to get higher.

    He could go to prison and be shafted by a 12 inch black cock or he stays with the company and does there bidding and be fed tainted water instead through a tube both ways he is being shafted just through different means.

    The barron wants the new union with Hanna as said before this could be seen as the second attempt at a merger the first having been with the sister which was left in ruins and the scapgoat was Lockhearts father and lockheart survived without knowing what happened.

    As with most mergers they are infact takeovers and sometimes hostile takeover Hanna as the Barron said would be like her mother where first of all they would resist but would relent in the end. Rather like a hostile takeover. The company resists the takeover but in the end relents.

    Lockhearts teeth failing out etc I think are the health risks involved in going down this route of giving all you energies and life to the company. You dont realise you are sick until its too late and that you are choosing materialistic things over what your life really needs and you can end up having a break down due to the energies being lost (in the SPA they dehydrate you drain you of everything until you are an empty dried up shell) then look for a way of getting rid of you. Which when need be is to make you fish food and sacrifice you for the good of the corporation or the Barron.

    Lockheart realises whats going on but pretends to go along with it. “sitting on the bench saying why would I want to leave” to Hanna. But infact he hasnt been brainwashed and is waiting for his moment.

    The merger of the corporations is taking place as you see in the phonecall back to the office but its not going well and the Barron is trying to merge with Hanna.

    Once the other company realises whats going on it resists as does hanna to the Barron. The Barron shows his true colours as the faceless corporation that he is, it doesn’t matter what face he wears the goal has always been the same and once that face has outlived its usefullness its discarded for another.

    Lockheart wants to stop the merger and Hanna no longer trusts the Barron or as in the corporations it realises its a takeover and fights back. Killing the merger (barron).

    When Lockhart crashes into the car you see that Lockheart realises that his company no longer has any hold over him(or indeed ever did its just you think they do) and that he has seen the truth behind corporate greed. He has stopped the merger and when they try and order him back into the car he realises he doesnt have to do as they say.

    and that they were only ordering him to go to Switzerland as they knew that if he didnt get Pembrooke back one of them would be the fall guy.

    He knows this and possibly the reason for his sneering smile and the fact he has saved the other company it could well be that he could be in line to get to the top there (or marry Hanna)

    sorry its so long I am sure there is more I could have said but I think its a lesson for us all that there is more to life than work and people should wake up to this sickness in life we all walk through it in a daydream some more than others and only wake up when its too late and realise was giving my life to a job worth it. In the office at the beginning one of the corporate says “why would you take the waters in the 21st century anyway its so outdated” whilst staring constantly at his phone.

    Which to me alludes to someone ridiculing going away to relax like a holiday and that you should be in touch with the office all the time via phone or email etc and that corporations dont want you away relaxing even though its your holiday.

    We think we are well in our lives but its only in this day and age a material wellness and there is a cure for that. To stop and think about what life is really about as we have enslaved ourselves to work and the big corporations.

    • Such a great explanation this needs to be made into a video
      I understood the movie but ur analysis really helped me understand the vision or the true meaning thanks .

    • Well detailed.. love it, but I can’t agree with you on the whole Lockheart realising , yet “pretending” to go along with the whole brainwashing facade. You see, he WAS in the end brainwashed and out of touch with reality until that is, when Hannah returns to him the ballerina figure that had once belonged to his mother stating, “You see, she is awake now”. Immediately, Lockheart snaps back into reality and the true horror that lies between the cracks and within the walls of the rehabilitation center/spa.

    • While I appreciate the nuance of your response it fails to acknowledge the multiple dental losses Lockhart endured during the film. While it is certainly possible that the final frame’s full toothy grin is simply a continuity error it seems more likely an invitation for discussion…

    • I read your description and feel impressed with how you read all of that into the film. I feel a bit irked that I missed all of those points. While I was reading your comment I thought about the companies I have worked with and those I have as clients. I realised the truth in your comments and likeness to the points in the film. So many truths in the film that I missed until reading your comments. Thank you so much for taking the time to add your comments to this post.

    • Great explanation and indeed the only one that makes sense to explain the intention and story of the whole movie.
      At first after the movie I was trying to think more in ways like the later comments (which I read first because yours seemed too long and was too lazy at first). But nearly all of them had logical flaws in some way. This explanation is great and it makes the movie making so much more sense. Thanks a lot!

      • Good job, Alex! What did you like best about their explanation?

  3. Well, there was a point where Hannah says; Lockhart is different, he’s young. Her father has a suspicious look on his face at that time. When Hannah confronts Lockhart for how he made her hope she could leave, Lockhart smiles and gives a vague answer as if been brainwashed like others. Can there be an angle where Volmer somehow managed to duplicate himself, as in his desires inside Lockhart?

  4. I think the worms inside of him took over and control him, the same for her.

    To me is looks as he has a smile like He is going to infect the whole world with the same water.

    To me, its more of a alien take over.

    • That could be! I could see an argument for it. It’s been so long since I’ve seen the movie, but my initial reaction is that if that was the intention then I’m not sure if there was enough going on to convey that concretely. But it could be there and I just don’t remember/didn’t catch it.

    • That is possible. He can assume the personality of Baron now that the fishes are in his system that’s why he is smiling.

      A sequel perhaps? A presumption of course.

  5. I think the Lockhart at the end is a clone of young Volmer with Lockharts face. Lockhart is dead and Volhmer wins. Remember he said Lockhart was the key he had
    been waiting for.

    • Thats EXACTLY what I was thinking!
      This makes more sense to me with the last smiling scene

    • Não concordo

    • That doesn’t make any sense, Lock dies yes, but the person alive at end is a clone because he loses his one tooth and then is seen again forgetting almost everything and his past life memories are triggered by certain things, like the ballerina hes given back and the crossword puzzel that lady left behind. It’s why at the beginning the one man hits a ball towards the vents and the lady is doing puzzels to begin with because they are all clones Remembering parts of their past lives but not remembering everything.

  6. Agree with Bryan, you literally broke down the movie for me. Now it makes so much sense! I couldn’t make sense of it on one play through but everything seems a lot clearer now. Thank you sir!

  7. I actually am not sure that he becomes Volmer…I think the whole daydream analogy is a good one. Never thought of that. Lockhart is able to see his existential dilemma of his father’s suicide, he is the next in line to be used and spat out by the corporation…and this whole baron/wellness scenario is made up in his head to try to make sense of his fears, neuroses, visions, future in his subconscious that he hasn’t been able to face in the real world. I don’t think in the end he’s now the baron in a new body, I think he’s in his mind free finally from the corporation and it’s hold on him. I think Hannah is a made up figure to make the story make sense. None of the wellness people actually ever existed.

  8. Sorry for my bad English.
    Firstly we should find out what “pure bloodline” is and why Volmer decided to marry his sister. As you see when Hannah had her first period in water, she attracted eels and they didn’t eat her like they did with everyone else. Same thing happened to her and saved her life when she was born and thrown into water. So my thought is that Volmer family’s blood is something special so he wanted to save that pure bloodline. But, when Volmer was killed by Hannah, his body got eaten by eels . Is that really him? No, it’s someone else. Moreover, you can see that there’re many masks made in Volmer’s lair, so it’s understandable if Lockhart in the end scene is real Volmer with a full-of-teeth smile.

    • Quang, I can see where you’re coming from.. but you also gotta remember the scene where he tries to seduce Hannah and reveals the details of her past and family bloodline.. and then Lockheart enters scene meanwhile Volmert faces Lockheart and removes his “mask” causing Hannah to scream, eventually killing him via shovel. Also, the eels didn’t eat Lockheart either when he was doing that water tank therapy session or whatever you call it, ha. I believe the eels being able to live up to 300 years old, wouldn’t surprise me if they somehow were able to develop a special kind of instinct causing them to tell the difference between good and evil.. as hannah and lockheart are young, they would represent pure, good vs the old people at the spa, they would represent bad, tainted, etc.

  9. I like the concept that he became Volmer, but for me was in a more metaphorical sense.

    When he smiles at the end and has a full set of teeth, it got me thinking that maybe he started consuming the “cure” (the liquid collected from all those people that’s inside the blue bottle). And in using the cure he somehow got his missing teeth back.

    And by seeing the amazing results he started to get a sense of power. Cause in the beginning he is obsessed with getting more power and prestige at the company – and I think maybe the movie is hinting that we never truly change. Especially since Volmer keeps reiterating the idea that there’s nothing else in society besides “pressure” and “impurity”.

    • Omg! This comment, yes he realises that become immortal is the cure!

  10. He got his full set of teeth after the scene where he was forced to ingest the eels. Did he ever made it out from that strapped in device which was meant to collect life essence?

    From there on, could everything just be a daydream? He could be still trapped in the device and all the scenes played out in his mind. Esp the last scene the corporate lady asked Lockhart ‘have you lost your mind?’ and his reply ‘I’m feeling much better’ and smiling manically cycling away.

  11. He has a full set of teethe when he has the menacing smile at the end. That clue seems to give the indication that everything that previously happened was a figment of Lockhart’s hallucinations and delusions. It is possible that it was a psychiatric hospital and Lockhart burnt the building down and ran away with Hannah who was susceptible to influence as she was a vulnerable patient also. This explains the bizarre nature of the movie and a lot of things that do not make sense. The only other way to explain his teethe is that the dehydration caused the hallucination of the moment when his tooth fell out, the moment his other tooth was pulled out and in the scenes where it showed him without teethe. Unless it was just a movie mistake – but I think they made it quiet clear to showcase it in the end.

    That gives the alternative perspective at the end that even though someone can think they are ‘cured’ or better, doesn’t necessarily mean they are as he is suffering from a severe mental disorder. And/or that you can be ill in various types of ways such as being obsessed with material possession and also mental health which could also highlight the need for a balance with control and making success and taking care of your mental health.

  12. Hi everyone. I found all points of view very interesting! I just did my first viewing of the film, so excuse me if I missed enlightening details.

    To me, the ending simply means Lockhart really hasn’t woken up; it is all a dream/fantasy/madness and he doesn’t know it, just like the ballerina. His smile is unnatural, not only in shape and size, the color and that all teeth are suddenly back makes me feel this “reality” he is heading into is not real at all; it is just an illusion he is constructing.
    Building a fantasy world to his taste would be the only true way he has of escaping his past’s events, be it the feelings about his father’s death, or a way of life he has come to loathe at some level, or the humiliation for being exposed as a crook, or the infamous spa.
    In reality, he is still trapped, maybe by his past, by social conventions, or even physically by his body (and/or the spa). Just like the other patients.

    While the spa burns, which may be a true event or just a hallucination, the patients dance and enjoy the view and feel happy. They are still in their own reality, not even worried or saddened that the place they love to be in is burning down! And, to me, Lockhart’s smile points to him being in the same situation: he is “happy” in an unreal way. It is not the real world he is pedalling into: it is illusion, delusion, madness.

    I’d say Dr. Volmer also forshadows this late in the film: he actually tells Lockhart “Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease. Because that’s the only way one could hope for a cure”.
    So, to me, Lockhart’s too perfect final smile is a symbol of him trying to heal himself by getting mentally ill. After all, the physical “diseases” he endures (accident, torture, the supposed stress-related issue, physical fights) just keep him tied to his view of being in a hostile environment. A mental disease, a fantasy in which he escapes everything to an ideal future, is what finally changes him.

  13. well, i think he really just got away, and lived happily ever after

    • I agree: he got away and smiled because his new life was about to start. He got fake teeth, just like all the other patients had fake teeth, due to dehydration!

  14. When his watch stops working as soon as he drinks the water, I feel like he’s dreaming but it doesn’t show if it’s working later on in the movie. The experiments were just immortality/living as long as the eels and NOT cloning lol don’t overthink it.

  15. All of you are analyzing based on the wrong premises. Lockhart’s teeth wasn’t fixed just on the last scene. It was fixed after he came out of the tank. And if you pay attention, when he was in the tank next to Pembroke, Pembroke’s teeth too was fixed. It was shown in the x-ray pics of his medical file that his teeth were falling out, but in the tank it was all nice and fixed.
    In my opinion both of their teeth were artificially nice, with same sizes, nicely aligned, too good for a natural one. In my opinion it was the dentist’s job since it doesn’t look natural. My interpretation is that after their life essence is sucked out of them, the corporation gives them a false facade maybe?! Something that makes other think you look good but is actually a false facade. Something like the view of Alps, so nice, that makes you think, why would anybody wanna leave?!

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