Director: Sean Baker
Date Created: 2012-03-11 00:00
Starlet, like a lot of independent movies that I’ve seen, tends to be rawer and hit closer to humanity. It doesn’t have all of the special effects and spectacle that the big screen has so naturally, it focuses more on humans and what connects us or drives us apart. Relationships.
Starlet is an independent film about a 21-year-old woman (Jane) who sparks a unique relationship with 85-year-old woman (Sadie) after finding hidden money in an item that she bought from Sadie’s yard sale.
I was left confused by the end of the movie and my mind went to extreme lengths trying to make sense of it.
If you didn’t watch the movie yet and don’t want me to spoil it for you then go do that first and then come back because we have a lot to discuss. I’ll shield your eyes with a large gif.
STARLET Ending Explained: 4 Wild Theories
Alright, now that you made it this far let me tell you what I’ve been thinking about the end of the movie. Let me piece together my thoughts before I do research on this.
It seems as though Jane saw the grave of Sadie’s husband, Frank Perkins, who died way back in 1971 which means that Sadie has practically been alone for a long time. Then, beside his grave, we see another grave that says “Sarah Perkins: beloved daughter” who died in 1969 at about 18 years old.
Soooooo, what does this mean and why is Jane so shooketh?
My thoughts, first of all, are that Sadie said earlier that she didn’t have any kids. Turns out that she did. Also, when Sadie almost lost Starlet, she was freaking out as if having PTSD from losing important people in the past.
So with that knowledge, I present 4 theories to explain how the end of the film impacts the whole story (and please don’t take them too seriously, I know they’re outlandish):
Sadie is a murderer. She killed her daughter and also killed her husband and Jane knows that she is next, that’s why she was walking towards the car so hesitantly. But at the same time, the music and the general mood of the movie didn’t seem thriller-ish so to just make that left turn into thriller-ville would be incredibly incongruent with the theme that the movie already established.
In the very beginning, Jane was talking on the phone with her mom and it seemed like her mom had kind of neglected her and didn’t want to come and check up on her. So maybe, she discovers that Sarah Perkins was her mother’s sister, therefore, making Sadie Jane’s great-grandmother. So pretty much, Jane discovered that she was related to Sadie giving her an indirect connection to her mother.
Something at the grave indicated that Sadie knew about the money that was stolen so when Jane was returning to the car, she was preparing to be reprimanded.
After Jane notices that Sadie lied to her and actually did have a daughter, she feels an immense weight of guilt because she realizes that she probably reminds Sadie of her late daughter. She recognizes the heavy impact of their relationship, that she’s practically family to Sadie now, and she feels bad for having stabbed her in the back.
Starlet Movie Ending: The Final Verdict
Ok, so after doing research it seems like I’ve just looked a lot deeper into it than I needed to.
The beginning and end of it is that Sadie did have a daughter who died young and Jane was finding this out at the cemetery.
In my search and failure to theorize a sensible meaning for the Starlet’s ending, I received a comment on this post that explained it in a way better than any other online article I’d seen.
The comment by Luz (which you can find in the comments section below in Spanish) is roughly translated into English (by Google) to explain the ending of Starlet as follows:
“The money belonged to Sadie’s daughter, that’s why they were old bills and that’s why Sadie didn’t know about that money. Upon learning about it from her friend, she first wants to give up traveling, but then she thinks about how fate conspired for that relationship to arise, as if it were her daughter who was taking her to Paris (her dream) and she wanted to let Jane know, that’s why she asked to leave the flowers. Jane is affected by Sadie’s actions as she’s now aware that she reminds her of her deceased daughter.”
This explanation of the Starlet movie ending made a lot of sense to me and still does, but recognizing this one little detail rewrites my understanding of the Starlet movie ending.
I got a follow-up comment from Tom, who, after brazenly laughing at our ignorance, pointed out an important detail from the movie: Sadie’s late husband was a gambler! The comment states:
“It was just the old mans forgotten stash. So sadie never knew cause he never told her or forgot he stash some gambling winnings there.”
After reading this, I had to check in with trusty ol’ Wikipedia to revisit the film’s details.
Sadie’s money was from her gambling husband’s stash and perhaps she was able to overlook Jane’s deceit because she also lied to Jane about not having any children when she did indeed have to bury her 18-year-old daughter.
That’s the final verdict, until further notice…
Feel free to add your contributions to the comments. I need all the help I can get 😅
Another really insightful post on Reddit discussed how the film highlights the contractual, give and take, relationships of everyone in the film. Sadie didn’t make a big deal of the stolen money because she was getting a daughter in return.
Although these relationships were based on shallow ground, they still have the potential for a monumental impact on each character’s life. This outlook on the film produces more appreciation for it, although, upon first viewing, the film was not personally impactful.
Starlet is a realistic and rustic film that explores humanity through an unconventional relationship, however, the concept of the film gave off the impression that it was digging deeper than it actually was. I think that so much more substance and character growth could’ve come from a chance relationship between a 21-year-old and an 85-year-old. Again, maybe I need to rewatch the film but I didn’t naturally feel the depth implied.
However, I was intrigued all throughout. The film had my attention but it left me wallowing in the shallow end of the pool. And you could see by my wild interpretations of the ending how much I wanted this film to mean so much more than it actually did.
So with that being said…
How do you interpret the end of the film? Let me know in the comments below!
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Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,