Triangle Of Sadness Ending Explained (In Detail) – Screen Rant

Ruben Östlund’s satire deconstructs the privilege of the super-rich during a voyage on a Yacht. How does all Hell end up breaking loose in the film?
Warning! This article contains spoilers for Triangle of Sadness.The Triangle of Sadness ending culminates in the level of chaos that an upscale yacht sinking and a handful of survivors ending up on a deserted island inevitably brings to a movie. The movie is told in three chapters, with the first telling the story of the couple Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean). Both have jobs as models, though Yaya is the more financially successful of the two, which becomes a source of conflict. The phrase "Triangle of Sadness" is used during this first chapter to describe the spot in the middle of the forehead, where Botox is usually injected.
The second chapter takes place on a cruise aboard an upscale yacht, of which Carl and Yaya have been invited to be a part. The other passengers include Russian oligarch Dimitry (Zlatko Burić) and his wife Vera (Sunnyi Melles), elderly weapons manufacturers Clementine (Amanda Walker) and Winston (Oliver Ford Davies), stroke survivor Therese (Therese), and lonely tech millionaire Jarmo (Henrik Dorsin). The Yacht's crew includes the head of staff Paula (Vicki Berlin), first mate Darius (Arvin Kananian), housekeeper Abigail (Dolly de Leon) and the drunken Captain Thomas Smith (Woody Harrelson). The Triangle of Sadness ending is set up when the passengers gather for the captain's dinner.
Related: Triangle Of Sadness: 10 Movies & TV Shows Where You've Seen The Cast Before
Throughout the cruise, Captain Thomas Smith is locked away in his cabin in a drunken stupor. This leaves much of the day-to-day operations to first mate Darius and head of staff Paula. However, the Captain is obligated to make an appearance for dinner one night, and Smith chooses a night during which a horrible storm is forecast.
On the day of the Captain's Dinner, passenger Vera insists that all the staff stop what they are doing and join in on waterslide activities. This includes the kitchen staff, despite concerns that the food will spoil if not cooked immediately. The combination of spoiled food and turbulence during the storm results in the majority of the passengers getting seasick, resulting in much vomiting and diarrhea all over the yacht. Ironically, the captain avoids this in the dark comedy movie, because he special orders a hamburger for himself.
In the aftermath of the captain's dinner, chaos breaks out aboard the yacht. Passengers are vomiting everywhere, and the toilets overflow, causing sewage to run through the formerly pristine halls. During this time, Captain Smith, an American communist, begins having a drunken debate with Dimitry, a Russian capitalist.
The drunken banter between Smith and Dimitry eventually moves to the Captain's cabin, which is broadcast over the P.A. system. The commotion attracts the attention of pirates, who approach the yacht and toss a grenade on board. Elderly passenger Clementine picks up the grenade and tells her husband, Wilson, how it looks like one they developed. Seconds later, the grenade explodes, killing the couple and causing the yacht to sink, and the Triangle of Sadness ending to be set up for the dark comedy movie.
Related: Oscars 2023 Nominations: Biggest Snubs & Surprises
It is presumed that most crew and passengers, including Captain Smith, perished when the yacht sank in the pirate attack. Only seven survivors end up washing on the beach, which includes Carl, Yaya, Dimitry, Therese, Paula, Jarmo, and a never before seen man named Nelson (Jean-Christophe Folly), claiming to be the ship's mechanic. Sometime later, the yacht's housekeeper Abigail arrives at the island in the yacht's supply-filled lifeboat, which plays a significant role in the new power dynamic.
Used to having things provided for them, the passengers don't have the skills to survive on the island. This allows Abigail, the former housekeeper, to take control and establish herself as the new leader, even ahead of her boss Paula. After capturing and cooking an octopus in the dark comedy movie, Abigail refuses to give more than a couple of pieces unless she is acknowledged as the Captain.
As most survivors are forced to sleep outside, Abigail sleeps inside the lifeboat. She eventually coerces Carl to join her inside the lifeboat, exchanging sexual favors for food and supplies. This ends up causing a rift in Carl's relationship with Yaya.
It is hinted that the island isn't necessarily deserted when Therese encounters a beach vendor. However, she cannot communicate this because she is a stroke survivor who can only speak a single German sentence. Around the same time, Yaya decides to hike to the other side of the island, and she is joined by Abigail, despite Carl's concerns.
Related: The 2023 Best Picture Oscar Nominations Set New Sequel Record
During their hike, Yaya and Abigail find an elevator, signifying that the island they are on in the comedy movie is part of a resort. Yaya is relieved about returning to her old life and even offers to make Abigail her assistant. However, Abigail, not wanting to lose the power she has gained, picks up a rock and prepares to hit Yaya with it. The final fate of Yaya remains ambiguous.
The final shot of Triangle of Sadness sees Carl frantically running through the jungle. The most straightforward interpretation of this shot is that Carl desperately tries to reunite with Yaya, whom he has grown apart from during his affair with Abigail. Happening immediately after the shot of Abigail preparing to kill Yaya with a rock, the audience is left wondering if Carl will make it to her in time.
When talking about this moment, Ruben Östlund says that he believes Carl came across the beach vendor in the comedy movie and feared something might happen to Yaya when Abigail discovers the resort, explaining why he is frantically running. However, Östlund was also given another interesting interpretation by audiences of the film. "An audience member told me, 'No, Carl is running so hard to get his male identity back. He's struggling with the gender expectations, and the last shot is a metaphor for his lost male identity, which has been totally lost.' And I love that interpretation too," Östlund stated about this alternate reading of the scene (via TheWrap).
One of the critical themes of the movie – and the Triangle of Sadness ending – is the privilege of the super-rich and what happens when that is taken away. At the start of the cruise, Paula tells her team to always say yes to the passengers. This rule unintentionally led to the yacht sinking, since the kitchen staff were forced to participate in swimming in the sea instead of preparing dinner, leading to a nearly 20-minute sequence of pure chaos. When the yacht sinks and the survivors are stranded on an island, former servant Abigail takes the opportunity to swap power dynamics and take charge in the dark comedy movie.
Related: Where To Watch Every Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee Online
While Triangle of Sadness is an ensemble, the central focus for much of the movie is the supermodel couple of Carl and Yaya. The couple already had problems, but they boil over on the island when gender roles are swapped, and Carl is made to exchange sexual favors with Abigail. The Triangle of Sadness ending keeps it ambiguous whether Carl and Yaya reconcile, or become victims of the new power dynamic created by Abigail.
More: All 10 Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominees, Ranked Worst To Best
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and writer from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies from York University and has written about film online since 2004. In addition to Screen Rant, Sean’s writing has appeared for Toronto Film Scene, HuffPost Canada, Screen Anarchy, and Rue Morgue Magazine, among others.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *