Alright, so Smile is a horror movie that wipes that grin off your face to provide you with two hours of terror. Throughout this video we’re gonna be explaining the ending, talking about the potential hidden meaning behind it and also going over some of the creepy details that elevate it to the next level.
The film is based on the short Laura Hasn’t Slept, which unfortunately has been pretty much taken off the internet so that it can apparently feature on the blu-ray. However, it follows the same basic framework but develops it in several ways.
Smile wears it’s inspirations on it’s sleeve and the movie feels like it’s in the same vein as It Follows and The Ring. Both those movies featured a curse that was passed onto someone through one way or another, and this created a target on their back. Creatures stalked the victim, and over time they slowly got closer and closer until they were either defeated or the curse won out.
It’s much in the same with Smile and for the first part of the video I thought we’d explain what the entity actually is. Now this is a being that attaches itself to victims of trauma and, over time, slowly torments them. Invisible to others it can appear as anyone but upon revealing itself it brings with it its creepy smile.
Smile Breakdown: What Are The Rules?
The creature’s whole goal is to weaken its victim psychologically to the point that it can fully possess them and make them take their own lives. It normally does this infront of another person and in doing so the curse is then passed on to them.
This then starts the cycle over, but there are ways to save yourself.
If you kill another person in front of someone else, then the trauma will pass onto them, and the curse will continue that way rather than through you. The creature in Smile has a lot of layers, and personally, I view it as very much a metaphor for mental health. In the movie, we discover that Rose’s mother died when she was very young and that Rose could’ve potentially prevented this by calling 911. However, she didn’t, and because of this, her mother has been seen as a suicide victim rather than accidentally overdosing like many thought.
Her therapist brings brings this up as a way to explain what’s going on but Rose buries this further inside.
Rose has carried this with her for a long time, and it even pushed her into her career as a psychiatrist. Now the victims all die by ending their own lives after being tortured mentally. The monster appears as a smiling person, and I think herein lies the double meaning. People like Robin Williams have brought attention to the fact that those who are dealing with depression rarely manifest it on the surface. I know from my own experience that when I feel down, I can push it to the back of my mind when in public in order to try and seem happy.
I think the fact that it’s people ending their own lives and the mental torture that comes before their deaths is evidence of the duality of the movie. A smile is also something that carries on throughout.
Smiles are meant to represent someone being happy but they’ve been twisted here to have a darker side to them. Yet this is something that persists throughout the movie, going from victim to victim. Smiles are supposed to comfort us, but in the case of the movie, everything is flipped upside down.
Turn that frown upside down, baby.
We even see a scene in which the characters are forced to smile in order to keep up appearances. At the restaurant, they have an argument, but when the food is put down, they smile and act like everything is normal. I think the analysis of smiles is to show that they can often be used to appear a certain way rather than being sincere.
My takeaway from it is that smiles are used to mask what’s really going on and can be used as a way to hide hidden issues going on internally.
What Is The Curse In Smile?
Now the curse is also passed on through trauma, and the fact that Rose is a psychiatrist keeps the film centred around the idea of mental health. Her fiance brings up how she may have inherited her mother’s mental health and that this trauma could have been passed to her much in the same way that the curse passes onto others.
We even open the movie with her speaking to a patient named Carl, who describes all the things that a victim of the curse does without the actual curse itself. He’s dealing with a lot of mental health issues and is paranoid that something is after him.
However, this is actually just a mental health problem rather than being a monster, but I think the similarities are there on purpose.
We’re supposed to see how they mirror one another, and because of this, I think the film can be viewed both literally and metaphorically.
Rose is someone who witnesses a disturbing trauma that brings up past memories of her mother’s death. This causes her to lose her relationship with her sister, her fiance, A-Train, and also her job. She ends up turning to a past boyfriend and desperately tries to put on a happy face even though someone much worse is going on in her mind. I view the ending as her finally destroying the trauma over her mother’s death, which the monster manifests as. Early on we discover that she kept the house and even though it’s run down she won’t get rid of it. However, she journeys out there in order to burn it down and finally free herself of her past.
In the end though it will always be there as something she cant escape and this is why she is taken over by the creature.
Rose’s entire arc can be seen as a mental breakdown, and I love that the movie has this double side to it.
She has blackouts, is paranoid, hallucinates and breaks things.
Her calls for help are ignored by those closest to her, and eventually it could be seen as something that pushes her over the edge.
There’s even a little line at the start in which her patient Laura talks about how her grandfather died in front of her when she was younger.
This of course mirrors Rose, who too had a parental figure die in front of them, which clearly caused a lot of trouble. I love this metaphor of how the doctor becomes the patient and she starts to live through the experience she initially dismissed.
Now whether you want to view the monster as real or not is entirely up to you and for the next part of the video I wanna go over how the movie presents it.
After Laura slits her own throat in Rose’s practise, the latter starts to witness strange things.
Smiles litter the film, and Laura slits her throat in a motion that creates a line like one. This later appears on the sheet over her body, and there’s also a coffee mug with a smile on the front of it. The way the car is filmed has us tilting upside down so the skyline almost appears like a mouth with the face above it.
Bit of a reach that.
Carl smiles at her before screaming that she’s going to die and there’s also the smiling family on the front of the toy box. Her fiance texts her with a smiley face emoji, and the cat is called Moustache.
Which sits above a mout. I’m sorry, I said there would be reaches.
Now this cat is killed by what is either Rose or the monster possessing her. It’s presented at her nephews birthday party which is like some Game Of Thrones level event. Throughout, we see flashes of her mother’s death, and the movie not only opens on it but we get visions of it throughout. We start off zoomed in but then pull out almost as if we’re stepping away from it. However, after Rose is cursed, we zoom in once more, showing how she’s revising this.
After a meeting with her therapist, we watch as she practises smiling in the mirror, trying to hide how she actually feels.
The birthday party goes worse than Kelly Kapurs and Rose once more witnesses the creature smiling at her. She goes to the hospital, and here we see the Pain Assessment Tool, which is littered with smiles.
At this point we get things more in line with the Ring and Rose starts to investigate the chain that preceeded her.
This takes her to some lovely drawings of smiles—lovely that—and some pictures of the Joker in there, I think, and she’s forced to turn to Joel. Interestingly, Joel is the person who the curse is passed onto next; however, he has a head start on how to defeat it.
She heads off from her sisters, and we catch her nephew looking at her as she goes through her hallucination. I was wondering whether the curse would be passed to him, and who knows if he could pop up in a sequel.
Ey kid, why you, why you looking out the window, why aint you liked the video yet stupid kid, you, you stfu kid, dumb, kids…to…kids today aint no respect.
From here, Rose goes with Joel to visit the only known survivor of the curse, and we see a smile on the sign for the lobby.
Here we learn that he followed a similar path to Rose and investigated the chain in order to escape it. He says that he found an instance years ago in Brazil, potentially showing the roots of the demon. I did search for demons that could fit this and that originated from South America, but there weren’t any that really matched it. However, if you know, make sure you drop them in the comments below.
After going home, Rose is once again visited by her therapist, who we learn is the demon masquerading as her. It’s the ultimate betrayal of trust, and it shows just how much the creature is weaponizing Rose’s mental health.
Kinda feels like we get some clear homages here to Alien 3, and Rose decides to murder Carl in order to pass the curse on.
However, she hallucinates the entire event, and we get a big faceoff like Nic Cage and Travolta.
Her victim here is an important one too, as she goes after the mental health patient rather than targeting anyone else. He never did anything to harm her, yet she regards him as being less important than others because of his issues. The fact is that she has more in common with Carl than anyone else in the cast and she still targets him.
Smile Ending Explained
Now in her defense she doesn’t go through with this and instead she takes herself to her old house in order to shut herself off from every other person.
This is so that she can end the curse without anyone else coming into contact with her when she dies.
Her trip back there is very much a trip down memory lane in which she confronts her past traumas. The creature takes on the form of her mother and reveals that it got into her mind because it was so inviting. She was obviously weakened by the trauma and the entity says she can’t escape her own mind.
Rose seemingly takes control back and douses it in flame before leaving the house.
However, this is a f**king lie, and after going to Joel’s apartment, she realises that this is just another one of the creatures tricks. However this entire monologue she gives is very much her saying that she put walls up due to her past. Joel got these walls to come down, but she ran away. I honestly kind of like this being the ending over what we get, but again, that’s down to my preference of the supernatural force being more of a metaphor.
Your mileage may vary on it, but either way, the film reveals that Rose hasn’t actually left the house and she sees the creatures in their true form. It says it will stay with her forever, and symbolically, this could mean that she isn’t able to escape the guilt and regret she feels over her mother.
This is also another reason why she couldn’t sell the house.
The real Joel arrives and we see as the curse is passed on. We get a zoom in on his eye, and this is similar to what happened when the curse was passed to Rose. It’s very much a sort of journey into his mind again showing the mental health metaphor.
Now Joel will inherit it, but he has some knowledge of what’s going on whereas the others don’t. He may also be stronger mentally due to potentially not having the past trauma that Rose did. This could be used to his advantage, but he has very recently seen the love of his life burn herself in front of him, which, yeah, is enough to ruin anyone’s day.
I would’ve shot her soon as I seen that match come out but where we go from here who knows.
Anyway that ends the film and I’d of course love to hear your thoughts on what we took from it. Do you agree? Do you not? Comment below and let me know.
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If you want something else to watch, then make sure you check out our breakdown of the perfect scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming. We break down the entire thing, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to know more.
With that out of the way, thank you for sitting through the video; I’ve been Paul, and I’ll see you next time. Take care. Peace