This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film The Secret Diary of an Exchange Student, so will contain major spoilers.
As we know Barbara (played by Larissa Manoela) and Taila (played by Thati Lopes) are in a brand new country with decent English skills, navigating a totally new culture and new environment but what would a film be without some trouble or drama? After meeting Brad back in Brazil, she found out about an aviation school and a flight attendant course that would give her the ‘wings’ to her dreams. To her demise, Sheryll wasn’t willing to pay for the course after paying for Barbara’s English course.
Netflix’s The Secret Diary of an Exchange Student ending explained
When Barbara pleaded with Sheryll, mentioning how her English was great and she didn’t need the classes, Sheryll was adamant of how good her English language skills are. Though one might view such a scene as harmless, it really isn’t. For so long, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and more have always had their accents, English (or lack thereof) skills demonized by native speakers. That scene didn’t sit right with me but I think the screenwriters made a conscious effort to incorporate this scene to portray how nonnative English speakers are often viewed by ignorant westerners, or gringos, as Taila would say! Despite this, Barbara has way more coming to her after being rejected by Sheryll.
Instead, she discovers that Brad cheated on her with Taila — her best friend. Prior to this, Brad thought he was dropping her off at Sheryll’s house but mistakenly drops her off at the Kenners’ — where Taila is staying. Unbeknownst to her, she is met with a gun by the Kenners, who thought someone broke in. Lucky for her, Taila came to her rescue until she found out about the cheating and ran off. A classic!
Towards the end, Sheryll learned that Barbara was inviting strangers over to her house but saw the good in Barbara despite the chaos. For instance, one of the characters, Lucas, gets fired by the Kenners for using the ski resort inappropriately — trying to impress Barbara. Another issue with the film, it focused more on Barbara’s relationship with men, seeing as she and her friend split over a man and now another man got fired because of her. Not only does it centre men, I felt as though Barbara and Talia weren’t given enough room or depth to explore and develop as characters. The bright side was that Sheryll paid for Barbara’s flight attendant course, she made up with Taila and Barbara finally pursued her flight attendant dreams! Despite finding the movie underwhelming, there were many positive messages of trying new things and breaking out of your comfort zone. It would have been executed better if the drama around boyfriends wasn’t prominent throughout the movie.
I really appreciated the quotes from this film, reminding us to follow our dreams and never give up. “And so, the story of my dream trip comes to an end. A trip that made me discover the world. And, more importantly, that made me discover who I was. After all, in order to grow, you’ve got to try new things.”