This article discusses the ending of the HBO Max film Cry Macho, so it contains spoilers.
Ready Steady Cut Film Critic, M.N. Miller, called Cry Macho, “… is an incredibly monotonous buddy road trip film.”
Mike (Clint Eastwood) is a former rodeo clown who is too old to run away from those drooling, bucking bulls. Right after his boss, Howard (Dwight Yoakum), puts him out to pasture, he invites him in for a drink and an offer. He will pay him $50,000 to head down to Mexico and kidnap his estranged 11-year old son, Rafo. Why? Because Howard’s ex-wife abuses the poor boy. What’s a cowboy who is about to walk into the sunset supposed to do? Take the offer, of course.
HBO Max Film Cry Macho— ending explained.
After Mike takes Rafo against his mother’s alcohol-soaked wishes, they take shelter from a kind widow named Marta. Even though she looks young enough to be his granddaughter, Mike plays house with Marta and her three daughters. Rafo now has siblings and a family he never had before.
When Mike calls Howard to give him an update, it turns out he wants his son, in part because he can use him as leverage to negotiate some of the holdings he lost in the divorce. Rafo is better off with neither, he says out loud. However, Howard assures Mike it’s not all about the money — he cares about the boy, too (notice how he mentions him last).
However, they have to take off when a couple of police come into the village looking for an old gringo who kidnapped an 11-year-old. He breaks poor Marta’s heart. Even Rafo is considering staying. Though, they take off and are pulled over by the cops a couple of hours later. After Mike trades barbs with the two federales, Rafo shows quick thinking and pays them off. After that point, Mike drives him to the border, only to be stopped by one of Rafo’s mother’s henchmen. No worries, because Macho saves the day by jumping out of nowhere and knocking away the pistol in his hand.
Everything is smooth sailing from there. Rafo is reunited with his father as they share a tender embrace, but not before he gives Macho to his kidnapper as a thank you. Mike then turns around, gets in the car, and we can only assume as he drives back from where he came to reunite with Marta.
Cry Macho plays with themes of love, loss, but not so much redemption. About losing a purpose and then finding a valuable and proper place in life. Even about the worth of masculinity. The film trades in the book’s divisive ending for “feel good.” The redemption aspect is changed, quite frankly, to center the story about senior citizens’ values. One would think Eastwood, a noted Republican, made Macho somehow atone for his “trumped” up views by changing the ending to an open border of welcoming illegal aliens into the land of the free.
However, remember, per Howard, Rafo was born in the States. His mother took him and ran off to Mexico. It’s quite possible Eastwood just found this hidden theme by complete accident.
What did you think of the ending of the HBO Max film Cry Macho? Comment below.