Triangle of Sadness Ending Explained (In Detail)

December 29, 2022
M.N. Miller 4
Ending Explained, Film
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We discuss the ending of the film Triangle of Sadness which will contain spoilers.

Triangle of Sadness follows a celebrity couple in the prime of their social media age. Carl and his “girlfriend” Yaya are a couple of models posing for their cell phones to upload constant contact of their beauty that a higher deity has seemingly blessed. They lead a social media influencer life and have no real skills. The kind that will go away quickly; both characters acknowledge this. However, they know they are a social media power couple, and it’s good for business.

Carl and Yaya then go on a luxury cruise on a yacht filled with the social elite and take as many selfies as possible. The ship’s captain is going through an existential crisis, the type of experience you don’t want in the drivers of humungous travel vehicles in the middle of nowhere. The boat has a wide variety of the truly morally bankrupt. An older couple who made their fortune by creating hand grenades is a great example.

There is an opinionated Russian billionaire, Dimitry. The cleaner, Abigail, is managed by Paula. She is the staff manager who tries to keep the peace the best she can. All this comes to a head when the ship passes through a terrible storm where everyone experiences a bout of sea sickness like a scene in a Monty Python movie. The ship begins to sink, and a small portion of its tenants are now stuck on a deserted island.

Abigail is now the captain from there because no one can catch food or even start a fire. To make her point, she takes a more significant portion of the food she catches, to the dismay of Paula. Slowly but surely, Abigail is the leader. And boy, does she wield her power. To find a role for Carl on the island, she creates a role of her version of a concubine for him.

Slowly over time, Carl is with Abigail, and Yaya is regulated to a lower social status. The survivors (Paula, Dimitry, Jarmo, and others) have settled into their roles. Finally, one day, Yaya wants to walk across the mountain to do some research. Abigail goes with her in an attempt to smooth things over. That’s when Yaya finds the shock of her life.

Triangle of Sadness ending explained

What happened at the end of the Triangle of Sadness?

Abigail and Yaya stumble upon a five-star resort and a sunbathing area with an elevator built into a mountain. Yaya is celebrating and wants to enter those doors, but Abigail asks her to sit and enjoy the moment. She then pretends she has to use the bathroom and grabs a large rock the size of a person’s head. She slowly approaches Yaya, with the implication of killing her.

Why? Because if they enter those elevators, things go back to normal. Abigail will have to leave her position of esteem and power and return to being a “toilet manager,” which settles in. Especially after Yaya, staring into the ocean, tells Abigail she wants to help her. How? By making her an assistant to her social media influencer empire.

That’s when you see Abigail’s face start to snap. When you think she will smash the boulder into Yaya’s head, the film cut’s to Carl racing frantically through the woods. That’s when the film ends.

Why was Carl running at the end of Triangle of Sadness?

This is open to interpretation. For all we know, Carl is being chased by that polar bear in Lost. However, considering Abigail was just about to kill Yaya in a way that’d get Shirley Jackson’s seal of approval, our theory is simple. The remaining survivors were most likely notified of what Therese already knew. The German woman, who stays in the raft because on the ship is bound to a wheelchair, is approached by a hospitality worker. We theorize that someone came across them or heard her talking loudly to the man and then ran over with concern.

If Carl is notified of this, he must start to think about Abigail and Yaya. He is either running with great urgency to let them know of their finding, or something more ominous has come over his mind.

Knowing Abigail better than anyone, he has seen how she has succumbed to the seductive element of power. Knowing the same feeling he felt when part of the social elite, he would probably do anything to take it back. Carl could easily see Abigail coming across the resort, killing Yaya to keep the secret and resume her place on top of the social hierarchy. Something she never had until now and will likely never obtain again.

This speaks to writer and director Ruben Östlund’s wanting to create a human dilemma that many outside the social elite and hierarchy can relate to.

What is the message of Triangle of Sadness?

The film’s title, Triangle of Sadness, refers to an area of the face where a model operates to express different emotions in their poses. The place where the face rests between someone’s eyebrows.

According to the film, this is where someone’s stress levels are most evident. You see this at the beginning of the film with Carl at his modeling audition and when Abigail is struggling with her morals as she is working up the courage to start Swimming with the Sharks.

The message behind Triangle of Sadness is the gaps between the social elite and the hierarchy, and questions a society that puts so much money and power in beauty and morally questionable ways to make a living. Also, the theme of exaggerating their self-importance in a world based on the facade of money, beauty, and power can bring.

One of the few people without power, Abigail, is not corrupt and has real-life skills to help her survive the island. Then why does Abigail want to kill Yaya? While we know the others have been corrupted by power, we never see how they landed at the destination.

With Abigail, we watch her slowly lose her values by being corrupted by power. She takes more food than the others. Abigail becomes the sole authority, punishing those who do not carry their weight. She even learns the seductive use of power all too literally by having Carl be her concubine.

What did you think of the ending of the film Triangle of Sadness? Comment below.

4 thoughts on “Triangle of Sadness Ending Explained (In Detail)

  • January 26, 2023 at 3:47 pm
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    How else could it end? The director has lead us to this point in the film. He doesn’t need to show us the graphic detail of murder. I do not believe that the German woman alerted the rest of the survivors that they were so close to civilization. All she could say was “in the clouds”. Carl came to the inevitable conclusion himself. Redemption?

  • January 28, 2023 at 4:28 pm
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    Carl woklg never ever compromise himself to save anyone. In my version of ending, Abigail kills Yaya and returns to the gruop to maintain her power role. Carl’s run might be months later, when he can no longer live his konkubina role and runs in the direction Yaya went. To save himself, a nonachievable act, as we are shown in the restaurant scene at the beginning. Most beautifully made movie I’ve seen lately!

  • January 29, 2023 at 5:05 am
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    Carl would never ever compromise himself to save anyone. In my version of ending, Abigail kills Yaya and returns to the gruop to maintain her power role. Carl’s run might be months later, when he can no longer live his konkubina role and runs in the direction Yaya went. To save himself, a nonachievable act, as we are shown in the restaurant scene at the beginning. Most beautifully made movie I’ve seen lately!

  • January 29, 2023 at 2:06 pm
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    I have two versions of the ending…I don”t believe the German lady manages to explain what she learnt seeing the beach vendor, so the first version is: Carl runs to save Yaya out of true love, knowing what Abigail is capable of and the second version is: he runs to save Abigail, afraid of what could Yaya do to her if she revealed their affair, so he could maintain his privileged position in the “tribe”.

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