We discuss the ending of the Netflix film White Noise (2022) which will contain spoilers.
White Noise is a marvel by writer/director Noah Baumbach. Led by a stellar Adam Driver, this work covers life, death, and everything in between. The entire film is a chaotic trip, but the ending is what is truly magical. After a tense and thrilling confrontation with our leads and Mr. Gray, a dance happens. This dance might be confusing to some, but it is a beautiful culmination of the entire film.
When Jack finally approaches Babet about the Dylar, she tells him of her situation and of Mr. Gray that she has been trading sexual favors in order to continue the Dylar project. Jack finds where Mr. Gray is staying with plans to kill him and reclaim himself in the process. After shooting Mr. Gray, Babet walks in on the scene.
Mr. Gray then comes back to consciousness and shoots at Jack and Babet, skimming Jack and hitting Babet in the leg. For most of the film, and for all of Babet’s storyline, the two were fearing death and were scared of what was to come. Mr. Gray is a symbol of death in this movie and when Jack shoots Mr. Grey thinking he has killed death, only to have him come back to life and fire at the couple, he realizes you can’t kill death.
From this moment, instead of trying to kill death, he and Babet accept it and attempt to save it. By taking Mr. Gray to the Church hospital, they are protecting the one thing that has given them fear over the course of the film. As the couple speaks to the nun, she lets them in on how they don’t believe what they are preaching; as long as someone does, it will give everyone hope.
White Noise ending explained
At the end of this film, and all the way through the credits, there is a massive dance sequence throughout the grocery store to LCD Soundsystem’s “new body rhumba.” The dance is not chaotic and is actually well-choreographed and thought out. For a movie about death, it is interesting to end this film on what seems to be a celebration, and that is because the film should be a celebration, not a warning.
The ending is a celebration of life through death. It is a journey into learning to accept the colorful as well as the bland of life and to go through it every day with the knowledge you are alive. There is an acceptance among Jack and Babet that they will die, but there is an understanding that because they will die one day, they must live.
Plenty of films, books, shows, etc., look to grapple with this topic as it is one that is so easy to relate to among humans, but very few pieces actually look to celebrate the exact thing that we fear. White Noise is a cautionary tale, but not in the way that is perceived for most of the film. It is a caution to come to terms with the idea of death and not to spend every day fearing it but instead celebrating that we, as humans, understand this outcome.
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