This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Paradise and will contain spoilers.
The German high-concept dystopian film, Paradise, is set in a not-so-distant future where years of a person’s life can be used as currency. Rich people can buy youth, while poor people get enough cash to improve the quality of their shortened lifespans.
At least that’s what AEON, the company offering this service, wants the public to believe. Not everyone approves of this new technology. There’s a resistance group called Adam who routinely makes it their mission to kill anyone that artificially increased their lifespan.
When we first meet our protagonist, Max, he is a highly successful sales broker for AEON. Max himself has sold five years of his life to pay for University.
Max is happily married to Elena, the two have just bought a luxury condo and are planning to start a family. Tragedy hits when one day the couple gets home to find their apartment engulfed in flames.
Their insurance company decided the fire was their fault and the bank wants the loan back in full. As Elena has signed her lifetime as collateral, the bank forcefully takes 40 years of her life.
A desperate Max begs his boss and AEON’s CEO, Sophie Theisson, for help. Instead of help, he gets a promotion at the company after his wife’s “procedure.” Angry, he tries confronting Sophie only to realize she was the one who benefited from Elena’s youth.
The procedure is reversible, so Max arranges to take Elena to an illegal doctor in Lithuania that can restore her youth. He tries kidnapping Sophie to force her to give back the 40 years she stole but accidentally takes her daughter, Marie.
Paradise Ending Explained
After just about making it past the border guards and spending a passion-filled night in an abandoned hotel with poor Marie tied up in the bathtub, Max and Elena wake up to members of the Adam resistance, including their leader, Lilith, pointing a gun at them.
Lilith helps them connect the dots about their recent misfortune; AEON’s founder was behind it all.
Why did Sophie target Elena?
It seems Sophie’s DNA was extremely rare, making it almost impossible to find a match for herself. And poor Elena just so happened to be a match.
She pulled some strings to ensure Elena and Max only got approved for their mortgage. Sophie was also behind the fire that burned down the apartment and even killed the person Max had previously donated to, forcing Elena to donate her lifetime.
The resistance plans to kidnap Sophie. When she, with her small army led by Kaya and Viktor, arrives at the warehouse, Lilith sends Max outside and tasks him to convince Sophie to go inside with him.
The plan fails at the last minute, but it turns out that Viktor was a mole for Lilith, so he shoots Sophie before Kaya shoots him down.
As both sides are firing at each other, Max takes advantage of the chaos and escapes with Marie and Elena.
As Elena is driving towards the illegal clinic, Max seems to have had a change of heart. Because he now knows for sure he kidnapped the wrong woman, he’s not comfortable with stealing 40 years from an innocent.
But his wife disagrees. She’s come too far to give up now, so she stops the car and demands Max get out.
How does Elena get her lifetime back?
At the illegal clinic, the Lithuanian doctor and his team force poor Marie to donate her youth, mirroring the film’s beginning when AEON did the same to a pregnant Elena.
Other “patients” of the illegal operation include several kidnapped refugees.
It turns out that Sophie was wearing a bullet-proof vest and she survived Viktor’s attack. Marie is eventually returned to her mother safe, sound, and more mature.
Why doesn’t Sophie donate her years to Marie?
If poor Marie thought she could get her youth back from her mother, she was mistaken. Sophie Theisson only cares about Sophie Theisson, but she does promise Marie she’ll find her a new donor. However, that’s an empty promise considering how hard it was for Sophie to find a donor for herself.
Where is Max?
We then cut to several months later, on an unknown beach with a young-again and pregnant Elena. But the child isn’t Max’s. Instead, he’s quietly lurking in the background.
While Elena is enjoying her life, Max has joined the Adam resistance to fight the system he was previously a part of.
What did you think of the ending of Paradise? Comment below.
You can watch this film with a subscription to Netflix.