Fair Play (2023) Ending Explained – What does Luke do to Emily?

By Eamon Hennedy
Published: October 4, 2023
Fair Play (2023) Ending Explained - Netflix Movie

Chloe Domont’s Fair Play may utilize many of the tropes and stylistic hallmarks of the erotic thriller, but by the time the film comes to its third act, it goes into a darker, more complex, and uncomfortable direction, and in this article, filled with spoilers, we explain the ending.

The film positions its main couple — played brilliantly by Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich — at the heart of a gender battle that becomes increasingly fraught and soaked in violent tension. Instead of falling into the typical types of third-act hysterics that many erotic thrillers were prone to doing in the past, writer and director Chloe Domont instead takes her film into darker territory that is challenging and very unexpected.

WARNING: The following explanation of Fair Play‘s ending describes sexual violence.

Fair Play Ending Explained

Following his embarrassment at having opened up emotionally to their boss Campbell (Eddie Marsan), Emily returns home and finds Luke wallowing in self-pity. Emily’s mother phones and tells her that she has planned a surprise engagement party for Emily and Luke, which prompts an angry outburst from Emily. Luke meanwhile tries to find notes for his book, but Emily believes that she may have thrown it away.

Campbell phones Emily next, but it prompts an outburst from Luke who criticizes Emily for always responding to Campbell when he phones. The argument becomes more intense and eventually Luke blames Emily for stealing his promotion. Emily responds that Luke being promoted was just a rumor and that Campbell was thinking of firing Luke because he is seen as weak.

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Luke leaves the apartment and disappears, leaving Emily unable to reach him. He then resurfaces by returning to the office when Emily is doing a presentation for potential new clients, storming into the meeting and yelling at Campbell about his toxic workplace environment. He also reveals his relationship with Emily in graphic detail. Emily gives chase, calling Luke’s brother, and finds out that he is on his way to the engagement party where she confronts him.

What does Luke do to Emily?

Their argument becomes heated when Luke tells everyone that Emily only got promoted because Campbell wanted to have sex with her. Growing increasingly angry, Emily smashes a glass over Luke’s head and walks away, but Luke chases her into the restroom where they argue heatedly again. She calls him a coward, and Luke pushes her against the door quite violently.

She breaks down in tears and tells him she hates him, but he kisses her and she kisses him back. It soon turns into a sexual encounter between the two and both of them are enjoying it, but Luke becomes more physically rough with her, holding her down forcefully, and ignores her when she tells him to stop. She leaves the restroom visibly distressed at what has happened.

How is Luke punished?

She returns to their apartment and wakes up the next day. She covers the bruises on her face with concealer and meets with Campbell. She claims that Luke has been stalking her for the past few months and that he was constantly following her to work and showing up at parties and was claiming that they were in a relationship that wasn’t real.

Campbell listens to her and tells her that Luke is finished at the company and nobody else will employ him. Campbell tells her to move on and that blame and accountability are irrelevant.

What does Emily do next?

Receiving a phone call from Luke, Emily returns to the apartment to find him and his bags packed. He tells her he has sorted out the lease arrangement and that he is planning to move to San Francisco to start a new business. She drops a set of cutlery onto the floor and cuts herself.

She also becomes shocked at his laid-back attitude and asks him why he isn’t apologizing or begging for forgiveness for having raped her. Luke is confused and clearly doesn’t believe that he did anything wrong.

How does Emily get an apology?

Emily becomes increasingly angry at him and picks up a knife from the floor and holds it in a threatening manner, her anger rising as she talks about his toxic attitude since her promotion. He tries to take the knife away from her but he cuts himself. She demands an apology. He says sorry. She tells him to cry.

When he doesn’t, she slashes at his arm. He falls to the ground bleeding.

She gets him to apologize for hurting and raping her and has him declare that he is nothing. He breaks down in tears. He tries to explain it all away by saying that it wasn’t him and that he’ll do anything for her to make it okay. She leans her head against his, the two of them crying. She tells him to wipe the blood off her floor and get out. She is done with him now. She drops the knife to the floor.

What did you think of the ending of the 2023 Netflix movie Fair Play? Comment below.

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