Attachment (2023) Ending Explained: It is strange to see so many movies being made around Orthodox Judaism, merging the subject of suppression and dysfunctionality around it with genre filmmaking. The age-old practice of the culture and people living their life adhering to a strict lifestyle, norms, and rituals have repeatedly caused them to go backward, as far as their worldview is concerned. While some have openly embraced same-sex relationships, others, at the same time, have put a dent in people’s life by oppressing them with ancient thought processes. This, in fact, has always been a growing concern and a matter of controversy.
To further add to this, the community is also an enormous believer in religious laws, and the Jewish culture is highly influenced by the mysterious tradition of dark arts and mystical beings. Most of these films try to tell us about society and beliefs by using ethnographic recreations of the creature. In the same vein, the director of the 2023’s horror drama, Attachment shows a story of budding love and possession through the lens of the ancient evil spirit – Dybbuk. Used in many horror films, as per Jewish culture, a Dybbuk is a malicious spirit that comes to life by possessing the obscured and lost.
The mystery thriller follows the romantic relationship of Maja (a-has been actress), who falls head over heels for a young academic Jewish girl, Leah, from the UK. However, things slowly start to mysteriously change when Leah suffers from a seizure and breaks her leg, which leads her to move back to her mother’s place in London. Maja accompanies her to be able to spend more time with her. Leah’s mother, Chana, is overbearing, religious, highly sensitive, and protective and is particularly not fond of Maja’s presence around her daughter. While Maja tries to win her girlfriend’s mother’s trust, she also notices strange things in the house that make her believe Chana is onto something against her daughter.
Attachment (2023) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:
Attachment takes us to the mediocre life of a has-been actress, Maja, who has a meet-cute with Leah – a young scholar from London. Maja instantly connects with Leah and invites her for a cup of tea. They get so engrossed in their conversations that the day turns into night, and the women chat and laugh as they sip bottles of wine. Soon we see Leah moving in with Maja, and the two are inseparable as they fall for one another.
One night, Maja notices that Leah is sleepwalking while humming a song. The following day, when the two share breakfast, Leah abruptly suffers from an intense seizure that somehow cracks one of the bones in her leg. After visiting the doctor, we see Leah has a leg fracture and avoids her mother’s calls. However, she returns to London to stay with her mum, and Maja accompanies her.
Leah’s mother, Chana, is a part Danish woman married to a conservative and religious Jewish family. She follows every law and ritual with immense dedication. When Leah introduces Maja to her mother, Chana almost ignores her presence as she focuses on her daughter, who needs bed rest until she heals.
We see Chana caring for her daughter, but she almost overwhelms Leah with warmth and affection. Maja tries to gel with her girlfriend’s mother but gets a cold vibe from Chana, as if she disapproves of her presence.
After spending the first day together, when Chana leaves for bed, she gives an amethyst to Maja as a token of protection against dark beings. Later, when Maja asks Leah if her mother is cool with them being together, Leah assures her that Chana has been in a lot of pain since her father left. Since then, her mother’s entire focus has been on her well-being and keeping the traditions of the house intact. She might look like somehow who is cold-hearted, but in reality, she is warm and welcoming.
Knowing that Chana is a protective mother, Maja ignores the coldness towards her and wears the amulet she had given her. As things move, we gradually see Maja noticing strange things in the house. For instance, the lighting of a candle in the middle of the night, sea salt kept around the corner of the house, an old bowl with a strange inscription written on it and kept under the cabinets, etc.
All this intrigues Maja, and she goes to a nearby Jewish bookshop and enquires about books that would help her understand things. However, the bookshop owner notices the amethyst Chana had given her to wear and instantly understands Maja is related to Leah.
It turns out the shopkeeper is the brother-in-law of Chana and knows something about Leah and her mother. However, when prodded further by Maja, he refrains from answering her queries and instead shows her a book that entails all kinds of evil spirits, including Dybbuk, and how they affect beings in the living world. Even though Maja dismisses him, she feels odd about Leah’s mother and how she acts around her.
Once back, Maja goes upstairs to Leah’s room to meet her, and Chana brings soup especially meant for her daughter. When Leah offers Maja to share the soup, Chana throws a fit and takes it away. Maja finds this odd and is determined to win her over. She goes to her and politely asks her to show her around the neighborhood so she can spend some time with Chana and understand her better. Meanwhile, we see Chana collecting black pouches containing unfamiliar things from various Jewish shops in the neighborhood.
We then see Maja sharing an intimate moment with Leah, but she gets distracted by the cracking noise in the room. It turns out that Maja is the only one who can hear the cracking sound or see the lit candle in the room. Leah diverts Maja by telling her how much it means that she is here with her during this healing time. And she has never been with anyone like her in a serious relationship.
The following day, when Leah and her mother visit the doctor, Lev comes to visit Maja, who wants to continue his earlier conversation about Dybbuk. However, the chat is cut short when the mother and daughter return, and Chana is not pleased with Lev being in the house. Later when Maja offers help to carry the bags to Chana’s room, she snaps and is reluctant to take her help. That is when Maja loses her temper and yells about how Chana always avoids the fact that she loves her daughter and how she has been desperately trying to be a part of her family and connect with her.
Maja instantly apologizes for insulting Chana, who then brings two pints of beer to the kitchen to open up with her. While conversing, the two share different things about their life. Chana loves her daughter despite the traditional upbringing and norms she has to follow, which led her to sacrifice many things in life. When Maja shares that she and Leah are planning on moving somewhere once she gets better, Chana’s mood changes, and she walks out to make dinner.
Why does Chana want Maja to be away from Leah? What does Maja know about Chana?
Later in the night, Maja overhears Chana yelling over the phone at Lev, asking him not to entertain Maja, and then she goes to his shop to meet him. In the meantime, Maja takes the spare key from Leah’s room, snoops around Chana’s flat, and is shocked to see that she has been into some kind of black magic and witchcraft.
When she tells this to Leah, she gets furious and says that maybe they jumped onto things in the relationship too soon. Chana also taunts Maja that perhaps she should leave her daughter alone for her own sake.
Maja goes to Lev for help, but he tells her to leave because everything is dangerous, and it is best she should not be here. However, Maja is determined to reveal the truth about Chana to Leah. So she invites Leah’s mother for dinner. While eating food and talking about starting afresh, Leah converses about life in general. Soon we see Maja choking on the piece of chicken that Chana made. It turns out that the chicken had a filling of peanuts that caused Maja’s allergic reaction.
However, we know it was Maja who put peanuts inside her food to make Leah believe that her mother was onto something against her. Leah gets upset with her mother and asks her to leave. Before leaving, Chana tells Maja that she doesn’t know what she is doing and warns her by saying that ‘he will kill her.’
Attachment (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:
What happens to Leah?
Following the dinner episode, the girls move to a vacation home in the woods owned by Maja’s dad. However, things drastically change when Leah starts behaving strangely. She has stopped eating and isolated herself in a corner staring blankly at the walls.
During one of the nights, when Maja is in a deep sleep, Leah suffers from another seizure. The following day, when Maja notices Leah has a massive lump on her stomach, she advises her to go to the doctor. But Leah refuses, saying she feels fine.
This makes Maja increasingly concerned, and without Leah’s knowledge, she goes out to meet Lev. She tells him everything and notices they are not alone, as Chana has also tagged along to know her daughter’s whereabouts.
Keeping the secret to herself from the world for many years, Lev finally pushes Chana to share the truth about Leah. It turns out that Leah is possessed by a demon called Dybbuk, who is slowly killing her. Chana using black magic as per Jewish culture has been trying her best to keep her alive. However, the demon grows stronger whenever she is away from her mother and controls Leah’s body and mind. Maja calmly listens to everything; however, it seems she doesn’t believe any of it. She tells them to follow her to the house, but escapes before they can get to their car.
What does the movie Attachment (2023) want to say?
Meanwhile, Maja rushes to the house and tells Leah to pack her bags as she is not doing okay. Leah looks pale and weak, and her eyes are white. She tells Maja it hurts her when she says she is not okay. She also suspects that something is up because Maja won’t let her see her mother.
Leah further states that she tore her life apart by separating her from her loving mother and pretending to love her. This scene is crucial as it tells us the meaning of the word attachment. If you love someone, you shouldn’t possess the person and do things that seem right to you. The film, until this point, had shown affection between a mother and daughter who love one another tenderly despite differences in showing their love.
At the same time, it also shows a budding relationship between two women who share cultural differences but have their own definitions of loving one another. Additionally, it shows a mother who is attached to her daughter despite being different and going through emotional turmoil due to childhood trauma.
The film shows attachment in the form of possessiveness and how it blindfolds somehow from seeing that it can be overbearing to an extent where it makes the person feel suffocated or clueless.
Using the perspective of a demon, Dybbuk, the film shows us that, unfortunately, Leah is a victim of people controlling her life and doing things for her as they see fit. Leah tells Maja that because she is aimless, sad, and lonely in her life, she has made Leah her mission and wants to control her in the same way her mother has.
How do the people of the Jewish community save Leah from the Dybbuk? What does Dybbuk want from Leah?
At this point of the film, it is well-established that Leah is possessed by a demon who is notoriously making her say things that she might not have stated otherwise to Maja. Soon after the conversation, Leah vanishes, and Maja searches for her in the house.
We hear a cracking sound from the attic, and Maja follows the sound. However, Leah attacks her but is saved by Lev, who comes with the Jewish community members who have volunteered to finally help Chana save her daughter’s life from the clutches of the evil spirit.
They read out prayers that freeze Leah, and meantime, Lev prepares for her exorcism by drawing a circle around her using sea salt. In the meantime, Chana looks at the frozen state of her daughter and tells Maja that all this time, if Leah had known that there was a demon inside her body, she would have never seen a side of her daughter that she saw when Leah was with Maja.
Lev comes forward and begins the ritual. Using the black magic ritual, which cannot be interrupted, they start by lighting the holy ring using black candles and the bowl to seal the ring, thus trapping the soul within the circle. Leah is entirely in control of Dybbuk’s power, who intends to devour her. If the ritual is interrupted, the demon will kill everyone.
Soon we see they wake the demon, which is very clever as the priests try negotiating with it. It seems the devil has complete control on both sides of the deal, i.e., if they don’t sacrifice Leah, she will die, and if they move her, everyone dies.
So, Chana hugs Leah tightly, lifts her steadily, and puts herself inside the ring, moving her daughter outside. Chana hugs her daughter as the demon devours her; we see Chana’s body going through a trance state. The demon leaves behind Chana’s body after tasking her soul. Leah returns to life in her normal state and is shocked to see everyone acting strange around her.
The ending of Attachment sees Leah sitting in the car’s driving seat as Maja brings packed boxes out of her house. They are moving away from London for a fresh start. However, when Maja goes back to have a final check, she takes the bowl with her. This signifies that even though Leah is free from Dybbuk’s possession, her new caregiver will always be on the lookout.