Clock (2023) ‘Hulu’ Movie Ending, Explained: Clock, a film written and directed by Alexis Jacknow, delves into the emotional journey of a woman struggling to reconcile her desires for motherhood with the reality of her aging body. Through her desperate attempt to repair her faltering biological clock, the movie explores the themes of societal pressures, fertility, and the complex choices that women face in their pursuit of parenthood.
Hulu’s new film is a refreshingly innovative addition to the pregnancy horror subgenre, which delves into the haunting reality of the ticking biological clock. Unlike traditional pregnancy horror movies, Clock offers a unique perspective by focusing on a woman, played by Dianna Agron, who is uninterested in having a child and even fears the prospect of motherhood. Through this compelling narrative, the movie sheds light on the societal pressure faced by women to bear children and the emotional struggles that come with it.
However, despite its clear intention to explore a compelling theme, the film falls short in its execution, particularly in its third act. While the first and second acts build up the narrative effectively, the film struggles to deliver a satisfying conclusion that fully justifies the preceding buildup.
For those intrigued by the prospects of this psychological horror, here’s a detailed synopsis that will give you an understanding of the movie’s plot, including a breakdown of the ending scene.
Clock (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
The movie begins with a woman drenched in blood trying to go up on a swing. She finally musters the courage and goes up, tangles herself with the swing’s chain, and drops down lifelessly. A piece of a clock falls down from her hand, and the screen fades to black.
The movie opens with a woman feeling out of place at her friend’s baby shower. We soon get to know that this woman is Ella Patel (Dianna Agron), and she is a local celebrity architect. When her friend who is having a baby asks her to feel the baby kick, Ella is reluctant, which allows us to understand that she is anxious about people constantly questioning her about having a child when she is not interested in it at all. On her annual visit to her gynecologist, Ella discovers that her biological clock – a clock that allows women to understand when they can have a baby, seems to be broken.
Ella is constantly feeling pressured, seeing how everyone on her Instagram feed is either pregnant or already has kids that they post about every day. When her father comes to visit for their Jewish holiday dinner, the only thing he ends up talking about is how important it is to have a child.
After dinner, Ella tries to have sex with her husband, Aaiden, without protection, but he refuses because he knows that Ella is doing this out of guilt and fear of missing out and not because she wants. That night when she is working on her project, she remembers her doctor’s suggestion to try a new clinical method that can fix her hormonal imbalance.
The next day we see her leaving for the job, but instead, she calls her boss and tells him that she will not be able to be a part of the current project that they are working on even though it was her dream job. We then see Ella check in into a facility that has the sign infinity all over the property. She is then introduced to Dr. Simmons, who gives her a brief about the experimental drug that they have procured in their program. She tells her that what they are doing there is basically aligning a woman’s desire to have children back with women who seem to have lost it.
The next day, Dr. Simmons sits Ella down for a diagnosis where she thinks that Ella suffers from Tokophobia, which is a condition that puts the fear of pregnancy in a woman. She tries out a sort of Rorschach test on her, where she places a few cards in front of her and asks her what she sees. Ella sees three things, the first of which is a figure of a tall woman, the second – a family of spiders, and the third – a grandfather clock.
In the next session, Ella and the doctor discuss the significance of the three things she saw. While the pile spiders represented the pile of dead bodies in the horrific incident holocaust, at the same time, the grandfather clock (which she mistakenly calls the grandfather coffin) was related to the only family artifact found post-war. Dr. Simmons analyzes and says that both these things probably signify Ella’s fear since the Jewish holocaust which was basically about well-cultured people killing each other; she wouldn’t want to bring a child in a world that is almost the same now. The two of them are unable to find out what the third thing, which is a tall woman, signifies.
Ending the session, Dr. Simmons suggests that Ella opt for an implant in order to get pregnant. She says that in addition to the pills small device which will permanently remain inside her would release additional hormones that will help with the pregnancy.
Back in her room, Ella starts facing strange happenings. Firstly, an unkillable spider appears, secondly, the clock in her room wouldn’t stop in spite of putting it down, and thirdly, she also sees a vision of a really tall woman in the facility’s lobby.
The next procedure involves Ella getting into a huge tank that is supposed to be a sort of desensitization procedure that unclogs any mental blockage that a patient would have in concern to getting pregnant. Ella gets into the tank and sees gruesome imagery of childbirth, and taps out only to see the very tall woman again.
When the procedure is done, Ella gets furious and says that she wants out of the program, but Dr. Simmons shuts her down by saying that she voluntarily made a choice and must stick to it or else all their work would be in vain.
The final procedure involves the insertion of the device before Ella can leave. She decides to go with the procedure without taking the prescribed valium pill and faces some internal pain. Dr. Simmons then hands her daily pills and asks her to go home and not have intercourse for at least three weeks.
As Ella returns, the strange visions keep happening to her. She also develops an aversion towards eggs: basically signifying her ovulation through the forced procedure. On her birthday, she almost hits her best friend’s pregnant belly, thinking there is a huge spider sitting on it.
Since Ella is doing her friend’s nursery installation; she goes to the hardware store to paint but is unable to differ between the colors. When Dr. Simmons calls for the weekly check-up, she lies about this blurry vision so that she is not disqualified in spite of the doctor’s warning – she allows her to up her dose.
Who is the tall woman Ella keeps seeing?
Ella and Aidan visit Ella’s father. When they are going through old family photos, they discover a hidden photo of Ella’s grandmother, who happens to be the same woman she keeps having visions of. Ella gets disturbed and says that she doesn’t want anything to do with that woman, which makes her father get hysterical and tear off all the pictures of her as a baby. At this point, we come to understand that Ella’s fear comes from generational trauma and that she doesn’t wish to pass it on.
Back home, she realizes that she has left her pills at her best friend’s house and rushes to get them. When her friend sees that she has ruined her nursery by painting it in horrific strokes, she gets angry. This is when her friend’s water breaks and Ella feels a sudden urge to get into her friend’s business leading to her being thrown out.
Just then, she receives a call from her father, who says that he has fallen down. Ella rushes to his house to help him, only to be triggered by the ticking of the grandfather clock. She takes some tools from her father’s and destroys the clock.
Is Aidan aware of Ella’s procedure?
Back at home, when Aidan returns from the hospital, Ella tells him that she wants to have a baby. Aidan feels that she is doing it just because her father is putting her in guilt to do it.
However, he is persuaded by her, and they proceed to have sex on the kitchen counter. Consequently, the implant gets in the way, and it cuts Aidan’s penis, which starts to bleed. Trying to get some gauge out of Aidan’s bag, she notices the logo of the facility that Dr. Elizabeth Simmons runs. We get to know that Aidan, who seemed like a really nice guy, has been gaslighting, enabling, and lying to her.
Realizing this, Ella drives to the facility and shouts at Dr. Simmons, asking her to remove the implant. The doctor says that doing so wouldn’t allow her to have children permanently – and that Ella desperately wants them now as her procedure works.
Clock (2023) Movie Ending Explained:
What does Ella do with the implant?
While Dr. Simmons is able to put her spin on Ella’s situation, she soon realizes that the procedure is nothing but a grand delusion. She claims that her process is doing nothing but forcing women into feeling a certain way – a way in which society wants them to feel but not allowing them to be who they are.
She again asks her to remove the implant, and when she refuses, Ella takes the pliers out of her bag and does it herself. Doing it allows her to seem normal again. Colors, which have been absent from her vision, appear, and she feels whole again.
What did Ella do to her father?
When Ella is done with removing the implant, the tall woman who now symbolically becomes Dr. Simmons also disappears when she assaults her.
The police arrive at the facility looking for her, but she runs out and gets into her car, driving away. On pursuit, Aidan calls her and tells her that he is the one who has called the police because of what she has done at her father’s place.
This is when she retraces the moment of destroying the grandfather’s clock and remembers how her father, for the first time, accepted her for being a woman who doesn’t want a child. Ella, who has been burying years of peer pressure and generational trauma inside her, in the delusion of the meds, kills her father.
What does the end scene signify?
The cops handcuff her and are about to escort her away when Ella decides to make a run for the cliff. She jumps as the movie fades to black.
Now it could either mean that she kills herself, ridding of all the pressure that she has been feeling all this while.
Or, since we see a final sequence of her lying on a rock looking at a creature slowly moving out of the water: it could signify that Ella, who, due to the procedure, now had a wish for a child, suffers from a miscarriage.