Titane Movie Explained: Ending, Themes & Identity Crisis Analysed
Titane Movie Ending Explained & Themes Analyzed: ‘Titane’ at its best is provocative and thought-provoking. At its worst, the French film is a redundant mix of empty symbolism. Julia Ducournau, whose first film ‘Raw‘ was equally frightening and macabre, uses her protagonist Alexia’s boldness and defiance to mold the story. Her focused narration allows her work to be collaborative with the viewer. The film’s subtle subtext is easier to lose in the chaos that shrouds the plot than to hold on. Even after a couple of viewings, a lot of things do not make sense: the symbiotic relationship between Alexia and titanium; the kid born with a titanium spine; things in between. The plot is wrought in ambiguity without adhering to a conventional structure. ‘Titane’ drips in gorgeous artistry behind the camera. The cinematography is the highlight of the film. It definitely has A24 vibes, despite not belonging to the banner.
To address some of these questions, we have decided to pen this explanation to the film, conceding at the same time that there is a lot that was lost in translation for us. We are human too, after all. Happy reading!
Titane Plot Synopsis & Summary:
Alexia meets a tragic accident in her childhood that sees a titanium plate being installed in her skull. It seemingly pushes her to prefer the car over her parents. As an adult, she performs at various motor shows, where she meets Justine. One night, she murders a fan in cold blood, who forcibly tries to kiss her. Soon thereafter, her car mysteriously beckons to have intercourse with her.
After the night, she seems to be with child, and her attempts to miscarriage prove unsuccessful. At a house party, she brutally murders Justine and the houseguests in a fit of rage. She proceeds to lock her parents and lights the house on fire. With the police after her, Alexia assumes the identity of a child kidnapped years ago, whose case sensationally reopens. The missing child’s father, Vincent, receives Alexia without submitting her to a DNA test. They live together as father-son until the mother of the child arrives, revealing the truth about her; even more so, about Vincent.
What is the relationship between Alexia and Titanium?
This is probably the most difficult question to answer having watched the film once and without any other context. The start of their relationship is definitely with the accident. The confusing opening shot of the titanium inside of a car probably augurs an expansion on this premise.
The two are literally bound together after the operation and do not seem to be separable. The courage to imagine a physical relationship between Alexia and titanium is as hard to find as the symbolism behind it. A prudent decision on our part should be to buy into the above theory and accept that this was used as a narrative tool by Ducournau to represent apathy and lack of the warmth of love.
Why does she kill the people at the Party?
Alexia is a serial killer. Although the fact is not made explicit, it is implicit in her reaction to and disposal of her stalker’s body. There is a deception that she brings to her demeanor in front of others. She started running when she saw the stalker; came across as reluctantly willing when he kissed her; and once she made sure that the stalker was victorious in his mind, she stabs him in the ear.
As for the people in the house, her way in is Justine. Through her, she gets a foot in to satisfy her void or desire of violence and kills almost all of them, before the woman in the toilet is able to escape. The reason why she kills can be attributed to either of these two points; both assign a different purpose to the killing.
Does Vincent know about Alexia’s True Identity?
When Vincent refuses a DNA test, eyebrows are raised. The mystery is momentary, though, as it is clear he believes her to be his son when he breaks down in the car. His desperation is so strong that he is convinced that Alexia is his son, despite reluctance from those around him. The grief is so prolonged that Vincent now feels to take care of and love ‘a child’, even if it is not his.
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It sounds contorted and perverted, but is actually one of the softer touches by the director. He knows for sure when he sees Alexia naked in the washroom, but proceeds to cover her up and vows to care for her no matter what. Vincent repents for his lost chance with Andrew that denuded him of a meaningful experience of fatherhood.
Titane Movie Themes Explained:
Family and Parenthood
The most earnest takeaway from the story is the relationship between Alexia and Vincent. It is often said that one cannot choose his family, as opposed to their friends. But the choice made before your existence needn’t be the right one. Good parents might be stuck with bad children and vice versa. A family does not have to be a perfect match, as is the case with Alexia, but not necessarily Vincent.
Despite the mismatch, the two complete each other. They play the roles of a desperate father looking for his lost child and a frustrated child looking for love. It would be a bit crass to say that Alexia’s parents did not love her but plain to say that she didn’t feel loved. This is also the most reasonable explanation as to why Alexia decides against leaving Vincent and steps out of the bus.
Identity Crisis and Expression of Masculinity
There are enough metaphors here for the expression of masculinity in a conformed manner to confuse anyone. The hardness associated with being more masculine is represented through the titular titanium. Violence is another key metric to create a hierarchy where the most are placed at the top, the least at the bottom. Alexia’s actions and journey through the film suggest an identity crisis that she suffers from.
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Vincent too struggles to find his place in the world and make sense of himself without the need to care for his child. His urge to return to his prime physique, or stay young, prompts him to take painful steroids. It also pushes him to accept Alexia as his son, despite her conceit. Docournau also focuses on gender identity and its acceptance by family. The snap showing Andrew wearing a dress was no fluke. Vincent and his wife might have had problems accepting his feminine behavior when he was a child but on a second chance, he sees Alexia in the dress and accepts that his son might not be what he imagined him being.
The Emptiness of Being Human
Several European films have beautifully explored this curse concomitant with having a conscience. A life led without love and compassion condemns an individual to reluctantly embrace a bottomless void of emptiness that gnaws at them every breathing second. This emptiness brings about a transformation in how we perceive things around us.
Alexia and Vincent both feel the pinch of this emptiness. Feeling isolated from yourself, being indifferent to your own emotions can be an extremely harsh experience. Living through this, even more painful. But when they find and see each other – a mutual feeling of care is birthed that does not care about labels and relations. All it serves is a bond that celebrates the joy of being alive.
Titane Movie Ending Explained:
‘Titane’s ending will have you fervently guess what comes out of Alexia like no other guessing game. Alexia’s pregnancy comes to a painful and shocking conclusion when she gives birth to a boy with a titanium spine. She finally reveals her identity to Vincent, who is himself burnt in a state of numbness and beseeches him to help deliver the baby.
As her stomach rips open, we see a metal plate; motor oil flows instead of blood. Although Alexia is unable to survive, the child lives in the watchful grasp of Vincent, who looks at the camera and says, “I’m here”. The ending is ironic and comes a full circle for Vincent’s arch wherein he loses a son at the start of the film (Alexia is almost the same age as Andrew) and gains one in the end. He has regretted his mistakes with Andrew and learns not to judge his new offspring for what he is. The acceptance of the metal baby is akin to something he feels he should have done with Andrew.