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The Gift, Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut, debut is a well-paced thriller with several jarring twists, and a couple of authentic “boo” moments leading to an unsettling ending.

SPOILERS below:

Almost immediately after young couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move to Simon’s hometown to hopefully start a family, Simon runs into a ghost from his past. “Gordo” (Joel Egerton) proceeds to insert himself into his former classmate’s life, leaving gifts and hanging out with Robyn while Simon is at work in the city. Gordo’s lack of boundaries are slimly and offputting, but he doesn’t directly flirt with Robyn or threaten her. It turns out Robyn has a very trusting nature, and willingly lets Gordo into their home and their lives. Although his behavior isn’t severe, it’s still riddled with red flags that Simon is quick to point out in the most cruel manner possible. Robyn, it seems, isn’t put off by behavioral warnings. She wants to believe the best of everyone, a trait of a nice person, but also a trait of vulnerable one. There is an implication that if she so quickly trusts Gordo, maybe she’s made some other missteps and misreads on who to trust, and who to marry.

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It’s only after she’s in the last months of pregnancy that Robyn discovers the truth about her husband. When they were kids, Simon made up a story about Gordo getting molested by an older boy. The rumor erupted in scandal, and provoked Gordo’s father to beat him to the brink of death over the possibility that he may be gay. As his life continued to fall into shambles, Gordo nursed a deep resentment of Simon’s ruthless behavior. His revenge isn’t about physically hurting Simon, but getting into his brain and gaining psychological power over him the same way Simon is so apt at gaining power over others. A big win for Gordo is when Simon makes an insincere attempt at an apology and instead ends up physically attacking Gordo. He has fully lost control at this point, and turned into a puppet operated by his predictable psychology and behavior.

Simon’s wife Robyn is the true victim in all of these mind games. As her trust starts to darken around both Gordo and her husband, her small world closes in even further. The audience starts to align themselves with her, navigating this tangled mess through her experience, but when Gordo’s grand revenge finally pays off, Robyn’s perspective fades into the background even though the final gift heavily involves her. That’s a bit of a disappointment because at this point the film has become her story, and as a viewer I wanted an emotional payoff for her beyond her icy retreat from Simon.

Gordo’s final gift to Simon (which happens after Robyn gives birth and informs Simon that she doesn’t want to go home with him,) reveals that Robyn’s “episode” about nine months before that Simon thought was a drug relapse was actually orchestrated by Gordo. He taped watching Robyn collapse after she drank Gatorade he spiked with sleeping pills. The video shows Gordo in a mask move her to the bed, but cuts off before we get to see what happens next. We’re left with the terror of the unseen. Our brains fill in information more graphically when we are pointed to an idea, when things are implied, but not directly shown. In this chilling trick, Gordo’s mastered the violence of the mind. He’s wielding the weapon of doubt like a trained surgeon.

Gordo makes it clear to Simon that “poisoing” his mind is of more interest to him than real actions. It seems as if Gordo didn’t actually sexually assault Robyn because the violence he’s concerned with is emotional manipulation. All of his life Simon had played with lies and perception to control others, and Gordo’s obsessed with giving him a true taste of the devastating effects of a war of ideas.

Simon doesn’t rush to tell Robyn what Gordo has revealed to him, and the ending leaves it unclear what he plans to do. It almost seems like he might not tell her anything at all. Obviously a DNA test could determine whether or not the baby is Simon’s, but that doesn’t clear up the rape. With the video footage Gordo supplied, Simon may have legal evidence to charge him with breaking-and-entering and drugging Robyn, but any recourse he may or may not take doesn’t seem to be the point of the ending. The point seems to be that Simon is finally suffering. He’s lost his job, his family, and his grasp on reality. He used to breeze through life with the sure confidence of someone who could manipulate impressions and stories to his will or whim, but now has control over absolutely nothing in his life.

Of course the most distressing thing about all this is what happened to Robyn. Even if she wasn’t raped, she was still drugged, secretly taped and manhandled while she was unconscious. She was still caught up in this sickening game. She was still played with and used. Simon is an asshole, a bully being punished, but Robyn has had her life wreaked by two diabolical people, and is still left in the dark. In her final shot she’s seen seething in anger as she holds her infant and glares at her husband through glass, caught fully in only her known horror.

What do you think about the ending of The Gift?

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  • Robert Chiarello

    Gordon taking off his sling at the end of the film was a metaphor for him finally being free from the control Simon had over him all those years.

    • ??

      At last scene Gordo leaves back on the hospital bed the fake arm bandage used to emotionally affect Robyn predending beeing hit seriously by Simon. Briliant ending as this proves:
      – no rape happened, else would need to keep the bandage as to meet Robyn again and the baby
      – Gorgo wanted to break Simon relationship with Robyn without any violence(rape), he is a good guy
      – Gorgo is messing with Simon’ mind, took his revenge and just leaving away.
      – dna tests exists , however will take weeks to have resusts and this is enough time to drive Simon crazy

      • foulmouth&wiser

        Wow! I hope that is really that. I got my heart in the throat long enough 😐

        I expected to see the baby’s eyes, but they both seemed to Robin as Gordo

        So know I just have to say: Try to be a nice guy and do not to be an asshole in our childhood (the worst is if it is too late!)

      • Leaf & Pain

        lol no its stupid because he recorded himself with the monkey mask on in their house, surely robyns going to eventually see it and think wtf :L

    • Sephiroth

      Lol no it wasn’t but good try. He hurt his arm raping her 9 months prior it’s In the extras of the pre released blue ray. Anal and all.

  • raphael

    I believe Gordo did not rape Robyn as in his view Robyn was a good person. His target is asshole Simon only.

    • BeaveVillage

      Yeah but as it is made clear time and time again, Gordo’s way to get to Simon was through Robyn. How many times did he show up at the house when Simon wasn’t around and he knew perfectly well that Simon was at work.

      As soon as I saw Robyn collapse in the house I knew that Gordo was in there and that he would do something, my suspicions were confirmed when the video surfaced later. Gordo’s final gift to Simon was a baby that was not his (Simon’s).

      IN short: Gordo only cared about getting back at Simon, and did not care about Robyn in doing so.

      • Annon

        he also said good people deserve good things….she wasn’t a bad person so does that mean he ignored his own statement? Unless he believes he is good and his baby is his gift to her

        • foulmouth&wiser

          that is true, but with disturbed minds we never know :c

  • Alan Hogg

    He can’t just simply get a DNA test. Robyn would be somewhat anxious to know why he wants the test – And that would kill the relationship more. I know it’s over anyway.

    • BeaveVillage

      Simon could very easy swab the baby’s cheek, and then his own, put them into two separate containers and get doctors to DNA test. He could easily do it in secret and the Simon character we know in the movie would very well have done this after the credits rolled.

  • ABHINAV TRIVEDI

    gordo raped robyn…..as there is a hint in the movie when simon goes to gordo to apologize,,,there gordo replied him that its too late now…and also when he says good ppl deserves good things so robyn was a good person and simon was a bad person so as a result last gift was a baby which was of gordo….as gordo asked her in the beginning of the movie only that does she have a baby…so there he decided to ruin simon life by giving him a gift and that was a baby

    • foulmouth&wiser

      Oh no no no. Please don’t say that, I will cry, but kinda make sense 😐

      • ABHINAV TRIVEDI

        Hahaha chill I was also shocked but then realised that it was a movie not reality…phhheewwww

    • lily

      Is he sure that he gets robyn impregnated? then what if the baby is simon’s? because the two in fact were still trying to have a baby. So the idea of gordo being sure that he gives robyn a baby is still knda ….

      • ABHINAV TRIVEDI

        gordo asked simon to look into baby’s eyes in the last scene…and when simon looks into baby’s eyes he starts crying…so it means he got his answer that the baby was of gordo

        • Sarah Van Voorhis

          Except that as both Robyn and Gordo have brown eyes (Simon’s were blue) and brown is dominant, the baby having dark eyes would mean nothing. Even if Robyn had a heterogeneous phenotype, there is a 50% chance of the kid having brown vs blue eyes. If she is homogenous then the baby absolutely will have brown eyes, no matter which is the father. And if he did rape her and both he and Robyn were heterogeneous (BbxBb) it’s possible that the kid would have blue eyes like Simon. So… Contrary to popular belief the kid’s eyes don’t actually tell us anything. Simon has to choose what he believes or take a paternity test. Whatever truth he sees in the baby’s eyes is The truth he wants to see.

  • Maybe the ultimate plan was to get Robyn to leave Simon for Gordo. Wikipedia “While looking around the house, the couple find a closet full of women’s
    clothes and a children’s bedroom despite Gordo telling them he doesn’t
    have a family.” But this did not work as Robyn was smart enough to figure out Gordo was and his plan fell apart.

    • TrillLA

      That wasn’t gordos house

  • Oh and if you guys liked this movie, check out Shutter.

  • Joseph Calandria

    Gordo had to have raped her. There was no way for him to know that she would get pregnant at the same time he made the video. He got this idea by finding out they’ve been trying to have a baby and probably deduced they were having trouble. This is where the movie has a critical flaw. The point of the ending was for both possibilities to be plausible in the audience’s mind. Because of the aforementioned reasons of Gordo raping Simon’s wife, this makes only one possibility plausible.

    Simon losing his job was also just a coincidence and a plot device to mess things up more for Simon to get the movie’s point across is Simon being the same bully as in high school. That being said, for Gordo to get any revenge within his own control was raping her and showing that he was beat up by Simon (which was partly by chance) to ruin his marriage for good.

    The other major plot hole was the home not having an advanced security system, since Simon sells these things. Also, most people, especially in the nicer parts of California, have some kind of security system. I especially can’t believe they never got one even after they thought Gordo stole their dog and killed the fish. This would have prevented the rape revenge plan. They did joke about not having one, but that isn’t a good enough way to cover it up. A good way to help could have been to later reveal Simon killed the fish and took the dog to make Gordo seem crazy to his wife. The more I think about it, that’s probably what happened. The scene where the wife was looking into the dog’s eyes asking where he has been probably implies this.

    In any case, this was an enjoyable movie. The one thing I hate about the stalker genre is the beginning part of these movies. I don’t like the uncomfortable conversations the stalker has with his/her victims where everyone is trying to be polite before the craziness starts. This is more unsettling than the typical suspenseful parts in my opinion ;P

  • Joseph Calandria

    Gordo had to have raped her. There was no way for him to know that she would get pregnant at the same time he made the video. He only got this idea by finding out they’ve been trying to have a baby (his first visit with the wife) and probably deduced they were having trouble. The ending is where the movie has a critical flaw. The point of the ending was for both possibilities to be plausible in the audience’s mind so we can experience what Simon is going through. Because of the aforementioned reasons of Gordo raping Simon’s wife, this makes only one possibility plausible. This also counteracts the movie trying to let the audience side with Gordo. With the possibility of him not raping her makes us not hate him that much, but take that away, he turns into a crazy rapist that deserves no sympathy.

    For Gordo to get any revenge within his own control was raping her and showing that he was beat up by Simon (which was partly by chance) to ruin his marriage for good. Him ruining her marriage isn’t cruel in the grand scheme of things because it revealed what kind of man Simon still is, but raping an innocent woman truly is evil and there is no excuse for that. This is where the movie fails, it should have made it plausible for him to not have raped her in a more believable way, unless I’m missing something important here.

    The other major plot hole was the home not having an advanced security system, since Simon sells these things. Also, most people, especially in the nicer parts of California, have some kind of security system. I especially can’t believe they never got one even after they thought Gordo stole their dog and killed the fish. This would have prevented the rape revenge plan. They did joke about not having one, but that isn’t a good enough way to cover it up. A good way to help could have been to later reveal Simon killed the fish and took the dog to make Gordo seem crazy to his wife. The more I think about it, that’s probably what happened. The scene where the wife was looking into the dog’s eyes asking where he has been probably implies this.

    In any case, this was an enjoyable movie. The one thing I hate about the stalker genre is the beginning part of these movies. I don’t like the uncomfortable conversations the stalker has with his/her victims where everyone is trying to be polite before the craziness starts. This is more unsettling than the typical suspenseful parts in my opinion ;P

  • Martino

    As posted above, even a positive DNA test result would not rule out the rape issue. Simon will never know if he touched her or not. I don’t know but maybe a girl would notice if she was raped somehow, even while blacked out? Anyway, even though Robyn was not a Simon’s target – he lost his father cause of Simon, so in his eyes perhaps Simon hurted not only him but his father too, so my guess is he wouldn’t have a problem of hurting innocent Robyn as an act of vengance.

  • Randy Lyons

    Late, but just watched this movie. The name of the The is The Gift. Gordon gives gifts throughout the movie. Babies are called “gifts”. Gordo raped Robyn and his last “gift” was his child.