Senior Year: the ending, explained – Did Steph give up her prom queen title?

Senior Year

Senior Year is one of the latest Netflix additions starring Rebel Wilson as a high school senior who wakes up from a coma after 20 years, making her a 17-year-old girl trapped in a 37-year-old woman’s body. The film, directed by Alex Hardcastle shares the story of this girl’s attempt to become prom queen.

Caution: Spoilers ahead!

Steph goes into a coma for 30 years 

Rebel Wilson is Stephanie Conway, an Australian immigrant who moved to America when she was young. The film starts on her 14th birthday when she and her best friends Seth (Sam Richardson) and Martha (Mary Holland) were bullied for their looks.

Fast forward to three years, Steph turns out to be one of the hottest girls at school and she manages to become the captain of the cheerleading squad. We also learn that her mother had passed away from cancer.

Her prime goal is to become prom queen and emulate the life of Deanna Russo, a previous prom queen who now lives in the most expensive house in the town after marrying her high school sweetheart. 

Steph is dating her crush Blaine Balboa (Justin Hartley), a football jockey and she plans an after-prom party. However, she realises that her nemesis Tiffany (Zoë Chao) has also been planning another after prom party to get Blaine’s attention. 

That evening during their cheer squad performance, Steph does a jumping backflip, and no one manages to catch her. The film then fast forwards to 20 years.

Steph decides to go to school again to get her throne back 

Steph had been living in a coma the whole time for 20 years and woke up in 2022. She sees Blaine living in her dream house. When she goes inside, Tiffany arrives and says that they are married now. 

Seth leaves the 2002 yearbook at her doorstep and Steph realises how much she has missed. She then has a flashback of her mother motivating her to be as you are.

“I know you are going to have the most perfect life. If anyone can make it happen, it’s you,” her mother says in the flashback.

Motivated to go to school again, Steph convinces Martha who is now the school principal to let her back to the last month of school that she missed. After Martha agrees, she meets Seth who is now the school librarian. 

Steph also wants to be back in the cheer squad, a request that Martha rejects. Martha also tells her that there is no prom kind and queen anymore at school. But she says that it could be reinstated by starting a petition.  

While Steph starts working on getting students to sign the petition, she comes across Bri Luv, an Instagram influencer who is now the most popular girl at school. Bri is also the daughter of Tiffany and Blaine. 

Steph starts to use social media to be popular again 

Steph’s dad gifts her a phone and Seth shows her how Instagram works.

“it’s a popularity contest, but instead of high school, it’s the whole world and the whole world is your phone,” Steph says.

Meanwhile, Steph also gets into the cheer squad where she realises that Martha is now the coach and had changed all her routines to be environmentally, emotionally, and economically conscious. 

During that weekend, she sees Bri hosting a party and an inspired Steph convinces the cheer squad to change their dance routine. Later at the Parent-Teacher Association meeting, they perform a very erotic dance much to the surprise of others. That night Steph meets with Blaine. 

Martha also reveals that she is a lesbian and Steph’s actions those days made her feel very insecure about herself. 

Tiffany and Steph renew their rivalry to be the prom queen 

Steph goes out to see ‘Deep Impact’ with Seth where Tiffany reveals that Seth used to like her. When confronted, Seth reveals that Tiffany only used him and Martha to get the attention of others. 

Steph also reveals why being the prom queen was very important to her. The only thing that kept her less miserable after her mother died was being prom queen, which is why it is very important to her. 

Meanwhile, Tiffany tells Bri to reinstate prom king and queen, so Bri can win and defeat Tiffany. The prom queen and king get reinstated, and Tiffany invites all of the seniors to their prom party to get more votes. Not backing down from a fight, Steph too goes on an Instagram live and invites everyone to a party held at a secret location. To be invited, they only need to vote for her as the prom queen.

Tiffany asks Seth out for prom and he accepts the invitation.

Steph is crowned as prom queen

During prom, Blaine tries to make out with Steph, but she pushed him away. Seth sees what happened and goes off after feeling miserable. 

Meanwhile, Tiffany hints to Bri that the prom votes have been rigged in her favour. After learning this news, Bri decides to withdraw from the contest, giving Steph the win.

They all go to the after-party at Steph’s place and a jealous Tiffany calls the cops on them, telling them the party is hosted by an adult. The cops come in and break up the party. 

Martha and Seth also arrive at the scene and Martha says that they were the only people who cared about Steph when she was in the coma. She takes a Lyft home to see the driver as Deanna Russo, the prom queen she idolised those days. She reveals how her husband left her and how she is excited to get her degree and start a career. 

What happened at the end?

Later in the day, Steph throws away her prom queen crown. 

In an emotional recollection of her mother, Steph’s father tells her to always appreciate the people that stood around her. She livestreams on Instagram and apologises to Martha and Seth and tells all her followers that high school doesn’t define you. 

Knowing what her mother did, Bri unfollows her on Instagram and forces her to apologise to Steph. 

“The perfect life online means nothing when you’re miserable in real life,” Bri says.

Seth and Martha forgive her, and Steph finally manages to graduate after 30 years. The film ends with them all dancing to Steph’s old choreography routine. Steph tries to land the jumping backflip again, and she succeeds, ending the movie. 

Rebel Wilson, the main actor in the film reveals the meaning behind the ending. Speaking to Forbes she says,

“There are a lot of things with social media that must be really hard for kids to navigate. I couldn’t imagine – I mean, someone getting bullied at school is worse enough but then if you’re getting bullied through your phone as well, things like that, it can be really awful and just a whole other set of issues.”

Although Senior Year gives a good message about body positivity and criticises some aspects of the ‘woke culture’, the editing and production of the film fails to deliver with some poor acting and cinematography.