You Are Not My Mother — What happened at the end?

You Are Not My Mother

The daring story of a young girl wanting to uncover her family’s hidden truths is the latest Irish movie to hit the theatres. The film tells the thrilling experience of Charlotte (Hazel Doupe), a young schoolgirl in her quest to find answers to the horrifying secrets lying inside her family. Although the film delivers a vague ending where many viewers are unable to figure out what happened, the film delivers subtle hints of information throughout the plot.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead!

  • Char and Suzanne’s friendship reveals the importance of having quality friends.
  • Rita’s character shows how family members takes decisions to protect the family.
  • Angela and Char shows the unbroken bond between a daughter and a mother.
  • The film talks about the importance of having a positive mental health through Angela.

Angela goes missing while driving Char to school

The film begins with an unknown person taking a toddler to a circle made from twigs before setting it on fire. The screams of the baby are heard off-screen.

Years later, Charlotte’s (nicknamed Char) Mother Angela (Carolyn Bracken), tells her that she can’t live anymore while taking Char to school. After school Char sees her mother’s car lying in an open field with Angela missing.

Char together with her uncle Aaron goes in search of her mother where her schoolmates burn a picture of the mom. After a failed quest of finding her mother, she dreams of Angela tied up to the bed; her eyes stitched closed, and her teeth covered in blood.

Angela returns home after a horrifying dream

After a horrific dream, Char wakes up to see that Angela had come home in the middle of the night.

The next day, Rita (Ingrid Craigie), Char’s grandmother goes out to meet a friend. A happy Angela cooks while dancing with Char. However, after coming back Rita accidentally drops the food that Angela was cooking. At dinner, Angela suggests that she and Char should go on a weekend gateway and Aaron disagrees saying Angela needs to rest with a proper routine.

The next day, Angela crushes two tablets and puts them inside Aaron’s tea and goes out for a walk. She also rescues Char when her schoolmates try to burn her face.

Char and Angela walk together. Char asks Angela about her disappearance, but she refuses to tell anything. Angela treads into a river and Char goes after her. Someone grabs her leg from inside the river and she sees the face of a woman. A terrified Char runs back.

Angela poisons Aaron in an attempt to kill him

Char and Angela come home to see Aaron on the floor and shaking with a mouth full of froth. Her grandmother calls an ambulance and Aaron is taken to the hospital.

Angela puts on the record player and starts dancing erratically to Char’s dismay. She trips her ankle and goes into a frantic rage. Char runs to her room.

Rita finds out that Aaron had overdosed on lithium, a drug that was previously prescribed to Angela. She tries to light a ball made from twigs she had made while in hospital.

Char uncovers a hidden secret of the past

Meanwhile, Char goes on a school trip to a heritage site and sees a documentary about thin places, a place where the gate between the divine world and physical realm is very thin that it can be crossed. The documentary also reveals that these places grow even thinner during the time of Halloween, predicting something is about to happen.

Char gets surrounded by her schoolmates who bully her and reveals that someone had tried to burn Char in a fire when she was small because no one wanted her. Char gets rescued by Suzanne; a bully turned friend.

Suzanne reveals her mother had drowned in a river after wandering off. Suzanne also shows a necklace she wears which is a replica of her mother’s burial site. Char invites Suzanne for dinner. They both come home, and Rita recognises Suzanne and asks about her dead mother. She sends Suzanne to the kitchen and speaks in private with Char, asking her to tell Suzanne to leave.

Meanwhile, Suzanne is inside the kitchen when she stumbles onto a photograph attached to the refrigerator. She recognises someone in the picture before an unknown figure holds her neck and tells her to leave. This figure is covered in water and has the same necklace that Suzanne wears, revealing the figure to be Suzanne’s mother and the woman Char saw when she was in the river. Suzanne hurries off the house.

Rita reveals the true story about Char and Angela

Rita, now alone with Char says that Angela was very young when she gave birth to Char. One night, Angela had taken Char out for a walk in the buggy, and she had returned home without her. After going out to find the missing baby Char, Rita had found her down the river.

However, Rita reveals that Char had been swapped for a changeling. A changeling, in European folklore, is a deformed or imbecilic offspring of fairies or elves substituted for a human infant. Wanting to bring Char back, Rita had brought Char to a fire, revealing the toddler first seen in the opening of the movie to be Char while the person putting her on fire was Rita.

The grandma reveals that the changelings are back for Char, and they have abducted Angela to take Char back. She tells Char that they need to save Angela from the Changelings.

An abducted Angela kills Rita 

The grandma takes Char to Angela’s room where she is tied and gagged in an attempt to weaken her. Char pushes Rita away and unties Angela. Although Angela still looks like Char’s mother, Char also sees Angela’s eyes stitched together with her teeth bloody through the mirror. Char opens the door and Angela takes Char to her room and locks the door. Char hears a fight from outside. Suddenly Rita appears from the shadows and insists Char burn Angela.

Char wakes up the next day to see Rita sitting down cold and pale with blood coming from her mouth. Angela calls an ambulance and spits out a bloody tooth. Just then, Suzanne comes to Char’s house and they both run away.

Char burns the changeling and rescues Angela

During Halloween night, a visibly distraught Angela limps off to find Char. Char tricks her and brings her to a bonfire that Suzanne promised to be lighted up.

However, Char’s schoolmates trap her inside the wood and attempt to burn it before Angela scares them away. The changeling reveals her true form to Char with no hair and stitched eyes and tells her to join her. Char embraces the changeling while Suzanne runs in and gives a lighter to Char. The changeling changes her form to Angela to stop her from lighting the fire, but Char burns the changeling saying you are not my mother. Suzanne rescues Char from the fire and they both watch the fire burn.

Char’s mother arrives the next day while everything thinks she has been burned. Char gives her mother a globe of twigs for protection, ending the film.

The film talks about the effects of mental health and depression through struggles of Angela. Speaking about the film with Substream Magazine, the director Kate Dolan said:

“The film is taken through a horror lens, but many of Angela’s behaviours in the movie are inspired by real-life, I suppose, bipolar manic-depressive behaviours. You can be extroverted in the middle of everybody holding everyone’s attention, but then you can have these down lows as well.”