Spoilers, and hankies, a go-go. (My four-star review is here.)
When I said in my review that there’s a “happy” ending, I meant as happy as it can be, which means the audience too achieving some acceptance of the inevitability of John’s death. But it is happy, because John can now die safe in the knowledge that he’s made the right choice. (You will almost certainly have guessed who it is, though the time it takes John to reach the same conclusion doesn’t actually seem like a manipulative ploy, as his mind is such a maelstrom. It’s certainly a relief though.)
At the end of the film we see Michael and John take a bus to a block of flats. They knock on the door and it’s opened by the smiling single woman — the implication being that John has chosen her to adopt Michael. When they first met her, John discounted her, as she was single and he originally wanted a two-parent family for his son. She understood the pain of giving a child away though, having been forced to give up her own baby for adoption years before.
At that first meeting she had instinctively got down on her knees to help Michael play with the toys she’d got out for him.
Before this there are some revelations. John suggests to his social workers they should try to find Michael’s mother, who has returned to Russia, but is dissuaded. John also sells his window cleaning round and his car, giving the buyer a little book filled with details about his customers.
We discover that John’s own father had brought John up on his own until John was four. A lorry driver, he had a cot in the back of his cab, but eventually he had to put John into foster care.
John reads a children’s book about death to Michael. They also talk about a beetle they find that has died. John writes cards for Michael’s future birthdays and events, and includes in the memory box a photo of Michael with his mother before she left.
I know, that all sounds very matter-of-fact after such a sad film but I have had all emotion drained out of me.
Nowhere Special is out in UK cinemas. Read my four-star review here.