Elemental (2023) Ending Explained – How do tears and tempers bring things full circle?

Elemental Plot Summary

Elemental is the new animated feature film from Disney Pixar that follows Ember, a fiery character who is just that: fire. Element City is the location in the world of this animated feature, and elements make up the city, coming in the form of fire, water, and earth people.

Ember is on the verge of taking over her aging parents’ shop as they are about to retire. As she is given the reins one day to have complete control over the store, her temper starts to flare due to being overwhelmed by the busy day at work. On top of all that, the old pipes in the building burst, thus releasing Wade, a character in the form of water, out into the basement of the shop.

Wade is a sensitive city inspector, always tearing up about something, who was accidentally sucked into the city’s underground water system, and that is how he landed in the presence of Ember. 

How does Wade and Ember come to work together?

Upon Wade’s arrival in the film, he takes notice of the hazards of Ember’s father’s shop and has to do what is right and shut it down. Yet Wade wants to help Ember even though he also has to do his job. The two have a week to solve the issue of where this influx of water is coming from in the city. So rather than staying as enemies, they turn friendly with one another, thus creating a will they or won’t they romantic comedy.

As the film goes on, Wade and Ember share sweet moments that go from strictly platonic to heartfelt. The two discover that water from around the city is spilling into canals in some of the more low-income neighborhoods and creating an overflow, hence why the water pressure reached its peak and exploded at the store.

What happens between the families?

But there are underlying themes in Elemental that cause conflict over the idea of whether these two will end up together. Ember comes from immigrant parents who worked for everything they have. Wade comes from a likable but wealthy upper-class family.

Wade’s family seem accepting of Ember, but Ember’s parents aren’t as receptive to Wade due to the understanding that fire and water don’t mix, and Wade did try to close their shop. There are also little plot and character points that come full circle in the looming third act. Ember is good at using her firepower to create things like glass, vases, and barriers in the canal; the blue eternal flame her parents keep at the shop; the disrespect Ember’s father got when they left their homeland; And Wade’s uncontrollable outbursts of crying.

How does Ember’s mood set up the climax to the movie?

The big underlying plot point in the movie is that Ember is supposed to take over for her parents one day at the store, and that day is soon coming. However, Wade sees other great things in Ember. He thinks that she is more than that.

There is a moment midway through the movie where Ember talks about her temper, which causes fiery destruction to things in her path. She mentions that her temper may be her subconscious telling her she’s making the wrong decision. This also comes into play in the film’s third act.

Ember rejects Wade’s advances despite the fact that they do make a deep connection and show that despite their differences, they could make things work between them. Ember is given a ceremony in front of many people as her father passes the reins of their store over to her but Wade disrupts this by confessing his love for her. As Ember rejects him, she does so with more anger directed at Wade than before.

 How do tears and tempers bring things full circle?

The climactic incident happens not long after this. The barrier that’s put up in Elemental City’s canals broke, and water spilled back into the neighborhood, thus putting the store in danger yet again. Wade rushes to Ember’s aid as she tries to salvage all the special things in the store. One thing is the ever-burning blue flame.

The two find themselves trapped in a room surrounded by heat, so Wade decides to evaporate himself so that the blue flame won’t go out. In the scene that follows, we see Ember absolutely grief-stricken and upset by the death of her lover. However, the sight of her sadness and loss causes tears on the ceiling. Ember soon realizes that Wade has big bursts of crying throughout the film.

Ember atters all these moving sentences that create more and more tears to drip from the ceiling, and eventually Wade takes shape again and is brought back to life.

How does Elemental end?

In the film’s final moments, we see Ember and Wade leaving on a ship, as Ember decides to pursue a career in making vases and welding things together. This is actually foreshadowed through the film too, and something we’ve seen signs of throughout. She leaves behind her family, but takes a moment to turn around and give respect to them before she does. And that’s something her parents didn’t get before they left behind all that they had known.


Read More: Elemental Movie Review

Feel free to check out more of our movie reviews here!

Leave a comment