Lou Plot Synopsis
Lou, a retired woman living on an isolated island, helps her neighbour Hannah look for her daughter after she is abducted. As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Lou has a secretive past and that she has connections to the man who took the girl.
During the movie’s climax, Lou is seemingly killed. But is she dead? Or is she still alive at the end of the movie? Let’s take a closer look…
Who is Lou?
On the surface, Lou is a crotchety old woman living in a woodland cabin on Orcas Island who only has her dog, Jax, for company. After withdrawing all of her money from her bank account and digging up some papers that she later burns, she leaves a letter addressed to her neighbour Hannah and then calmly sits down with a rifle to her chin.
Just before Lou kills herself, she is visited by Hannah.
We previously learned that Hannah had a daughter called Vee and that her abusive husband Phillip was presumed dead. However, Phillip isn’t dead as he turns up on the island, kills Hannah’s boyfriend, and abducts Vee.
The panic-stricken Hannah calls at Lou’s cabin and asks her for help, presumably because she knows Lou has hunting skills.
After being distracted from her suicide attempt, Lou agrees to help and so the search begins for Vee. As the story goes on, we learn why Lou is so good at hunting and we discover her secretive past.
What is Lou’s real identity?
Before moving to the island, Lou had been a CIA agent.
Not only does this account for her tracking skills but it’s the reason why she is so agile in combat too. We realise this when Lou and Hannah discover a cabin that contains two men who work for Phillip.
Lou arrives at the cabin and pretends to be a frail old woman looking for help. When they start to realise she isn’t quite as fragile as she appears to be, Lou ably takes them both down and extracts information from one of them about Phillip.
Being a former CIA agent isn’t Lou’s only secret. In another twist, we discover Lou’s connection to Hannah’s toxic husband.
What is Lou’s connection to Phillip?
During her CIA years, Lou went undercover in Iran to get close to a high-profile target. During her mission, she had a son to the target and kept the boy to maintain her cover. The identity of this boy? Phillip!
As her mission in Iran progressed, Phillip was taken from her by the people she was investigating. They did this because they suspected Lou was a spy. To keep her cover, Lou didn’t reach out to save Phillip but the CIA intervened and rescued him themselves.
As an adult, Phillip joined the US Army Special Forces before marrying Hannah and having a child with her.
Lou kept track of Phillip’s whereabouts and in the process, discovered that not only did he become a war criminal but that he was also an abusive husband to Hannah.
Lou somehow orchestrated Hannah’s move to the Orcas Islands so she could move away from Phillip. Lou then moved near Hannah so she could keep a protective eye over her and Vee.
Several years later, Phillip ‘died’ after his apartment blew up. He was presumably murdered by the authorities as a result of the war crimes he had committed.
After hearing about her son’s death, Lou assumed Hannah was now safe. It’s because of this that Lou thought her days of protecting Hannah were now over and believing that her job was done, Lou decided to kill herself.
But when Hannah told her Phillip had returned, Lou realised that her mission was far from over.
Does Lou rescue Vee?
Phillip takes Vee to a lighthouse and rigs it with explosives. We can assume that he did this because he knew Hannah and his mother would come looking for him and that his end game was to kill them all.
They aren’t the only ones looking for Phillip, however. The CIA are also on his trail and not only his but Lou’s too as the documents she burned earlier in the movie contained top secret information about the CIA’s involvement in the events that took place in Iran.
Lou and Hannah arrive at the lighthouse and after a confrontation with them, Phillip tries to trigger the explosives. His plan is foiled, however, as Lou manages to defuse the bomb.
Hannah and Vee escape into the forest to safety while Lou takes on Phillip to stop him from pursuing them. Mother and son fight it out in the ocean as the CIA arrive overhead in a helicopter. The fight between Phillip and Lou slows down and after he breaks down in tears, Lou apologizes to him for not being a better mother.
Their tearful reunion ends when the CIA opens fire on them both and presumably kills them.
Is Lou really dead?
We see her body fall into the sea so it can be assumed that she has been killed.
Later, Hannah finds the letter from Lou and discovers that she has inherited Lou’s house and money. When government officials arrive to speak to her about Lou, Hannah tells them she knows nothing about Lou’s whereabouts or her past. This is a lie as Hannah discovered Lou’s identity earlier but we can assume that she wanted to ensure the safety of herself and Vee.
We then see Hannah and Vee on a ferry heading to a new life in Seattle. The camera then pulls back onto a woman spying on them both with a set of binoculars. Who is this woman? It’s clear from the bracelet on her wrist that it’s Lou watching over her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. As such, she isn’t dead after all!
What is the significance of this final scene?
Why is Lou watching over Hannah and Vee? Is it because Phillip is also still alive or is she worried that the CIA thinks Hannah has the incriminating documents about Iran?
We don’t know. Phillip is likely dead so it might be Lou is watching over them both in case the CIA ever tries to take them. Or it might just be that Lou wants to stay close to Hannah and Vee in case they get into trouble of a different kind.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!
Read More: Lou Movie Review