Lou (2022) Ending Explained – Is Lou alive at the end of the movie?

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

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44 thoughts on “Lou (2022) Ending Explained – Is Lou alive at the end of the movie?”

  1. I totally enjoyed this movie,hope to see Lou 2. I thought the ending left us believing that Lou was still alive and looking through the binoculars.
    Thank you

  2. Great movie and Lou is alive and wants to be part of her granddaughter’ s lif. I think there should be a part 2 with that ending.

  3. Hey there, thanks for commenting! I’m very sorry to hear that. We unfortunately do not have control over the google algorithm and what position our site shows up for what words. However, these ending explained articles are generally designed for thise who have seen the movie and are full of spoilers throughout. As a quick heads up though, our movie reviews are all spoiler-free and there’s usually disclaimers at the top if that’s not the case.

    Again, I can only profusely apologize that you had the movie spoiled for you before watching.

    Thanks again for commenting!

    -Greg W

  4. Thanks for spoiling the movie. All I did was Google Lou and this came up, meaning she probably died in the movie.

  5. Lou was wearing a bullet proof vest at the end. So, I think she intentionally had the CIA kill Phillip and stayed under water until they left so they would assume she died too.

  6. I believe the sheriff knows Lou is living he tells Hanna what a wonderful job she did with Lou’s memorial services. It confirms my suspicions that Lou body was never viewed for a funeral. Additionally why else would secret service shows up over Hanna’s place, seeking to find Lou or any information. Meanwhile another twist is the sheriff gives Hanna Lou’s death certificate. If a body can’t be found then no confirmation of death certificate can be issued without sufficient evidence of a body. There’s so many missing variables for clues which still can leave one to speculate and guess. Overall it was a awesome movie!💝

  7. Allison Janney is good in everything she does. This was a tough role. She is believable. I learned while watching the new documentary about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, The Last Movie Stars, that Allison Janney was one of the group of young actors who were protégés of Joanne. Joanne is one of our greatest actors so I think Allison had a great mentor. She is of the same caliber.

  8. The dog was told to go home when he couldnt cross the shaky bridge but then the dog shows up at Eagle Point. How?

  9. My heart ached as I watched an angry son ask his mother why she abandoned him. On the other hand the pain on the mother’s face as she remembers her young son and knows she had put her CIA affairs as priority over being a mother. Then no matter what both feeling this is my mother, and this is my son culminating in both embracing each other.

  10. Nice Movie….
    Shot mostly in the night. Should have been shot during day time for more clarity.
    Lou is alive and kicking….
    Clue 1…In the cave, Sherrif has given Lou his “Copper Band”. But in his last scene he has 2 “Copper bands” on his wrist and tells Vee that the 2nd “Copper band” is for a friend.
    Clue 2….On the Ferry, Jax who was sitting quietly suddenly lifts his head and looks at a point.
    Clue 3….Lady on the Ferry watching Vee and Hannah have a Copper Band on her wrist.

  11. It was a good movie,but so BLOODY DARK,you couldnt see a thing.
    If there is a sequel, make sure it’s filmed in the day time, Please ,!!!

  12. A very suspenseful movies. The very bad man was Lou husband and Philip ‘s father which explains why she stayed so long. I really liked Lou and glad she survived.

  13. Quite a few inaccuracies in your plot summary here. Mostly mis-ordering facts or speculating about motives but one HUGE misstatement was that Lou brought her baby boy along to Iran to keep her cover. What she ACTUALLY says is that she had to get very close to a very dangerous man and, “…kept the baby,” in order to keep her cover. The very bad man was Phillip’s father. Not some random preexisting man in her life. Calls into question everything else in this analysis.

  14. Really? Is it really that difficult to understand? No. It’s not. In fact, it’s obvious to anyone who has ever been a parent or grandparent. Lou is human and craves connection. She wants to be close to her family. It is about protecting them. Not just from the CIA. But, against all things that threaten a family. It’s really that simple.

  15. Lou was an excellent movie that could have been in theaters! Fresh new plot which is different than I’ve seen. Award winner Janney is the reason I watched and was not disappointed!

  16. Enjoyed every minute , why cut the cabin scene ? Showcased Lou’s background perfectly. Wasnt too long ! Dont think there will be a sequel , the ending showed that Lou outsmarted the CIA with her son Phillip collateral damage

  17. The scar on the webbing of the hand of the person holding the binoculars, the frail and elderly looking hand combined with the bracelet all point towards Lou still being alive. The CIA agent said she would be in touch, I think Lou is looking out for them in case the CIA come after them looking for the microfiche from the beginning of the film… It’s obvious that Hannah would have found it while packing up the house. Fingers crossed for a sequel!!

  18. Hey Rajeev, these toxic relationships happen in Bangladesh, every country , every culture, every economic status.

  19. In our culture ( Bangladesh) we the people can’t even think about it that a son can beat a mother and a mother can do like Lou has done to Philip. It’s a great sin. May Allah protect us from this.

    in so called developed country where relationship is less important than worldly things!!!

  20. Phillip is actually the son of the man in Iran that Lou had to get close to. At the end, the Sheriff shows up and has two copper bracelets in his arm telling Vee “one is for a friend” – then we see presumably Lou on the ferry with the copper bracelet on her arm (the first one she took off and bent) so can we assume the Sheriff knows Lou is still alive too?

  21. I am hoping everyone in Lou’s inner circle is in on her survival, including the sheriff. All part of the plan. Even the funeral, as probably Lou’s body was never found? Washed out to sea? And what about those documents? Possible sequel!

  22. Really enjoyed movie. Unexpected event made it a mystery. Intriguing ending and see a possible sequel.

  23. Maybe Lou wants to watch over them because she has grown to care for them…perhaps they give her a will to live, something she was lacking. She must be in hiding from the CIA. The bitter, violent relationship between Lou and Phillip was really difficult to watch. Painful. Great movie. I loved it.

  24. Really enjoyed this movie . . . the acting was good, lot’s of suspense and a twist and turn at every corner. Would like to see a follow up cause Loui is alive and watching.

  25. Phillip’s two friends and the cabin scene can be removed as it add no value. Lou is a cold blooded person that holds her own son to be shot by CIA. May be the movie shall end with Lou died with Phillip in her arms.

  26. “It’s clear from the bracelet on her wrist and the arthritis-ridden fingers”

    Must be watching the 8K version if you can make any of this out lol.

  27. No need for a shorter movie since it was a great one. Love the acting, story and ending.
    Now that Lou is supposed to be dead….how will she make money to live on?

  28. I think Lou used Phillip as a shield to protect herself from the CIA’s bullets and her apology was for doing this and not for being a bad mother. She escaped and maybe plans to meet up with them in Seattle. Could be a set up for a sequel.

  29. Would have been a good movie if it was a half hour shorter. Too much time

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