Prisoner’s Daughter (2023) Ending Explained: What is the reason behind Max’s actions?

Prisoner’s Daughter Plot Summary

Catherine Hardwicke’s latest movie stars Brian Cox as Max, a former mob enforcer who is given an early reprieve from his prison sentence when he is diagnosed with cancer and given only a few months left to live.

His only family is his daughter Maxine (Kate Beckinsale) and her young son Ezra (Christian Convery) but she doesn’t want anything to do with her dad and the boy has been led to believe his grandfather is dead. But despite Maxine’s reluctance to let her father back into her life, she does so, mainly because she is struggling financially and needs his help to pay her mortgage.

As the movie progresses, Maxine begins to value her father and Ezra starts to appreciate his grandfather too. But during one of the final scenes of this formulaic drama, Max pays a visit to Ezra’s drug-addict father Tyler. It’s at this point that Max confronts the man and does something that, on the surface, seems quite shocking.

So, why does Max confront Tyler? And what do his actions mean? Let’s take a closer look at the movie.

Does Max experience a happy family reunion?

Max has spent the last few years of his life in prison for a violent crime that took the life of another. Despite his crime, the kindly prison warden, after hearing about Max’s health diagnosis, decides to release him, but under one condition: that he wears a tag and doesn’t stray far from Maxine’s home.

At first, Maxine is reluctant to let her absentee father back into her life.  She has other people to worry about, one of them being Ezra, her epileptic son, and the other being Tyler, Ezra’s downbeat father who is far from being the perfect role model for the boy.

But as Maxine is struggling financially, she decides to let Max into her house so long as he helps pay the mortgage. She is initially hostile towards him but gradually accepts his presence in her life again. Less hostile is Ezra, who gets along with Max, although he isn’t aware the man is actually his grandfather until later in the movie.

How does Max help his family?

Recognizing Maxine’s financial needs, Max calls in a few favours from his former associates and uses the money they give him to pay off her mortgage. He also secures her a job that is much better paid than the two jobs she is already holding down. This job also comes with health insurance which will cover the costs of Ezra’s medication.

Max helps his grandson too. The boy is being bullied at school so Max calls on the assistance of his old friend Hank (Ernie Hudson) who is the owner of a boxing gym. Hank teaches Ezra how to fight, which pays off later in the movie when the teen gives his bullies what is coming to them.

Thanks to Max’s presence in their lives, things get easier for Maxine and Ezra. However, they still have one problem to deal with and that is Tyler, who wants to see more of his son. Maxine is against this because she knows he is a bad influence but she also knows that Ezra is desperate to spend more time with his dad.

Does Ezra see his father?

Ezra wants his father to come to his birthday party so, despite her reservations, Maxine invites Tyler but asks him to stay off drugs for the day.

Unfortunately, Tyler turns up at the party inebriated and creates a scene in front of Ezra and his other guests. Max steps in and beats Tyler up and tells him to stay away from his daughter and grandson.

Tyler doesn’t listen to Max’s warning. Later in the movie, he turns up at the house when Max is at the doctor’s and assaults Maxine. He also takes Ezra from his mother and back to the place where he is living.

When Max arrives home, he finds Maxine in her beaten-up state and promises to set things right for her. Together they head to Tyler’s garage and Max tells Maxine to drive away when Ezra is in the car. It’s clear by the way Max is speaking that he is about to do something that will change all of their lives.

What does Max do?

Max heads into the garage and upon seeing Ezra, tells him to leave. When the boy is out of harm’s way, Max takes a bat and attacks Tyler. After getting in a few hits with the bat, he hands this makeshift weapon over to Tyler. This might seem like an unusual thing to do, especially considering what happens next.

Tyler takes the bat and beats Max to death with it. He thinks he is triumphant but he has made a grave mistake. Before he died, Max released his tag which alerted the police to his whereabouts.

Not long after, the police arrive at the garage and arrest Tyler for murder. Later, we see him in prison being watched by Max’s friends who are waiting to exact revenge on the man behind their pal’s murder.

Why did Max let himself die?

Max only had a few months left to live because of his cancer so he knew his life was almost over. He wanted to provide for his family before he died, which is what he did when he financially supported his daughter and protected his grandson from his bullies.

Max knew that the only person standing in the way of his family’s happiness was Tyler, so to ensure they could live a peaceful life, he let Tyler kill him, knowing that the police would arrive at the scene to discover the crime.

With Tyler out of the way, Maxine and Ezra gained the opportunity to live a life without the fear of what he might to do them. And it can be assumed that their lives were forever free of the creep because Max’s incarcerated buddies likely disposed of him while he was in prison.

It’s a shame that Max couldn’t spend more time with his family, for their sake as well as for his own. But as he didn’t have long left on this earth, they were about to be separated anyway. As such, his final actions were understandable as by dying, he gave his family a chance at a better life.


Read More: Prisoner’s Daughter Movie Review

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