Sharper (2023) Ending Explained – Who comes out on top at the end?

Sharper Plot Synopsis

Sharper is about a large con plot that Madeline and Max, two craft grifters, are trying to manifest on a billionaire. His name is Richard Hobbes. Madeline introduces herself as a single mother and Max as her son when in reality they are partners and lovers.

They work with another partner, Tipsy, but he does not have a significant stake. Madeline feigns falling in love with Richard and creating the illusion that Max’s habit of conning people, although clever, is a nuisance for her. They trick Hobbes into paying Max $250k and then supposedly hiring him to do these cons on other people. But the pair disappear after they get this money.

Madeline decided to play an even bigger con on Max, Richard, and the others. It turns out to be a success and Madeline becomes a billionaire after Richard dies of illness. However, all this while something else has been brewing in the minds of those conned that eventually proves to be an obstinate roadblock for Madeline. Her entire existence is threatened and she might even be exposed in front of everyone.

We dive in deep with AppleTV’s latest thriller, answering pivotal questions about the plot and the themes therein.

Why does Madeline betray Max and send the police after him?

When Madeline sits down in the aeroplane at the very end, she says “I am a professional”. And that is exactly why she decided to get Max out of the way after they conned Richard of a quarter of a million. Not that it makes any difference to the billionaire but the feeling of heartbreak and breach of trust took heavy brunt on him. Madeline did not betray Max per se, as she did give him a heads up on the police being after him.

But given their dealings and connection, it certainly was along similar lines. Madeline had initially decided to wrap up her stuff from Richard’s house and say that she had a sick aunt in Jersey.

But when she was about to do so, Richard confessed his love for her. In this emotion, Madeline saw an opportunity to live a life of luxury and comfort and not keep doing these cons all her life. This choice distinguishes Madeline from a thorough professional who does the job only for the sake of money, as opposed to Max, who enjoys it and sees it like art. Madeline chose to rat out Max and instead spend her married life with Richard in peace. She had found the golden nest that she was unwilling to give up on.

How does Sandy trick Madeline?

After Madeline broke off all connections with Max, she had no idea what went on with Sandy and him. She had found her new wealth to be infectious and could only focus on living a life of luxury. Sandy came to know about this lacuna in Madeline’s plot from Tipsy and that is how she concocted a plan.

Madeline had no idea that Sandy did not fall back into her heroin addiction and went straight to waiting tables like she used to do before Max picked her up on Christmas. Sandy played a bluff to psychologically torture Madeline into overthinking and contacting Max again to complete their secret plan of redemption.

It was perhaps a mix of fortune and help from Max’s casual attitude that Sandy was able to trick Madeline. Everything on the former’s part was a big charade to lead Madeline into believing that her fortune was at risk if she did not pursue the truth and bring it to Tom. The bereaved son also played his part and used Tipsy’s contact Goldie to take advantage of Madeline’s lack of knowledge about the Hobbes household.

Why does Sandy decide to help Tom and how does she learn the big con?

Sandy started waiting tables once again after Max disappeared in thin air. He took the money with him, even if he did not initially plan on doing so. One day, she noticed the paper and saw the news about Richard’s death.

In that same article, she saw Tom’s picture and the part of her who had fallen in love with him woke up from its slumber. Tom was a lonely, depressed man. He had to put in a lot of effort to get out of the sump he got into when his book launch failed. Tom wanted to become a writer but had lost his zeal and enthusiasm. Somewhere, she saw a part of him screaming for help and healing that once she too had. His helplessness was of a different kind but it was still human.

Sandy put two and two together when she saw the article and went back to Tom to help him. Her love was genuine and she had broken the eternal rule of grifting: never fall for the mark. That is why she was compelled to help Tom and concocted a plan with Tipsy to get him back that was rightfully his.

Who comes out on top at the end of the big con?

Tom and Sandy came out on top at the end of the big con. Their conning of Madeline was so typical and well planned that even Max could not help but let out a smile and be impressed. The third act of Sharper begins when Tom gets the call that Goldie and his men have apprehended Sandra. She was found in a motel and woefully addicted to heroin. Her withdrawal symptoms were quite heavy and Sandra’s acting was unbelievably good that Madeline did not suspect her for a minute. When Tom asked Madeline to let Sandra stay at the house, she was fearful that when Sandra regained her full health, she would reveal the truth about Madeline.

She decided to go and check what Sandra actually wanted. But to her disadvantage, Sandra did not want money. She wanted to see Max and admonish him for what he did. Madeline had no contact with Max ever since he absconded making it a difficult task for her. She did not even know where he was. After giving her many sleepless nights, Max finally responded to Madeleine’s text and a meeting was set. Madeline took Sandra with her to see Max at an airstrip. She confronted Max for leaving her in the lurches and punched him in the chest.

But after a while, Tom and Goldie came with the others to apprehend Madeline. It was not Sandra who had told them about her but Goldie who feigns his suspicion of Madeline. Tom grabs a gun and points it toward Sandra. He admonishes her for betraying him but eventually turns the gun toward Madeline for enabling all of this. She is able to get ahold of it and then Tom is shot.

Goldie declares him dead and his men phone the police. That is when something snaps inside Madeline and she is ready to give everything back in order to avoid prison.

She calls David, the lawyer in charge of handling her estate that Richard left behind, and asks him to transfer everything back to the Foundation. After doing this, Goldie gives her, Sandra, and Max tickets for Oklahoma. They were sitting in the aeroplane when Madeline reveals that since she is the trustee of the Foundation and Tom is dead, she will still have control of the money. Sandra is sickened by Madeline’s casual behaviour and having no regard for Tom’s death. She feigns going to the bathroom but when she does not return, Madeline learns that she has been conned.

We go back into the past where we see Sandra going to Tom after she read the news article. They go to Tipsy in the club where they all used to hang out and he involves Goldie and the others to create this elaborate plan. We see them practicing every move that was played in the final act, including Sandra trying to snatch the gun away from Tom and his shooting.

Tom is actually alive and he has got everything back that rightfully belonged to him. They pay off Tipsy and other others with a sizeable check. Sandra asks Tom on a date to the Japanese restaurant where they first met and he closes up shop to go with her, indicating that he has forgiven her and they do have a future together.


Read More: Sharper Movie Review

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2 thoughts on “Sharper (2023) Ending Explained – Who comes out on top at the end?”

  1. Ending is confusing. Tom is chairman of board of the foundation and Madeline is the trustee of the foundation.
    There were no real cops when Tom got shot or when Madeline, Max and Sandra were put on the plane. Even though they faked Tom’s death, Madeline still has power over the foundation.

  2. Madeline made the comment on the plane that she remained the Trustee of the Foundation. It was introduced earlier that one of the very few powers that the Trustee had in the Foundation is to fire Tom.

    They didn’t do anything with that comment and the movie has a happy ending. But after the movie ends, there’s one more con. Madeline will find out that Tom is alive and fire him as head of the foundation. Then she will take over the foundation and its billions of dollars.

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