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The Wonder ending explained

The Wonder's been widely praised as one of Florence Pugh's best movies but in case her performance distracted you we've written a guide explaining the ending

The Wonder ending explained

How does Florence Pugh’s new drama movie The Wonder end? Based on the novel of the same name, The Wonder is a Netflix movie set in 1862 and follows Elizabeth “Lib” Wright (Pugh), a nurse who’s just returned from the Crimean War. Looking for work, Lib’s employed by a small village council to keep watch over Anna O’Donnell (Kíla Lord Cassidy ), a young girl who’s supposedly not eaten for several months.

The locals believe Anna’s seemingly endless fast is proof of a divine miracle, while the local doctor hopes the phenomenon will make him a big name in the scientific community. As Lib watches over Anna, she finds no evidence that the little girl is surreptitiously eating food. When the nurse asks her about the “miracle”, Anna responds that she survives by consuming “manna from Heaven.”

Still, Lib is a logical woman and spurred on by William Byrne (Tom Burke) — a reporter for the Daily Telegraph — she continues her watch, sure that there’s a non-supernatural reason why Anna has managed to survive so long without food. Warning, we’re going to get into spoilers now, so if you don’t want to know how The Wonder ends, then stop reading now.

The Wonder ending explained

As time passes, Lib notices that Anna’s family have a strange morning and evening ritual where her mother kisses Anna on the mouth while cupping her face. Lib comes to believe that Anna’s mother, Rosaleen, is feeding her daughter during this kiss by passing chewed food between their mouths.

In an effort to expose the hoax, Lib bans the family from touching Anna, and over time the little girl starts to weaken. Still, the family will not give up, and Anna continues her fast. Concerned that Anna will die, Lib tries to force-feed her patient but quickly gives up when Anna explains the reason for her fast.

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Anna reveals that as a child, she was sexually abused by her elder brother, who then died. Rosaleen blames Anna for his death, and Anna begins her fast in an attempt to free her brother’s soul from Hell. Shocked at the revelations, Lib informs the council, but they dismiss her findings.

Left with no other option Lib, who’s now become intimate with William, devises a plan to save Anna from her family. While the O’Donnell family are at Sunday mass, she slips into the house and tries to convince Anna that she’s going to die but that she will be reborn as a new little girl called Nan.

The Wonder ending explained

Taking Anna out of the house, she appears to pass away, but Lib manages to revive her. Now reborn as Nan, Anna finally eats. Lib then burns down the O’Donnell family home to cover up Anan’s abduction.

Lib then lies to the local council and the O’Donnells, telling them that Anna died of natural causes and that the house fire was a result of her knocking over a gas lamp. With her watch over, Lib meets with William and Anna, and they pose as a family boarding a ship to Sydney.

If you enjoyed The Wonder, check out our feature on the true story that inspired it, or if you’re looking for more great movies, we have a list of the best adventure movies, the best action movies, and even a list of, well, the best movies for you to enjoy.