Movies

False Positive

Hulu’s False Positive Ending Explained- Dangerous Men, Postpartum Psychosis, And Did Wendy Live?

False Positive is a creepy retcon of an all too familiar concept. Be careful of men bearing gifts and women without gag reflexes.

Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you in John Lee and Ilana Glazer’s vision that someone is, of course, toxic masculinity. Hulu’s latest horror film, False Positive, shines a light on the terror of pregnancy with mixed results. More campy and confusing than powerful, this feminist parable is almost a joke, and we are all in on it. However, the modern take on a Rosemary’s Baby is updated for a more modern sensibility where women can and should do whatever they want but still get held back by some who can’t let the old ways go.

Hysterical women and the men who pretend to care are a common trope. But, to be honest, they are more than a trope. Almost every woman has experienced some form of passive oppression. It could be as simple as belittling your intuition, micro-aggressions like always asking you to place lunch orders despite other more junior employees, or as big as stealing your ideas. Now add in pregnancy, which is scary, amazing, powerful, and terrifying, and you have a recipe that classics exploit with excellent results.

Pregnancy is pretty horrific stuff as it is. Your body literally takes on a life of its own. It becomes something other than yours, it becomes ours, and that is scary enough. Now add generous doses of labor fear, mommy anxiety, sciatica, and morning sickness, which for some women never goes away and definitely doesn’t just hit in the morning. It’s a shit show without adding in any supernatural elements.

A lot is going on in False Positive. Husbands, doctors, friends who are more like enemies, and bosses and colleagues who might want to be more enlightened but are just as sad and pathetic as all the rest. It’s hard to say who writers John Lee and Ilana Glazer, who also stars, are trying to point the blame lens at. There are work terrors, possible demonic possessions, female hysteria terrors, some of which are perpetrated by other women, white women searching for answers in the “mystical black women,” and an odd blowjob among colleagues. Maybe everyone is to blame? It’s a bizarre mismatch of ideas and stylish visions which come together in a thrumming drumbeat of paranoia and all-out insanity. The film is a gorgeous, stylized mess of feminist horror, hysterical riffs on gag reflexes, and misogyny.

Lucy(Glazer) is a young woman who seemingly has almost everything. She is intelligent, capable, has a growing marketing career, a devoted husband, and is beautiful to boot. The only thing she doesn’t have is a baby. She and her husband Adrian(Justin Theroux) have been trying for two years with nada. Enter Adrian’s former mentor OB-GYN Dr. Hindle who Pierce Brosnan plays with enough camp and cheese for a lifetime. After a quick exam and one single treatment, the happy couple is delighted to find out they are pregnant with three babies. Dr. HIndle suggests that she reduce one of the babies, the girl, who Lucy has already named Wendy, so that the twin boys will be healthy. Instead, she and Adrian decide to reduce the twins. Unfortunately for Lucy, Dr. Hindle and Adrian aren’t concerned with ethics and ignore her wishes.

The ending is a bizarre, surreal ride that is as questionable as it is gratifying. False Positive wades dangerously through tricky waters when Lucy envisioned sacrificing her innocent babies to the gods of delusion towards the end. But, unfortunately, Postpartum Depression and Psychosis are real things, and the light tone taken in False Positive trivilze the actual horror that exists. Unlike Swallow, which highlights the vulnerability of womanhood and pregnancy without making a joke of mental illness, False Positive winks and nods its way through some harrowing spaces.

False Positive
False Positive — After months of trying and failing to get pregnant, Lucy (Ilana Glazer) and Adrian (Justin Theroux) finally find their dream fertility doctor in the illustrious Dr. Hindle (Pierce Brosnan). But after becoming pregnant with a healthy baby girl, Lucy begins to notice something sinister through Hindle’s gleaming charm, and she sets out to uncover the unsettling truth about him, and her own birth story. As if getting pregnant weren’t complicated enough… Grace (Zainab Jah), shown. (Photo by: Emily Aragones/Hulu)

The ending of False Positive

At the end of False Positive, Lucy snaps. She has had it with being tricked, drugged, lied to, and manipulated by everyone in her life. Her boss is a tool who used her ideas to land a big account and then sidelined her for continuity and her “own good.” Her friend took Lucy’s evidence and gave it to her husband and Dr. Hindle. Her trusted midwife even changed her clothing and office and tried to gaslight Lucy into believing it was all in her head. Finally, after giving birth to twin boys instead of her expected daughter Wendy and suffering a major complication as a result, she was done. She goes to Dr. Hindle’s office to confront him and instead finds more platitudes and even more lies. Her husband has joined his practice without telling her.

In a pretty satisfying and telegraphed version of SNAPPED! Dr. Hindle reveals that the twin boys were from his sperm while her daughter was sacrificed for their growth without her consent and against her wishes. He tries to drug her, and she beats him with a mirror, ties him to an exam table, and then proceeds to fight with Dr. Hindle’s icy head nurse, played smoothly by Gretchen Moll. The ensuing hilarious battle with Nurse Dawn and her lack of gag reflex leave Dr. Hindle and his nurse subdued, angry, and drugged. Lucy grabs a bloody bag containing her deceased infant daughter and casually walks through the waiting room, letting the anxious parents know they will need to find a new doctor.

What happened to Wendy and her twin boys?

Once home, she looks at her twin boys and seems to release them out of the window because, in her agitated state, she dreams of the book her mother read her as a child. Peter Pan can fly, and in her mind, the babies would magically fly away to Neverland. Luckily this was all in her head, and she didn’t kill the innocent infants. When Adrian arrives home, she gives him both babies and tells him they are his problem now. She lastly takes her tiny daughter to the roof and attempts to breastfeed a dead baby.

In the final shot, Wendy opens her eyes and begins to feed from her mother. This, of course, is another delusion like her sons flying away. Her sons crushed her daughter in the womb. She was dead long before their birth and was placed in an airtight bag. There is no way to infant lived, but Glazer and Lee, seem to be saying that you can push women down, but we persevere.

In the end, Lucy asks her husband to do exactly what many women are told to do without ever asking if that is what they want to do. Figure it out, give up your life, and raise your children. Although the twist ending leaves room that Lucy will get her happy ending after all, unless Tinkerbell arrives to spread some fairy dust, she will be arrested. Then again, maybe Lucy is Tinkerbell, and she has made her own magic. False Positive is out on Hulu today.