‘Triangle of Sadness’ ending explained: Does Abigail kill Yaya?
(Credit: Netflix)


‘Triangle of Sadness’ ending explained: Does Abigail kill Yaya?

Ruben Östlund’s incisive commentary on societal norms and human behaviour makes his films a delight to watch and explore. His stories often serve as mirrors reflecting the absurdity and contradictions of contemporary life. With Triangle of Sadness, Östlund ventured into English-language territory for the first time and ended up delivering a biting satire that dissects the world of celebrity, privilege, and power dynamics. And now, Triangle of Sadness is available to stream on Netflix UK.

Set against the backdrop of a luxury cruise gone awry, Triangle of Sadness takes audiences on a darkly humorous journey into the lives of a celebrity couple, Carl and Yaya, portrayed by Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean, respectively. In the first part of the three-part act, Östlund’s lens exposes the cracks in their relationship and the facade of glamour that surrounds them before shipping them out to sea and then stranding them on an island.

The film’s ensemble cast, including the likes of Woody Harrelson, Iris Berben, and Zlatko Burić, brings to life a colourful array of characters whose interactions serve as fodder for Östlund’s scathing commentary. From the absurd demands of the wealthy guests to the power struggles among the crew, every aspect of the social hierarchy is laid bare, inviting viewers to both laugh and cringe at the spectacle unfolding on screen.

What sets Triangle of Sadness apart is its ability to punch up rather than down, using humour as a tool to dissect complex issues such as class inequality, racial dynamics, and gender roles. Through absurd situations and razor-sharp dialogue, Östlund invites audiences to confront uncomfortable truths about privilege and entitlement, all while keeping them thoroughly entertained.

After making waves at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, where it received the prestigious Palme d’Or, Triangle of Sadness is now available to stream on Netflix, allowing audiences worldwide to experience Östlund’s brand of satire from the comfort of their homes. So, if you are done bingeing it and want to understand what exactly happened at the end, read on!

What happens at the end of the Triangle of Sadness?

The film’s ending is a masterclass in ambiguity, offering glimpses into the fates of its protagonists while leaving much to interpretation. Does Abigail kill Yaya? Does Carl reach them on time?

In the final act, the power dynamics on the deserted island shift dramatically, with former housekeeper Abigail, portrayed with spirited resolve by Dolly de Leon, seizing control and asserting her dominance over the other survivors. Through her survival skills and understanding of her sudden rise in social capital, Abigail establishes herself as the de facto leader of the group of shipwreck survivors. She wields her newfound authority with ruthless efficiency and slowly gains the support of others.

Meanwhile, Carl, played with frantic intensity by Harris Dickinson, finds himself torn between loyalty to his partner Yaya and the allure of Abigail’s offer of security and sustenance. As tensions escalate and allegiances are tested, the stage is set for a showdown. The dynamics threaten to shift back the moment the characters come to realise that they are not really cut off from the rest of the world but on an island that also happens to have a luxury resort on the other side.

In the closing moments, Carl frantically dashes through the jungle to get to Abigail and Yaya. Is he running to simply inform that they are saved, or does he know Abigail may attack Yaya once they find out the truth? Triangle of Sadness leaves the ending open to speculation. As Östlund put it himself to The Wrap, “It is the possibility of her [Abigail] doing it – and how we can all relate to that – which is what I’m interested in.” He added that he has not decided how things end, “In fact, I’m not so interested in the answer in my own mind.”

However, Östlund added that he did like a fan interpretation of Carl’s final dash through the jungle. “An audience member told me, ‘No, Carl is running so hard to get his male identity back. He’s struggling with the gender expectations, and the last shot is a metaphor for his lost male identity, which has been totally lost.’ And I love that interpretation too.” 

In the same interview, Östlund suggested that Carl may have already encountered the beach vendor, which led to his concern about Yaya’s safety upon Abigail’s discovery of the resort. Hence, Carl was running so frantically.

You can watch Triangle of Sadness on Netflix and catch the trailer here: