MOVIES

The Ending Of The Village Explained

In a way, the very fact that the village is such a befuddling, unsustainable creation speaks to the desperation that drove its founding. The elders know that they’ve created something that can’t last, but they still cling to it, because they’d rather do that than face the world they’ve been futilely trying to deny and keep out.

That, incidentally, is just how reactionary thinking works in real life. As a social, cultural, and political stance, the reactionary worldview is always born of a refusal to engage with reality as it is, adapt to it, and accept it. An idealized past is a tantalizing substitute for engagement with a world full of confusion and fear. As an American History teacher, Edward knows that the idyllic rural life he’s worked so hard to recreate never really existed in the way that the elders fashion it. First, because, as demonstrated by Noah’s crime of passion, humans are always prone to hatred and violence no matter how bucolic their surroundings; second, because even a “peaceful” rural life for American settlers was inevitably founded on oppression, aggression, genocide of natives, patriarchal tyranny, religious fanaticism, and countless other ills.

But even knowing all that, Edward still sells everybody on the ideal, because what matters is the aesthetic of innocence and purity. It’s all superficial — it has to be. Surfaces can’t hurt or betray the way that real life does. And even if they do, you can always blame the forest creatures.

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