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Let Them All Talk, Synopsis And Ending, Explained

In his 30-year career as a filmmaker,  Steven Soderbergh has made some brilliant pieces, and ‘Let Them All Talk’ is just another result of his creative mind. The film released on HBO Max on December 10, 2020, with an ensemble cast featuring Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest, and Candice Bergen. The trio play the role of friends who have lost touch with each other after a trip to San Francisco.

The film, which was predominantly shot aboard the magnificent ship, Queen Mary 2, also features Lucas Hedges and Gemma Chan. It narrates tales of friendship, love, and newly explored meanings of life through a light-hearted yet intriguing plot-line. The film concludes in a way that seems to bring about in a circle the various sub-plots tackled in the 1 hour 53 minutes of its duration. We tried to go deeper and comprehend the ending. Here’s what we found. SPOILERS AHEAD.


Let Them All Talk Plot Synopsis

‘Let Them All Talk’ is basically a movie about a short journey of self-discovery through attempts at reconciliation with old friends. The story begins with Alice Hughes (Meryl Streep), who seems to be experiencing writer’s block. She is a well-known writer popularly known for her Pulitzer prize-winning book. During a meeting with her newly-assigned editor Karen (Gemma Chan), she discloses her resentment towards her most notable work.

Let Them All Talk is a Steven Soderbergh directorial. Image: movieweb.com

Moreover, she states that she is rather partial towards another of her works, which is more personal for her and is hence a “much better book”. On being asked about her new endeavors, Alice shows her interest in the Footling Award for which she has received an invitation. However, she is prohibited from flying, a restriction that has promptly put a stop to her dream of receiving the award in person. Karen advices that she could go for a “crossing” via the Queen Mary 2 in exchange for a motivational talk aboard the beautiful ship.

Alice avails this offer, and she invites her two friends Susan (Dianne Wiest) and Roberta (Candice Bergen), along with her nephew Tyler (Lucas Hedges). Keeping Alice unaware, Karen also joins the party of four in a desire to extract facts about her writing processes. The journey from New York to Southampton seems filled with disclosures about the relationships these people share over talks between two characters at a time, showing the priorities of each of these characters; thus, making the film more interesting.

Let Them All Talk Ending

The ending sets with the demise of Alice Hughes while she makes one last attempt at terminating her writer’s block. The next morning when Tyler visits her, he is told that Alice died in her sleep. The man, who informs Tyler, is Alice’s physician Dr. Mitchell whom you must have seen on the cruise from time to time, either joining Alice on her swim or exiting from her room early in the morning. The latter incidents were mostly Tyler’s observations based on which he had perceived that his aunt was having an affair.

Let Them All Talk, a film that narrates tales of love, life and friendships. Image: cinemalogue.com

Dr. Mitchell then tells Tyler, Susan, and Roberta that he had requested he come with Alice on the ship. He opens up to them that Alice had been suffering from a serious physical illness called Deep Vein Thrombosis, which might have reached her lungs, heart, or brain. He says that Alice was adamant on traveling to England for the prize and to visit the grave of one of her favorite authors, Blodwyn Pugh.

The three remaining members of the original traveling group then decide what they want to do now. Roberta advices them to look for plane tickets to fly them out as soon as possible, and Susan agrees. Tyler, however, suggests that they visit Blodwyn Pugh’s grave in order to fulfill his aunt’s final wish. Besides picking up the Footling prize, which clearly was special for Alice, we also realize that she was looking for a chance to reconcile with her oldest friends with whom she might have spent the most beautiful moments of her life. The three friends lost contact after a somewhat disturbing trip to San Francisco.

Roberta And Her Priorities For Luxury

Roberta’s story starts with her selling lingerie to women and her evident judgement towards life, which she mostly blames on Alice. Her life struggles seem to have started from the time when her rich husband left her with nothing to her name. Her basic aim is to gain easy money to make her life more comfortable. More than an apology from her dear friend, Roberta insists her to  compensate financially for the use of her story in Alice’s book. In the end, you can see her still trying to fulfill her ambition as she tries to sell Alice’s diary that she had stolen.

She contacts Karen, who turns the diary down but reciprocates Roberta’s idea of a sequel to Alice’s famous book. Even though she does pardon Alice, her desires for living a luxurious life remain constant. Susan also enters the world of writing as she helps Kelvin Kranz, a thriller writer, on his new book involving a murder a poisoning. Susan’s intentions have always been to lead a meaningful life. Her deal with Kranz is exactly the thing that makes her obtain a fine balance. She holds no grudges against any of her friends but is clearly in shock by Alice’s death.

Let Them All Talk. Source: bookandfilmglobe.com

Tyler’s Reaction To His Aunt’s Death

Tyler comes back to his aunt’s apartment. He calls Alice’s presence in his life as the most influential. He finds his photos on Alice’s worktable, and he finds that he meant as much to Alice as she meant to him. Tyler, shown to be partying with his friends at the beginning of the movie, turns into a calmed down version of himself on his aunt’s death. He is the one to suggest the visit to Blodwyn’s grave. His own understanding of his aunt and the ideas she leaves behind, explains why he chooses to return to his aunt’s home.

Does Alice Finish Her Book?

No, Alice does not finish her book. In what we can call as a imprecise series of abrupt clips, we see how Alice’s thought processes shape her books. However, in the end, the montage of clips, including a green satin bed, a beehive, the hand of a man adorned with an engagement ring, and her own lifeless body, indicates that she was on a path to a different style of the book. The only parts of this idea are present in the diary that Roberta steals but later asks Karen to give it to Tyler. Alice’s nephew then gives back the diary, her last tangible piece of memory, to its deserved place – her home.

Why Does Alice Invite Roberta And Susan?

Let them All Talk. Image: times-herald.com

The invitations made to Roberta and Susan are Alice’s own efforts at redemption. She wants to get back in touch with them, especially with Roberta, whom she knows she has wronged. She also accepts  Roberta’s demand for monetary compensation. Her keenness to share her favorite author’s work with her friends is also a reflection of her thoughts. Alice’s wish to visit the grave of Blodwyn might be her perceived end to her efforts at restoring her friendships.

Srishti Chopra
Srishti Chopra
Srishti is an engineering student who has an ardent passion for creating art and expressing things interestingly! She is currently in the second year of her engineering program and her aim is to gain maximum knowledge and skills from whatever she does.

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