This post includes a brief plot summary and an explanation about the ending of the film Cracks (2009). Beware of spoilers.
Directed by Jordan Scott, the 2009 drama is based on the 1999 novel of the same name written by Sheila Kohler. The film stars María Valverde as Fiamma Corona, Eva Green as Miss G and Juno Temple as Di Radfield. Today’s post is solely based on the film, not the novel.
Cracks (2009) – Plot Summary
The story follows a group of girls in a boarding school. The clique is led by the captain of the diving team – Di Radfield.
One day, a young aristocrat by the name of Fiamma Corona arrives to the school. The Spanish girl is joining the diving team coached by Miss G and she quickly captures everyone’s attention with her beauty. Di is not very happy with the new girl stealing her spotlight. The other girls feel the same and start becoming very hostile towards Fiamma.
Miss G tries to befriend Fiamma and invites her to hang out with other girls. Soon, the young aristocrat discovers something unsettling about the teacher: Miss G lied about her adventures. They never happened, as they were excerpts of famous books. Miss G’s lies makes Fiamma very wary of the teacher.
The more Miss G showed interest in Fiamma, the more the other girls bullied the young aristocrat. Things take an ugly turn and the hatred leads Di to physically throw Fiamma out of the school. The girl complies because she wants to go back to Spain. However, after numerous attempts of trying to contact her family, Fiamma realizes that she won’t be able to return home.
When the school finds Fiamma, the girls try to amend things. As a result, they organize a dorm party. Fiamma drinks a bit too much and passes out. Miss G barges in and takes Fiamma to her room, where she sexually assaults the unconscious girl. Meanwhile, Di sees the whole thing but chooses to interpret it as romantic evening between Miss G and Fiamma.
The morning after, Fiamma threatens to expose Miss G to the school. Out of spite, Miss G manipulates Di to attack Fiamma. The teacher knows that the other girls will follow Di’s lead once she goes after the young aristocrat.
When the girls find Fiamma, Di confronts her about what happened during that night. Fiamma hints that Miss G molested her, but Di refuses to believe her. Meanwhile, Fiamma tries to run away once more but shortly after the girls catch her and beat her. The physical assault triggers an asthma attack in Fiamma and the girls panic.
Miss G appears and instructs the girls to go look for help. Once she’s alone with Fiamma, the teacher takes the girl’s inhaler away from her. Unable to breathe, Fiamma ends up dying. Meanwhile, Di comes back and she sees Miss G putting the inhaler back into Fiamma’s hands. At this point, Di realizes that Miss G killed Fiamma.
Later on, Di informs the other girls about what really happened to Fiamma and they all quit the diving team as a protest to Miss G. Moreover, the girls try to inform the school board about the truth behind Fiamma’s death, but they choose to ignore them. To cover up the incident, the school decides to fire Miss G.
In the end, Di leaves the school to travel and explore the world. Meanwhile, Miss G moves into a small room in the local village. The former teacher still follows the school’s rules when it comes to organizing her bedside table. In hindsight, Miss G might have spent most of her life inside the institution, hence her agitated state when she shopping for some bread outside the school.
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Cracks (2009) – Ending Explained
The ending of Cracks (2009) is just tragic and revolting, because Fiamma Corona didn’t get any justice for her death. However, how did things escalate to this point?
First of all, what is the film about? Female envy, jealousy and obsession. This is very obvious with Fiamma’s arrival to the school. Without knowing much about her, the girls already hate her. Why? Fiamma is a pretty girl and she comes from a wealthy family. That alone, was enough for them to despise the new girl.
The girls’ hostile attitude towards Fiamma is a reflection of their own insecurities. On a unconscious level, they wished to have what the aristocrat had. Besides of being beautiful, Fiamma was also a cultured person: she’s been in other places and seen the world with her own eyes. The girls on the other hand, didn’t have any of that. They only knew what the school and Miss G taught them, hence, the lack of life experience.
ENVY AND JEALOUSY: TWO DIFFERENT BEASTS
So far, female envy has been the focal point of this discussion. What about female jealousy? By the way, there is a difference between envy and jealousy. The first one, is a reaction to lacking something. Negative feelings arise because the other person has what we don’t. However, jealousy is a completely different game. It’s a reaction to the threat of losing something.
A very clear example of jealousy in Cracks, is Di’s reaction to Miss G’s behaviour towards Fiamma. Before the arrival of the young aristocrat, Di (captain of the diving team) was Miss G’s favourite student. The moment Miss G started to complement new girl for her diving skills, Di became increasingly jealous of Fiamma.
Why does Di react this way? Di is not very happy with someone else taking her spotlight and stealing Miss G’s attention. Although, it’s not explicit in the film. What Di feels for Miss G goes beyond admiration. The girl has a romantic crush on the teacher. Therefore, Di sees Fiamma as threat, because, in her head, she’s going to steal Miss G from her — female jealousy.
Di’s obsession for Miss G is very obvious. The way how she reads the events of that night, says it all. Instead of seeing Miss G sexually assaulting Fiamma, she interpreted the whole incident as a romantic night between the two. Even when Fiamma says it right to her face about what happened that night, Di still doesn’t believe her. She was in complete denial.
So what made Di change her attitude towards Miss G? Fiamma’s death. After seeing Miss G taking the inhaler away, Di finally understood what was going on. However, it was already too late.
OBSESSION VS. LOVE
What Miss G feels for Fiamma is not love, it’s obsession. That’s why Miss G was trying so hard to befriend the young aristocrat. When Fiamma blatantly rejected the teacher’s advances, that woke up something dark inside of Miss G. She went from being smitten to being obsessed about Fiamma.
After a while, the teacher’s obsession with the young girl takes a twisted turn and culminates in sexual assault. At this point, Miss G is completely out of control. Fiamma knows what she did and threatens to expose her. However, the teacher was not willing to risk her career and give up on her reputation.
In a vicious attempt to silence her victim, Miss G deliberately tells a lie to instigate the girls to attack Fiamma. Despite of being an unstable person, Miss G is very aware of the dynamics of that particular group. The teacher knows that the girls don’t like Fiamma and she uses that against the young aristocrat. In addition, Miss G knew that she only had to convince Di, who she knew was loyal to her. The other girls were pretty much followers of Miss G and Di. Having said that, Fiamma didn’t stand a chance.
Who killed Fiamma?
Miss G is the one who took the inhaler away Fiamma, which makes her the clear culprit for Fiamma’s death. But was she the only one responsible for the young aristocrat’s death?
If one takes a closer look, Fiamma didn’t get any justice after her death nor when she was alive. The girls were basically a bunch of bullies from day one. Miss G raped Fiamma while she was asleep and the school refused to be transparent about Fiamma’s death by ruling it as an accident. Having said that, they were all responsible for Fiamma’s death.
Despite of showing some signs of regret, were the girls really sorry for Fiamma’s death? Maybe, but at that age, they should have known better. Actually, I don’t believe the girls were truly sorry for beating Fiamma, they knew what they were doing. The girls are upset that Fiamma died as a result of their actions. Now, they have to live with that truth for the rest of their lives. To sum up, they wanted to hurt the young aristocrat but they had no intentions of killing her.
In the end, the girls do try to report Miss G to the director, which is the one thing they did right during this entire ordeal. However, what the girls did not expected was the corruption in the system. When they reported what Miss G did, all the school did was to fire Miss G and rule Fiamma’s death as an accident. Basically, the school was trying to hush up the entire incident. Why? Boarding schools lose prestige and students if the parents no longer feel safe leaving their kids with them.
ADD TO YOUR COLLECTION
Cracks is definitely not a crowd pleaser. As a matter of fact, many viewers might dislike it because of its tragic and unsatisfying ending. However, I believe Cracks to be a good film because it shows how little actions can have dire consequences.
The catty-side of female relationships portrayed in Cracks felt pretty real. Female envy exists and it’s a topic that deserves more awareness. What those girls did to Fiamma wasn’t just mean, it was vicious. Di and her gang knew exactly what they were doing. However, they were counting on getting away with it.
After watching Cracks, one might feel different about boarding schools. Why would parents ever send their children to a foreign place? It might a good experience for older teenagers, but it seems like a terrible a idea for younger children. For instance, bullying exists everywhere, but it’s even harder to cope with a hostile environment when one needs to live, study and sleep in it. Is a better academic education worth all of that?
By the way, all the three main ladies did an amazing job. María Valverde was convincing as the young aristocrat, while Juno Temple was brilliant at making the viewer hate her and feel sorry for her character at the same time. Last but the least, Eva Green was excellent as Miss G. She really deceived the audience with her performance, starting off as “alluring Miss G” only to transition and end up as “crazy Miss G”.
The music in Cracks is beautiful. Javier Navarrete’s soundtrack definitely set the tone of the film and elevated it up a notch. Somehow, the music in Cracks made it even more memorable.
Overall, Cracks is a very noteworthy watch. Some might feel that the story is pointless because Fiamma dies and no one does anything about it. However, the highlight of the film is not Fiamma’s death, but the journey that led to that fateful event. The young girl’s death exposes greater problems such as: abusive teachers, the dark side of boarding schools and the toxicity of female cliques.