Directed by Joel Edgerton, The Gift (2015) is a thriller starring Joel Edgerton as Gordo, Rebecca Hall as Robyn and Jason Bateman as Simon.
This post includes a brief plot summary, an explanation about the ending of the film The Gift (2015) and a character analysis of Simon.
The Gift (2015) – Plot Summary
A couple (Robyn and Simon) just moved into their new house. They are originally from Chicago but moved to Los Angeles because of Simon’s new job.
While shopping, Robyn and Simon stumble upon Gordon Mosley (a.k.a. Gordo). The man claims to be Simon’s high school classmate, but the latter doesn’t seem to recognize him.
The following days, Gordo stops by at the couple’s house several times to leave a gift. Simon is not too happy about it, but Robyn finds the gesture quite nice and invites Gordo for dinner.
Gordo continues to stop by at the couple’s house, but this time he finds a little note on the fridge. Simon erased Gordo’s name and wrote “Weirdo” instead. This finding leaves Gordo quite unsettled and he storms out of the house.
Just when the couple thought they would never see Gordo ever again because of what happened, he invites them to his house. Robyn and Simon are impressed with the size of his current residence but they are also suspicious about Gordo’s sources of income to finance his lifestyle.
Meanwhile, Gordo returns after leaving the couple alone for a moment. Tensions rise between Simon and Gordo. The former warns Gordo to stay away from him and Robyn.
The very next day, strange things start to happen at the couple’s house. First, the koi fish die and then their dog disappears. Simon thinks Gordo is behind the events and goes to his house to confront him. However, another couple greets him to his surprise. Turns out, Gordo doesn’t live in the house, he works for the owners.
Quite distressed about the situation, Robyn turns to medication but hides the pills from her husband. The dog eventually returns home and Gordo writes an apology letter to the couple. There, he says that he’s “willing to let bygones be bygones”, implying that something has happened in the past between Simon and Gordo.
Robyn’s health takes a toll and she faints. Simon confronts her about the pills: Robyn used to have a substance abuse problem back in Chicago. Meanwhile, Gordo seems to have left the couple alone.
The couple has been living a relatively quiet life and Robyn manages to get pregnant. While chatting with her sister-in-law, Robyn learns that Simon and a friend (Greg) told the school that they saw Gordo being molested by an older boy. Those allegations made Gordo transfer to different schools quite often to escape the rumours and the subsequent bullying.
Unsettled about those revelations, Robyn reaches out to Greg. She wants to know why Simon would fabricate such a lie. Greg is hesitant about Robyn’s question, but then, he admits that Simon was quite a bully at school. The rumours ruined Gordo’s life, his own father tried to burn him alive.
Back at home, Robyn confronts Simon about bullying Gordo during high school. He denies it, which leaves Robyn even more upset. As an attempt to amend the damage, Simon tracks down Gordo to apologize. However, Gordo is able to tell that Simon is not truly sorry for what he did.
Gordo’s hesitance to accept his “apology” upsets Simon and he ends up beating the man to the ground. When he returns home, Simon lies to Robyn and says that he has hashed out things with Gordo.
To celebrate his promotion, Simon gathers a couple of friends in his house. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a rock flies into his living room. Shocked, Simon steps out of the house and finds who did it: Danny McDonald, a work colleague. Apparently, Simon fabricated a few lies to get Danny out the company, so he could get the promotion. Meanwhile, Robyn goes into labour.
After giving birth to a baby boy, Robyn informs Simon that she wants a divorce. Due his lies and schemes, Simon also learns that his company has fired him.
At home, Simon finds another gift box: a videotape. Gordo recorded Simon and Robyn’s mean remarks when they were at his supposedly house. In addition, there is also footage of Gordo on top of an unconscious Robyn but the video ends before Gordo takes further action.
Panicked, Simon rushes back to the hospital. Meanwhile, Gordo pays Robyn a visit. She notices his injured arm and Gordon confirms that Simon assaulted him. Before Simon could reach Gordo, he leaves the hospital. Shortly after, Simon receives a call from Gordo, who called to taunt him. Although, Simon demands to know the truth, Gordo refuses to confirm whether he’s the father of Robyn’s baby or not.
The uncertainty leaves Simon in a very distressed state. Gordo smirks at a “broken” Simon and tosses his arm sling away.
The Gift (2015) – Ending Explained
The open ending of “The Gift” is one of those that will leave their viewers scratch their heads and wonder who is the father of Robyn’s baby.
Before jumping into the discussion and trying to figure out who is the most probable father of that baby boy, let’s start with the fundamentals. First of all, it’s important to understand who Simon and Gordo really are. Who’s the real villain in this story?
Both men have their own set of problems and flaws. On one hand, we have Simon: the guy who ruined Gordo’s childhood with his terrible lie. As the story unravels, it’s clear that Simon has not changed his ways given that he continues to lie in order to get what he wants.
Then, there is Gordo, the one who had to live with the repercussions of Simon’s lie. For many years, Gordo was insanely bullied by his schoolmates and at a certain point, even his own father tried to kill him. The trauma definitely left its mark on Gordo, as he can’t hold a job during his adulthood.
So, the film ends with Gordo’s big revenge on Simon: he turns his bully’s life upside down by planting doubt in his head. Most of the bad things that happened to Simon in “The Gift” are his fault. Had he not been so mean to Gordo, Robyn wouldn’t have found out his disgusting past. Second, Simon was not fired because Gordo exposed his lies, the other guy found out about his scheme and decided to throw rocks at his house.
In many ways, Gordo wasn’t even the catalyst of all events that led to Simon’s downfall, the man brought it all to himself.
Back to our starting question: who’s the real villain in this story? It’s most likely Simon. What about Gordo? Shouldn’t he considered a villain after what he has done to Robyn? Well, it depends. What has exactly Gordo done to Robyn?
First, let’s talk about facts. Gordo broke into the couple’s house, tampered Robyn’s drink and got on top of her, while he’s filming the whole ordeal. The video cuts abruptly, so Simon is left in the dark as to what really happened to his wife. Did Gordo sexually assault Robyn to get back at Simon? Also, is Gordo the father of Robyn’s baby?
Who Is The Father?
Gordo does a lot of creepy things throughout “The Gift“, but is he that cruel to the extent of raping a innocent woman just to exact revenge on his childhood bully? Probably not.
A lot of Gordo’s actions are aimed to taunt Simon, he wants to hurt him emotionally and psychologically. When Gordo kidnapped the couple’s dog, he could’ve done a lot of atrocious things to their beloved animal, but he didn’t. Seeing the couple on the edge over their dog’s disappearance was satisfying enough for someone like Gordo.
That said, Simon is most likely the father of Robyn’s baby and the video was just another gimmick from Gordo to mess with Simon’s emotions. One could say that the stunt was Gordo’s final “gift” to Simon for what he did many years ago.
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The Gift (2015) [DVD]
Simon – Character Analysis
So who is Simon? The man is a bully, a perpetual liar and a manipulator. Despite of looking like a “nice person”, he is not. There are too many instances throughout the film hinting that Simon is a bully.
When Simon erased Gordo’s name on his fridge and wrote “Weirdo” instead, that was not only sinister but also incredibly mean. Why would someone go out of his way to make fun of a stranger (as he claimed at the time)?
Another instance, that shows Simon’s true colours and narcissistic side was his fake apology to Gordo at the bar. If someone does another person wrong, they should apologize and not beat their victim for not accepting their apology. Although, Gordo wasn’t as badly injured as he appeared to be at the hospital, Simon still used force to try to silence him and that’s not right.
Let’s not forget when Simon made fun of Robyn for her past trauma. What type of human being does that to their significant other? A terrible human being.
Last but not least, the job promotion incident. As mentioned before, Simon has no qualms about lying in order to get what he wants. In order to get a job promotion, he fabricated lies about his “competition” so the other person wouldn’t get it. However, his plan backfired and the company fired him.
There are too many instances throughout “The Gift“, hinting that Simon is a indeed a bully. Although, the man might seem like a loving husband, he lies to Robyn all the time.
Why is Simon so keen on lying? Because the creep knows he can get away with it. Ever since Simon was a child, he felt no remorse when it comes to fabricating lies that have the potential to ruin people’s lives. However, what goes around, comes around. Simon ended up paying a hefty bill for what he did, the man lost his wife and his job.
Some critics say that the ending of “The Gift” is terrible and that it almost ruined the entire film. However, I disagree.
Maybe some viewers were expecting a more gruesome revenge, but I thought the ending was adequate. In my opinion, “The Gift” is not a revenge tale. If one looks closer, Simon was the one who caused his own downfall. The lies, the intimidation tactics, the hostile attitude… it was all Simon.
Gordo’s revenge plays on the idea that lies don’t have to make sense in order to have a repercussion. For instance, the lie that Simon fabricated was very simple: Gordo was in a car with an older guy who took advantage of him. The lie itself is not very complex but it spread like wildfire because kids are mean.
In order to cause havoc in Simon’s life, Gordo doesn’t really need to go after his loved ones, taunting him with the idea is enough. Making Robyn actually pregnant with his baby, is leaving evidence of a crime behind and as I said before, I don’t believe Gordo is dumb nor cruel enough to commit such a heinous act.
Had Simon changed his ways and shown regret for his past actions, Gordo wouldn’t have come at him in such a hard manner. As a viewer, I felt that Gordo’s actions in the beginning were genuine, all the gifts came from a good place. However, when he saw the word “Weirdo” written on the couple’s fridge, he realized that nothing has changed, Simon is still the bully that he was many years ago.
“The Gift” is a thriller that grabs the viewer’s attention from the start until the very end. There isn’t a single dull moment in the film. Every second is filled with suspense because it’s hard to guess what’s going to happen next. In addition, I really enjoying watching Simon being slowly exposed by his lies. It’s always very satisfying to watch karma knocking on a bully’s door.
Watching the film, really makes one rethink about the long-term effects of bullying. The experience itself is nasty and can change one’s outlook on life permanently. However, watching a bully doing better in life than a victim definitely stings in a different way. Having said that, “The Gift” is a very noteworthy watch, it manages to be entertaining and educational at the same time.