Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Tall Man

Illustration for article titled The Tall Man

Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot details we can't reveal in our review.

Here’s our chance to discuss the big twist in The Tall Man, which caught me completely off-guard. It turns out that Biel’s son isn’t actually her son at all, and what appears at first to be another Tall Man abduction is, in fact, a rescue mission to return the boy to his real mother. Biel—along with her husband, who isn’t dead after all—is an agent in an underground child-care mission to shuffle these poor, unfortunate backwoods tykes to well-to-do families in the big city that can give them proper homes, a good education, and opportunities that they would surely never get in Cold Rock. To me, what’s interesting about the twist is that Laugier seems to have mixed feelings about the whole operation. On the one hand, it isn’t great for kids to vanish from their homes without a trace, further ruining the lives of families who already have it hard. On the other, there’s nothing sinister implied about what happens to these kids once they land in another place. In the closing narration, Ferland talks about her “three mothers,” how she loves all of them, and how she’s willing to stay in the city rather than return home to Cold Rock. There’s some ambiguity to it, but The Tall Man might fairly be dubbed the rare pro-child-abduction movie.

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