‘Acide’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Do Michael And Selma Survive The Acid Rain?

While we blast our ACs to ignore the heat waves outside our windows, not many think about the consequences of global warming, even in our current day and age. Just Philip’s Acide imagines a dystopian world where acid falls in the form of rain. The rising temperature all around the world leads to massive heat waves, and that leads to acidic rain burning through everything on earth. While climate catastrophe makes for a great premise, Acide only suffers from poor writing.


Spoilers Ahead

What happens in the movie?

Michal is leading a protest of workers who are seeking justice for one of their own, Karin. The protestors go berserk when the management calls the cops on them. The protestors and riot police get into an ugly brawl, and Michal gets hold of one of them and almost kills him. Michael is put under probation as he meets his lover, Karin, who’s still recovering and due to get another surgery soon. The film never drops a hint as to what might’ve happened to Karin, but it’s just one of the many errors that’s about to come. Michal decides to reunite with Karin in Belgium after his probation ends, while Michal’s daughter and wife battle their issues without him. Michal’s video of him beating up the policeman is trending on the internet, and Selma sees her classmates making inappropriate jokes about her father. Filled with rage, she attacks a girl and makes her eat horse feces. Selma’s mother, Elise, saves the day, but she’s more drawn to her father. Michal loves his daughter, but he’s decided on leaving them to be with Karin. The filmmaker introduces the topic of acid rain through some substandard news footage, and the concept of acid rain is shoved down the audience’s throat. With not a lot of conviction whatsoever, Michal finds himself in a car with his wife, trying to rescue Selma from her school before she ends up burning. As soon as Michal finds her, the first acid rain starts to pour, and things start to turn ugly. The rest of Acide is about Michal trying to save his family from the rain of death. 


How does Elise die?

Michal drives to safety, and the rain stops after a while. They find an empty building, and they discover a hall with somebody’s birthday decoration still up. It hasn’t been long since the people of this building fled, and Michal finds pastry and champagne in the fridge. In hope of finding drinkable water, Michal fills a plastic pot and gives it to a stray cat to drink. Selma is hesitant about this, and she picks the cat up before he can drink much from it. A few moments later, Michal finds the pot melted from the bottom and dumps it before Selma can see. Elise calls her brother Brice to confirm where they should head to meet with him, and Michal gets offended over her over-dependence on Brice. The three of them decide to spend the night sleeping under the table, but Selma gets up and finds the cat, who has died after drinking the acid water. The next morning, the family is on the road again, but the rain has damaged the car beyond repair. They start to continue their journey on foot, and they join hundreds of people trying to find a safe shelter for themselves. All the people come across a weak bridge where the military is letting people pass without overloading the bridge. They fear that the bridge might collapse if too many people hop on it at once, but expecting people to be disciplined is a hard ask from a scared group of people. In the middle of the pushing and shoving to get ahead of the others, Elise gets separated from Michal and Selma, and she has to cross the bridge alone. As Elise gets ahead anxiously, the bridge starts to collapse, and she trips and falls into the river. Selma runs to save her mother, but she can only watch as Elise’s hair and skin get burned while she tries to stay afloat. Michal stops Selma from reaching for Elise, and Elise dies in a few more seconds. 

Why does Michal plan on going to Anvers?

After Elise’s death, Michal and Selma get on one of the army convoys with the rest of the survivors. Michal had talked with Karin and got to know that she’d been transferred to a hospital in Anvers. Despite Selma’s disapproval of joining a convoy which doesn’t lead to her uncle, Michal knows he has to see Karin. The vehicles stop working in the middle of the journey, and the army asks the people to continue the journey on foot. They’d reach the shelter in Fernelmont if they could walk for two miles. Michal thinks that the army is only pushing them to death, and Selma stops walking when she has a meltdown. Michal manages to get Selma back on her feet, but they’ve lost the group by then. When a thunderstorm approaches, the father-daughter duo runs for their lives, looking for a safe place. They take shelter inside a tunnel and see the poisonous rain pour out. After the rain stops, Michal and Selma reach a neighborhood and bang on the doors of houses that look like they’ve been long abandoned. Michal’s body gives up, and he collapses to the ground, and a lady hears Selma’s cry for help. 


Why does Michal leave Deborah and her son to die?

Michal regains his consciousness in a house, and Selma offers him a glass of clean water. The house belongs to Deborah, who has managed to survive this long while all her neighbors fled when their houses decayed. Deborah’s son William suffers from a kidney disease, which requires Deborah to keep running his dialysis machine at all costs. Deborah offers them to stay, but she honestly admits that she can’t offer much food to them, as she barely has much left for her son and herself. Michal decides to break into an abandoned house to hunt for food. He brings back packs of ravioli and doesn’t share it with Deborah and William, even when the little boy asks his mother why he can’t have some of it. Michal holds a grudge against the very person who let him into her home. In the night, Deborah and William set themselves up in the basement to sleep, while Michal and Selma go to sleep in the garage. 

Michal has warned Deborah that her house won’t hold on for long, and he wasn’t wrong. The acid rain starts again late at night, and it starts to burn through the walls and doors. All the taps and doors can’t hold the toxic, acidic water anymore, and the house starts to break down little by little. Michal and Selma understand what’s going on, and they go to the basement door to try and wake Deborah up. The ceiling breaks down soon, and Michal decides not to wait for them, and he escapes by taking Deborah’s car, the only way out for her if she and her son were alive. Michal can’t see anything while driving in the acid shower and ends up in a barren field. 


Do Michael and Selma survive the acid rain?

In Acide‘s ending, Michal lashes out at Selma and asks her to shut up when she won’t stop bothering him while driving. Honestly, he represents all of us when he makes Selma stop talking. Michal steps out of the car to think of a plan, and he discovers that Selma has run away from the car. I swear, I have no idea why she is the way she is, and she soon decides to come back when she sees the acidic mud covering the field. Unable to find her way in the dark, she hops on top of a corroded tractor (which makes so much sense). Michal finds her hanging on somehow, and he runs through the muddy field while the acid in the mud keeps burning his legs. Michal rescues his daughter, takes her on his back, and fights against inevitable death to make it back to the top of the car. The horrendous night comes to an end, and Selma opens her eyes to see her father lying with her. The acid in the mud burns his legs severely, almost killing him. A military tank arrives to save them from the misery, and they find a safe shelter. 

Selma goes to one of the army men to inquire about her uncle Brice, and he fails to find anyone by his name who survived. She then asks about Karin and finds out that she died in the hospital a few days ago. When Michal wakes up and asks Selma if she managed to reach Karin, she lies to him so that he can rest and recover in peace. Drum roll! The torture show has come to an end. This movie barely follows any logic one would expect, and Selma’s dumbness challenges you to not break whatever device you’re watching it on. I feel silly ranting about a French movie while I write this article at 3 a.m., but if acid rain is burning everything, how on earth are the cell towers not affected? In the middle of all this mayhem, not once do we see people make one smart decision in this catastrophic end-of-the world situation. The rant wouldn’t end, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop, so enjoy the dark and grim aesthetic the cinematography offers and expect nothing else from this movie. 


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Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

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