‘Acidman’ (2023) Ending, Explained: Were The Extra-Terrestrial Beings Real?

Alex Lehmann brings to us a movie where an estranged daughter travels thousands of miles to reconnect with her reclusive father, who spends time watching for aliens. The 2023 film “Acidman” features Thomas Haden Church and Dianna Agron in the roles of Lloyd, the eccentric dad, and Maggie, the estranged daughter, respectively. An emotional movie where the bond between a father and daughter is explored in a poignant way, “Acidman” is a testament to how mental issues can drive a wedge between family members and ruin relationships. However, it takes one person willing to go the extra mile and re-establish the severed bond, and this becomes Maggie’s motivation to find her dad. Read on for a detailed dive into the multiple themes and events that transpire in this lovely movie. 


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Acidman’? 

Estranged daughter Maggie painstakingly finds out about her reclusive father Lloyd’s residence and visits his unkempt shack of a home to reconnect with him. Maggie quickly learns that Lloyd’s love for solitude, except for the company of his dog Migo, has much to do with his eccentric nature and his obsession for ‘communicating’ with what he thinks is UFO in the sky. Throughout the movie, Maggie slowly peels away the layers that made Lloyd a shut-in recluse and connects with him, while revealing something important about herself as well. The movie presents the importance of communication and shows us how children often take after their parents, even if it means imbibing their toxic habits, just like Maggie became a younger version of Lloyd. 


What Does Maggie Find When She Visits Her Father? 

After several weeks of narrowing down her father’s location, changing flights, and an 18-hour drive, Maggie finally arrived at her father’s trailer-like home, on which the word “ACIDMAN” had been spray-painted in orange. Maggie was on her way out after failing to find Lloyd, when she hit his shopping cart with her rented car, and she was invited in. Lloyd introduced her to his German Shorthair Pointer dog, Migo, and asked about her brother, his son, Bucky. Maggie looked around to see the unkempt condition of the house, noticing how there’s piles of unwashed dishes, scattered boxes, and barely any space in the room she’s allocated. He asks her how many days she plans on staying, and there’s a palpable air of awkwardness as the father and daughter don’t know how to reconnect after these many years. 

Where Does Lloyd Go At Night And Why? 

When Maggie turns the lights on in the hall, she spots Lloyd dressed-up and ready to leave with Migo. He asks her to tag along in his truck and he takes her near a cliff where he apparently spotted UFOs three years previously. Lloyd, an engineer by profession, had found lights blinking in the horizon, and decided that these were extra-terrestrial beings trying to communicate with him, so he used the reflective cover of his iPhone to signal back using Morse Code, and he’d record every interaction in a video camera. On the clear nights, Lloyd goes to the cliff and signals at the lights with the hopes that the UFOs will signal back, and as he’s explaining this project with much gusto, Maggie looks at him, with a lot of amusement and a little concern. 


Later, Maggie finds scores of recordings in the house and plays some of the recordings to see Lloyd signalling towards lights and recording himself, and she can tell this has been happening for a very long time. She also spots her father signalling near the antenna in the garden in a general direction towards the sky, and his obsession with the unknown worries her. 

Why Was Maggie Worried About Her Father? 

Lloyd walked out on his family – his wife, his teenage daughter Maggie, and his young son Bucky, decades back and didn’t keep contact with them. Now that Maggie had finally located him and wanted to reconnect with him, Lloyd seemed lost in his own world. Apart from his obsession with the beings in the sky, he often seemed to go catatonic for minutes at a stretch, where he didn’t move or talk, regardless of any external stimuli. On top of that, he was living with no friends to talk to, in the middle of nowhere, and who knew when was the last time he’d gone to see a doctor? He’d burst into rage from time-to-time and have these moments of burning anger where he’d shout and he’d once even used a weapon in the presence of his daughter, especially when some local kids tried harassing him by throwing eggs at his house. Maggie was scared to see her father brandish a shotgun and fire warning shots, just to shoo off the louts, and these made her concerned about her father’s mental and physical state. 


How Do Lloyd And Maggie Reconnect? 

As the movie progresses, the estranged father-daughter relationship slowly begins healing, even though there are moments of awkwardness. The father and daughter went fishing and he brought out Bobby Sock, a sock puppet he used to talk to the little Maggie, when she used to be sad. She talked to the puppet to express her concerns about her father’s mental health and even offered to go to the doctor with him. At night, she joined Lloyd at the back of his truck as he smoked weed, and they shared anecdotes from both their lives. He told a story about his childhood where as a young boy, him and his friend were hospitalized after they smoked a huge amount of weed, and then asked her the real reason Maggie had showed up here. Although she’d been asked the same question twice before by Lloyd, she finally began opening up about her situation. 

Maggie, currently married to a graphic designer named Ben, had left home suddenly and said she needed to escape the whole situation for a while. He asks her the situation she’s in with her husband and then jokes about his name, because of how high he is. Maggie starts laughing at her dad’s jokes and they share a rare peaceful moment, until it’s ruined by the noisy street urchins. 


What Causes The Rift Between Lloyd And Maggie? 

Lloyd invites Maggie out in the woods to show her something he’s working on – apparently, he’s going to send a signal back to the UFO by lighting scores of fireworks out in the open. For reference, he reminds Maggie of a firework show they’d done years back that set a fire and needed four fire trucks to put out and singed Maggie’s mom’s eyebrows off. Lloyd says this one will be 10 times bigger than that firework show, all to send signals to his extra-terrestrial buddies. Maggie has had it with her father’s obsession and says she can’t participate in this, and her father groups her with every doubter, including his parents, his colleagues, and the rest of his family members. He then asks her to not be present in his house when he returns from the town after getting supplies. Lloyd essentially kicks out his daughter when she refuses to participate in what can only be considered a severely dangerous mission, and this shows how severe his eccentricity is. 

What Happened To Migo?

Ever since Maggie came to visit her father, she’d formed a bond with her father’s pet dog, Migo and often the two would be seen playing catch and Maggie would give him a lot of belly rubs. One day, Maggie and Migo went into the woods and for a while, the dog couldn’t be located, and Maggie asked for help from a hunter, who didn’t respond. Although Migo returned soon after, it was clear that many hunters roamed the woods. 


After the tiff with her father, Maggie awaited the dog and he did come running but he was bleeding profusely. Migo had been shot by one of the hunters who mistook him for game, and the Pointer ran back home but soon collapsed from blood loss. While driving down the road, she spotted Lloyd heading to the store and soon, Lloyd was in the backseat comforting the dying dog as Maggie constantly apologized to the dog for not taking better care of him. Lloyd asked her to stop near a deserted area where the man sat with his dog, holding him in his last moments. Later, the father and daughter buried Migo in Lloyd’s courtyard, where Maggie finally opened up about all that had pained her over the years. 

While breaking down, she blamed her father for walking out on them and how much she’d missed him, and how she’d so many things she wanted to ask her, but couldn’t. She slowly came to the understanding that she’s very similar to Lloyd because she, too, would run away when things got complicated in a relationship. To her utter disappointment, Maggie then realized her father had been in a catatonic state and hadn’t heard a single thing. As she walked away crying, Lloyd suddenly returned to his senses and barged out of the courtyard and into the woods, where he went after the first pair of hunters he spotted. The two men hit him in the gut with the rifle’s butt and Lloyd fell to the ground, crying in pain and howling that they murdered his dog. 


How Does The Relationship Improve Between Maggie And Lloyd? 

Interestingly, things improved between the father and daughter after the huge fight and the death of Migo. After returning from the local café, Maggie put a blanket on her sleeping dad and then saw a shooting star in the sky. This made her open her mind and go along with the things that made her father happy, and she decided to help him in setting up the firecrackers. The next day, the duo made around 100 crackers, while sharing jokes and recording each other on the camera. In the evening, as they stood waiting, Lloyd asked Maggie to name her unborn child Jacqueline if it was a daughter, because that’s what he’d wanted to name her. At this sudden announcement, Maggie as well as the viewers were stunned to know that Lloyd knew. Until this point, Maggie hadn’t shared the fact with a single soul and so far it’d seemed she was averse to the idea of children, based on her conversations with her father. However, this showed just how perceptive Lloyd was, despite his eccentricities, and how much of his daughter’s life he’d remembered. 

It’s time to light the fireworks and we watch as the sky lights up in beautiful shades of green, red, yellow, and white as scores of crackers whistle up into the sky before bursting into a band of colors. As the father and daughter watch their handiwork come to life, Maggie is undoubtedly impressed by her father’s genius at executing the pyrotechnics, although Lloyd is disappointed that the UFOs didn’t signal back. 


The next morning, before going back home, Maggie cleans her father’s house, scrubs the utensils, rearranges the guest room where she stayed, and even draws an alien head on two tapes she stuck to the kitchen wall. In his study, Lloyd is busy working on his next plans to communicate with the aliens, and he goes into a long discourse of the theories he’ll be using to re-establish contact, and supposes the next tentative date of contact to be in July. Maggie says by July, she’ll be heavily pregnant but asks Lloyd to keep her informed about what he learnt. She then slowly walks out of the room because the father and daughter haven’t shown any physical affection towards each other till then. However, there’s a small moment of wholesomeness when Maggie rushes back in and hugs Lloyd from behind and gives two long tearful kisses on his head, before leaving. Lloyd doesn’t return the hug nor does he kiss Maggie back, but a single teardrop rolls down from his eye, which shows that even though he couldn’t physically show his emotions, he’d always loved his daughter. It was his mental issues that made him escape his family and he stayed detached from any contact, physical or otherwise, but the emotions came running back when his daughter hugged him. 

‘Acidman’ Ending Explained – Were The Extra-Terrestrial Beings Real? 

Alex Lehmann intentionally creates a movie where the presence of the extra-terrestrial beings is highly convoluted and Lloyd is the only one who believes in them. Even though we don’t get to see any concrete proof of the presence of the UFOs, we do see some distant lights in the horizon, which aren’t explained in detail. Maggie doesn’t believe in the aliens but she plays along just so that her father’s feelings aren’t hurt, and this ambiguity helps add to the movie’s appeal of pulling at the audience’s heartstrings. Lloyd spends the entire movie trying to communicate with the aliens, which is a reflection of his daughter’s attempts to communicate with him. 


For Maggie, Lloyd was just as distant from her as the UFOs were from Lloyd, so she spent the entire duration of the movie trying to close the gap and come closer to her father, whom she loved deeply. Lloyd realizes reconnecting with his daughter is far easier and happier than communicating with aliens, but his haphazard mental state allows him only to show stunted emotions. We can assume that the aliens in “Acidman” aren’t real, and Maggie doesn’t think so either, but she doesn’t burst her father’s bubble because of her love for Lloyd. 

“Acidman” is a 2023 sci fi drama film directed by Alexandre Lehmann.

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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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