‘American Dreamer’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Did Phil Find Out About Astrid’s Kids?

American Dreamer, a 2024 film directed by Paul Dektor, follows the story of Phil, an economics professor. Like most ordinary people, Phil leads a typical life, but he harbors grand dreams of one day owning a big house and having a beautiful wife by his side. He fantasizes about becoming an American Dreamer, someone who embodies the pursuit of the American Dream of living the best life possible. When the opportunity arises for Phil to purchase a grand house, he jumps at the chance, unaware of the baggage and revelations that come with it from its previous owner. As Phil navigates through the obstacles that stand in the way of him achieving his dream, it is hilarious how he deals with it all and finds himself confronting the monotony of his current existence. Will Phil finally attain all that he desires, or will his dreams remain just out of reach? Through this exploration, we are taken on a journey to discover the answer, witnessing Phil’s resilience and determination in the face of unexpected challenges.


Spoilers Ahead

How Did Phil Buy The House? 

Phil teaches at a university as an economics professor, discussing modern monetary theories and how our prosperity, the amount of money in our bank accounts, and our wealth and possessions affect our true happiness. Despite his academic achievements, including holding a Ph.D., he faces discrimination due to his dwarfism. Even though he lectures on wealth and money, Phil leads a modest life and lacks even a proper parking space. He often daydreams in front of grand houses and mansions, longing for a wealthy lifestyle with a trophy wife by his side. However, these dreams remain out of reach as he returns to his mediocre apartment, living alone.


Phil’s real estate friends invite him to view a million-dollar property, knowing it’s his dream to live in one. However, upon arrival, Phil diminished the worth of the marble and architecture in the building out of frustration. This upsets his friend, who begins to regret inviting Phil and worries about his ability to afford such properties. Despite his intelligence, Phil lacks job security and tenure, which leads others to view him as merely a dreamer rather than a potential buyer. Phil carries emotional scars from his past. He was raised as an orphan and was betrayed by his ex-wife, who left him financially ruined. Despite earning less than fifty thousand dollars a year, Phil continues to dream big and achieve the impossible. He wants to fulfill the American Dream and buy a million-dollar property in the country. 

One day, Phil comes across a classified ad for a beautiful property by the lake, worth 5 million dollars. However, if the owner is allowed to stay in the house until her death, the property will be sold for $240,000. Determined to make his dream a reality, Phil sells his car, takes out a loan from the bank, and sells his collectibles to gather the necessary funds. Finally, he secures enough money to purchase the house and starts living his American dream. 


What Reality Did Phil Come Across After Buying The House? 

Phil settles into his new house, only to realize that it’s not quite the dream he had envisioned. Annoyed by a chirping bird, Phil hurls a shoe at the window to silence it, only to shatter the glass of his new house. When he attempts to take a shower, he’s greeted with scalding hot water due to a faulty pipe setting, resulting in burns and a head injury from slipping. Lacking bandages, he resorts to patching himself up with duct tape. Astrid, the seemingly elderly owner of the house, appears younger than expected and demands payment for every repair, insisting that Phil handle any damages himself. Without a car, Phil had to resort to riding his scooter to the university, making the dream of having a parking space entirely pointless. Meanwhile, Phil finds out a student is really into him because of his economics lectures. He feels good about this, thinking his intellect is finally paying off. So, he brings her to his place, saying every guy wants to come back to a peaceful home after work; that is the real American dream. But Astrid, with her constant interruptions and her kids coming and going, ruins the peace Phil hoped for.

One day, when Astrid wasn’t home, Phil peeked into the other wing of the mansion where Astrid lived. It was stunning, with beautiful white walls and classy furniture. But then he saw her family picture with lots of kids, and it made him frustrated. He thought he’d never have peace, especially if she wasn’t going to pass away soon. When Astrid returned, Phil accidentally broke the picture, cutting his hand. Panicking, he took the photo and hid it in the laundry bucket. When Astrid saw the picture is gone she called the police to investigate the break-in. Phil claimed he was asleep or in the bath, denying any involvement. Astrid’s daughter, Maggie, suspected him but didn’t say anything. Later, at dinner, Phil learned that Maggie was a lawyer who would handle the house paperwork after Astrid’s passing. Phil realized Astrid might not be dying soon, with all her medication and doctors. But then, Astrid’s daughter revealed that Astrid had dementia, meaning the sale of the house wouldn’t be considered legitimate as her mental condition would not have let her make a proper agreement to sell the house. Phil, who had sold everything for that house, felt he was in deep trouble.


What Did Phil Find Out About Astrid’s Kids? 

Phil realizes he should have done a background check before buying the house, leading to a breakdown while he was teaching his students. Seeking solace, he befriended Maggie, Astrid’s daughter, sharing their struggles over cheap wine. The next day, Astrid slipped and fell, prompting a hospital visit. Phil warned Maggie not to be too optimistic, fearing Astrid’s condition would worsen. Misinterpreting his concern as a death wish, Maggie was hurt. Returning to university, Phil faced suspension due to his breakdown and inappropriate behavior toward a student. He found no solace in writing his life story about achieving his American dream, especially after finding Astrid unexpectedly healthy. He realized his life was a mess, far from achieving the American dream as he would never become the sole owner of this house as Astrid was never going to die, her kids were going to take the house from him, and his professional life was also in shambles. Depressed, Phil drank heavily and, in a moment of drunken despair, urinated on Astrid’s wheelchair.

The next day, when the wheelchair slipped into the lake with Astrid in it, Phil rescued her, earning her gratitude and a confession of love. However, Phil declared he no longer wanted the house, viewing it as a nightmare. Maggie took advantage of Phil’s desperation for money, offered him $50,000, which he had to accept as he had no money left. One morning, Phil heard Astrid yelling and rushed her to the hospital, only to find out she had passed away. Broken, he accepted the check from Maggie and prepared to leave. But on her way, Phil saw a banner for Astrid’s memorial service, organized by her “children” from her camp, who all called her “mama.” Shocked, he realized Astrid had no biological children of her own, a truth Maggie had never revealed, and she pretended to be Astrid’s own daughter to take the house. This revelation left Phil reeling, questioning everything he thought he knew.

During American Dreamer‘s ending, Phil wrestles with the decision to sell the house he took back from Maggie. Although selling it could have made him rich, he realizes its sentimental value to Astrid’s children and decides against it. Meanwhile, Phil takes bold action by exposing scandalous pictures of the university dean with a student, obtained from a private detective. This move not only gets Phil his old job back but also earns him a VIP parking ticket, signifying a new start. With life looking brighter, Phil may finally find happiness and achieve his long-awaited American dream.

Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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