‘Kindling’ (2023) Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Was The Significance Of The Fire?

Director Connor O’Hara’s Kindling has beautifully depicted a tale of the male kinship of five young people who have been supporting their friend in battling a fatal illness. This is a real-life incident that the director has portrayed, stemming from the loss of one of his own friends. The movie has been named Kindling, meaning a collection of twigs and sticks to start a fire, to depict the fire that the protagonist Sid plans to start. He ignites the fire of kinship with his mates in order to exist forever in the universe before passing away. Revolving around friendship, brotherhood, and trust, the British film Kindling is an emotional drama starring skilled young actors like George Somner, Conrad Khan, Wilson Radjou-Pujalte, Rory J. Saper, Kaine Zajaz, and others. The film tells the story of five children without any siblings who eventually end up becoming closer than blood brothers. What happens when they lose one of their friends? Are they able to handle that loss? We are yet to find out!


Spoilers Ahead

Why Have The Five Friends United?

The friends have reunited in their village after their exams at the university during the summer to keep their friend, who has been fighting cancer, company. Kindling starts with the five young guys fooling around and playing silly games and cracking jokes, which keeps the air of the film jolly at the beginning. They are all seen going to a party where Sid drinks and later falls sick. We see Diggs, one of his friends, staying back at his place to take care of him. Sid’s parents trust his friends and rebuke Diggs when Sid falls sick because of drinking at the party. Sid, having an interest in the earth’s atmosphere, explains to Lily, a girl he meets at Wolfie’s bookstore, how intriguing the subject is. He further adds on and tells her that people who die eventually end up becoming a part of nature.


We see Sid hatching a plan to keep the bonds of their brotherhood forever alive by lighting a huge fire. He says to all his friends that by making a fire, where each one would throw one of their possessions, they could exist in the universe forever. All five friends are given one topic each, based on which they would have to select an item that they would want to throw in the fire. Wolfie gets the element of ‘location,’ Drib gets ‘family,’ Plod receives ‘home,’ Diggs is given ‘friend,’ and Sid gets ‘love.’ We see the five friends exploring the landscapes of the village together, engaging in kiddish activities and merrymaking till they finally lose one of them forever.

What Conflict Does the Presence of Lily Bring To The Film?

Sid sees Lily for the first time at Wolfie’s bookstore while reading a huge book called “The Earth’s Atmosphere.” They exchange a few words about themselves, and we feel an instant spark between them. They keep meeting each other in different locations, and we see them swimming, spending time, and talking to each other when Sid finally catches feelings for her. He starts spending less time with his friends and sneaks out of his room to meet the girl one night. Sid’s parents send Diggs out to find him, and he finds him hanging out with the girl. He lashes out at Lily, telling her that Sid was going to die and that he had more important places to be. She walks away when she learns about his truth, and Sid lashes out at Diggs and tells him that he wants to be treated like a normal person. He follows Lily, and his parents, along with Diggs, go out in the middle of the night to search for him. They later get to know that Plod got into an accident. Sid feels guilty after coming to know about the incident and says that they can’t light the fire without Plod. Finally, Sid meets Lily after the incident, and they apologize to each other. She tells him that she is leaving the village for further studies, and that breaks Sid. She, however, gives him her pendant as a reminder of their time together and departs.


What Was The Significance Of The Fire?

Sid had been a believer in the existence of life after death and wanted his friends to believe the same. He explains to them how lighting a fire and setting fire to one of their belongings would unite them forever. He also states that their existence could never be erased because of the particles of those objects floating around in the universe, forever. The five friends are seen collecting branches of trees and wooden frames to prepare for the fire. Their collaboration rings out through the scene, where they are not seen to be exhausted even for a while, working together. The friends respect Sid’s last wish with not a single complaint and merrily prepare for the fire. Sid also takes them to a place where he says that the others should meet even after he is gone to look at the place of the fire from a distance.

On the night of the fire, Plod is finally able to join them, as he has been discharged from the hospital after Sid’s mother’s request. They finally meet at the fire, where they give away one of their most important belongings, one after the other. Having received the element home, Plod gives away a piece of wood that he dislodged from Sid’s barn, as he thought of it as a part of the home where they used to hang out as kids. Wolfie gave a 300-year-old map of the bookshop, having received the element of location. Drib had received the family element, and he gave Sid a watch that Sid’s parents were going to offer him on his 25th birthday. Sid had received the element of love, and he gave a signed picture of all the five friends together, that they had clicked as kids. Finally, having received the element of friendship, Diggs gave them a tape of them together during Christmas, celebrating and rejoicing every moment of their bond. They are seen commemorating the fire and their vow of friendship before Sid’s inevitable departure.


Final Thoughts

After the fire is lit, the scene shifts to a concert taking place four weeks later. We see all four friends at the concert, along with Sid’s father, but we no longer get a glimpse of Sid. We see Sid’s father breaking down, and the four friends console him, bringing out how they have always been there for Sid and his family, even after his death. We also get a glimpse of Lily at the concert when she exchanges a glance with Diggs. The glances have a similar dash of pain as Lily and Diggs were just trying to exist with their pains of losing a friend. Kindling brings to light the agony of losing a loved one and the way we all have to go on without each other. Despite the movie’s backdrop of gloom, we never see a moment of desolation in Sid’s eyes. He wanted to live to the fullest in the final few days of his life, and his friends did their best to fulfill that wish. The fire was significant because it was symbolic of Sid’s last wish to keep all his friends close, even with him not being around.

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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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