‘Lola’ (2024) Ending Explained & Movie Summary: How Did Arlo Die? 

Lola is a gripping 2024 film directed by Nicola Peltz Beckham that hits you right in the feels and reminds me of movies like Little Miss Sunshine and The Florida Project. The story revolves around Lola, a young girl stuck in a seriously messed-up family situation. Her mom’s all about preaching about sin and God’s wrath, while her mom’s boyfriend, Trick, is just plain bad news. Lola’s only ray of hope? Her little brother, Arlo. She’d do anything to protect him from their toxic home life, even if it meant taking on crazy jobs like strip dancing and working in the supermarket, just to save up enough cash to get them out of there. But here’s the twist: to cope with all that life throws at her, Lola turns to drugs. And suddenly, all that preaching about sin starts to feel a bit hypocritical. She starts asking herself, What does it even mean to be good? Can you still be a good person if you’re just trying to survive? Will Lola and Arlo ever make it out of their messed-up home? Or will they be trapped in the cycle of abuse forever? – That’s what we are about to find out!


Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Mona? 

Lola’s mother, Mona, is a churchgoing woman who always blames Lola for everything in her life. She tries to make Lola feel grateful by saying that her own mother was even harsher on her, but at least Mona has done everything in life for Lola and Arlo. However, that’s far from the truth. Mona’s boyfriend Trick is a freeloader, and her father left home, leaving her to try to save the family however she can. She homeschools Arlo, depriving him of a proper education. Mona goes to church and, in conversation, tries to hide everything that’s going on in her life from a fellow churchgoer. She claims that Arlo is homeschooled because she thinks it will make him smarter than others, but in reality, she’s only teaching him life lessons instead of science and other subjects. Thus, Arlo’s education is severely lacking because of his mother’s neglect, which limits his opportunities and chances for success in the future. When asked about her partner, Trick, Mona falsely claims he’s in a big business meeting. When Arlo tries on Lola’s makeup and thinks he looks beautiful, Mona wipes it off and tells him he looks like a degenerated woman like Lola. She further says that he’s a sinner for trying makeup, even though he’s a boy, and that God won’t accept it. She imposes gender norms, instilling guilt in Arlo for his innocent exploration of self-expression. Mona even tells Arlo to go and buy cigarettes for her, even though she knows very well that a little boy shouldn’t do things like that.


How Did Arlo Die? 

Lola promises Arlo that she will get them out of their abusive home, assuring him that God loves him in every way. In her pursuit of earning more money, she even ventures into the backroom of a strip club, knowing it would increase her earnings. She plans to move to Dallas with Arlo so he can attend a good art school. This decision needs more money to support their relocation and his education. To keep them safe, she takes Arlo to stay at her friend Babina’s house. However, Lola gets into trouble at her job when someone informs her boss about her taking inventory from the supermarket, leading to her being fired. When Mona visits Lola at the strip club, she urges her to return Arlo to her, claiming Lola will never be good enough for him. When Lola goes home to retrieve their dog, Mikey, as Arlo misses him, she is assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. Despite feeling awful, Lola conceals her feelings and returns to her brother, bringing Mikey with her. On Arlo’s birthday, Lola plans to celebrate by taking him to a restaurant and contacting the art school in Dallas to meet them in a few weeks for her brother. However, when Lola goes to work, her mother takes Arlo home and cuts his long hair, claiming it’s to prevent people from bullying him by calling him a girl. This hurts Arlo, causing him to flee home and get into a fatal road accident. Upon hearing the news, Lola is shattered, as Arlo was the only good thing in her life. Her mother blames her for the tragedy, leaving Lola crying and resorting to a drug overdose to numb the pain.

Why Did Lola Try To Turn Her Life Around? 

Lola finds out she’s pregnant because of her mother’s boyfriend and decides to keep the baby, seeing it as a reason to clean up her act and start afresh. With the help of her friends, who become like family, she begins attending AA meetings and focusing on her health. One day, Mona visits the shop and discovers Lola’s pregnancy. When Lola reveals that Trick, her boyfriend, assaulted her and is the father, Mona reacts with anger, accusing Lola of being born flawed. She said she at least tried to be a good mother to Lola, but Lola is the one who was born flawed. So she feels Lola would be the worst mother with her kid. Lola opposes her, saying she will let her kid feel what it’s like to be loved, to which Mona objects, saying it’s never going to happen, as she also said the same thing to her own mother, just like Lola is saying to her, but this cycle of dysfunction will continue and Lola will regret it.


At the end of the movie, during her last AA meeting before moving to Dallas with her boyfriend and unborn child, Lola expresses her hope to become a good mother, opposing her own mother’s beliefs, as she believes trauma doesn’t have to be passed down. She believes that we are not born messed up, but rather, it’s the challenges we face in life that shape us into who we are. Lola thanks her friend Babina for all the support and assistance she has provided. She acknowledges both the help and the hurt from people who have influenced her journey. Initially, she doubted whether she deserved a second chance in life, but Lola now finds a new purpose in life through her child, determined to do everything right this time. With her boyfriend and their baby girl by her side, she hopes to start afresh in the new city, leaving behind all past traumas and embracing true happiness for the first time.

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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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