‘Monolith’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Happens To The Interviewer?

After getting assigned a movie called Monolith, the first thing that came to mind was Stanley Kubrick’s iconic (still an understatement) 2001: A Space Odyssey, for obvious reasons. And the movie only validated me by kicking off with a pitch-black screen that stayed on much longer than usual. Instead of a strange, cryptic sound, we do get to hear a male voice describing a very strange incident to a podcast host, who’s our main (and only) character. You are bound to have many questions and theories brewing inside your head after Monolith. In this article, I am going to take a shot at simplifying things for you, and hopefully, I’ll succeed.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis What Happens In The Movie?

The narrative is confined to one single location, i.e., the slick apartment of the podcast host, but her telephonic conversation with several people throughout the film is enough to creep you out and give you the chills. The climax is sort of a howler, though, which clearly seems like an easy way out. We’re going to come to that eventually.


Who’s The Podcast Host, And What Does She Want?

I’m not sure if it’s a gimmick, but we never get to know the name of our podcast host. I had to check IMDb to make sure if the character has a name or if the director has made a choice not to name the character. As it’s the latter, from now on, let us just refer to her as “The Interviewer.”

Disgraced journalist The Interviewer has recently taken on this podcast called “Beyond Believable” in order to keep her career going. She clearly doesn’t have her heart in it, considering how sternly she handles the caller that we hear in the very beginning. Not that she’s wrong, as this guy, Jared, was clearly trying to get his twenty minutes of fame with a fake-ass story with zero evidence. But the interviewer herself is under a lot of stress as she keeps getting calls and emails from her new boss, Trevor, who keeps pushing her to procure an episode as early as possible. She doesn’t find anything interesting until she randomly comes across an anonymous email with a subject claiming the truth (whatever it is, I suppose) is going to come out, containing a cryptic message that just says “Floramae King + The Brick” along with a pretty blurry image of the person.


Who Is Floramae King, And How Is She Related To The Black Brick?

Floramae King is the first person The Interviewer speaks with, who also confirms the existence of the black brick, which we are supposed to refer to as the monolith, even though nobody in the movie ever utters the word. It does seem fitting, though, appearance-wise. The story Floramae shares is as bizarre as can be! Years ago, she used to work as a maid for a well-to-do Australian family. The people were nice enough to fund her daughter’s education. Everything was seemingly normal until one day Floramae received that black brick from somewhere. Despite the interviewer repeatedly asking, she refused to talk about how she received it. Shortly after, the family discovered vicious scratches on all of their furniture one day, and the one they blamed was Floramae’s daughter, little Paula. Floramae was fired right away, and the black brick was taken from her by her employer as she didn’t have anything else to pay for the damage. Paula, on the other hand, never admitted that she did it, even though there was no other plausible explanation. And the strangest part about all this was still how Floramae felt when she used to hold that black brick—a kind of power that she’d never felt before.

What Happened To The Black Brick?

After taking Floramae’s black brick, the family quickly sold it to some art collectors. Floramae fails to provide any name to the interviewer, and the phone call is also abruptly cut short by an intervening Paula, who’s now an adult and sounds really annoyed. However, through a little bit of research on the internet, The Interviewer manages to identify the person who now possesses the black brick: German art collector Kalus Lang. Unlike Floramae, Klaus was not at all hesitant to share his “brick story” with The Interviewer. In fact, we get to know that there’s more than one black brick, as Klaus has two of them. Just like Floramae, Klaus also mentions how different he felt while holding the bricks. He also speaks about this vision of his dead brother somehow coming back alive, but as a terrifying monster. The man admits that he used to hate his brother when they were children because his parents always used to favor the other child. Despite Klaus sounding earnest and very truthful, The Interviewer appears to be skeptical. Klaus further adds that he managed to get someone to do three-dimensional scans of his bricks years ago and promised to send them to The Interviewer if he finds them. But when the interviewer asks to see an image of one of Klaus’ bricks, things go south as he asks for a fee, and she strongly refuses.


How Does The Interviewer Get Obsessed With The Black Bricks?

With Floramae and Klaus’ accounts of their experience with the black brick, The Interviewer deftly conjures the first episode of the podcast, and in no time it goes viral, unsurprisingly. Her boss, Trevor, is elated to see the response and keeps asking for more. The interviewer doesn’t disappoint, as now she has no shortage of content as people keep communicating with her over the telephone and share their own personal experiences with the brick. She also gets warned by so many to not go any further into this matter and shut the whole thing down. We see her getting a call from a man, who describes how his father literally turned into another person after receiving the brick and started to see a vision of an illegitimate child. The man begs the interviewer to drop her quest if she wants to save herself!

But by now we know she is way too invested in this whole thing and surely can’t let it go without getting to the bottom of it! And that seems only logical, as I would have done the same thing if I were in such circumstances. Through her rigorous attempts at tracking down anything that might help her untangle the webs of mystery, The Interviewer manages to find a British journalist who was looking into a series of incidents where people fell ill way back in the eighties. Why does it matter? Because the black brick has a part to play in that as well, apparently. And the journalist also asks The Interviewer to be careful regarding this matter and look after her own safety.

What Really Happens With The Interviewer?

My biggest qualm regarding Monolith is probably the choice to make the whole thing personal. It is a creative decision for sure, and, I must say, a unique one. Because this could have very well been a huge global takeover by supposed aliens who are using the monoliths as their tools, but instead the narrative made it clear that it was always supposed to be about The Interviewer. 

It was evident from the moment The Interviewer saw the video of her birthday celebration from childhood that she was elated to get a very unique new present—the black brick. From that point, it was not particularly hard to figure out that it was her family who used to employ Floramae. And it was Paula who was tormenting the interviewer. Why was she doing it? As an act of revenge for what happened to her during childhood. As it turns out, Paula was not responsible for what happened to the furniture; it was actually the interviewer herself. We can come to the conclusion that she did it as an act of random tantrum-throwing but then refused to take the blame, so she put it on Paula. That essentially ruined Paula’s life as her scholarship money from the interviewer’s family stopped coming through. And the worst of all, they had to give away the monolith.


But that’s clearly not it. We do need to remember that the interviewer’s family loved Paula very much, probably more than her (as confirmed by Floramae), which was bound to create jealousy. The same jealousy was something that Klaus felt as well. In both cases, the person who made them jealous somehow got eliminated. When that happens, a seed of guilt is automatically planted inside Klaus’ and The Interviewer’s heads. Even the man who called about his father having an affair and then seeing the illegitimate child also confirmed the guilt angle here. If I say Monolith is in fact trying to show how your guilt consumes you, then that wouldn’t be wrong, I suppose. Of course, here it becomes quite literal. But before coming to that, let us address two other important components, which are correlated: the Scott person and the hieroglyphic scans of the monoliths.

Throughout the movie, The Interviewer receives phone calls from this man, Scott, who constantly checks up on her well-being. Scott is probably a friend or maybe a boyfriend. But more importantly, Scott is also the person who helps The Interviewer with the hieroglyphic scans of the monoliths after she finally receives them from Klaus, who was lying about having only two black bricks in his collection because he clearly has much more than two. So anyway, Scott is the first person who lets The Interviewer know that the language of the monoliths can’t be decoded, as it’s nothing like anything that we’ve seen. This obviously solidifies the alien angle and also seems like a plot point that is directly drawn from Ted Chang’s award-winning science fiction short “Story of Your Life,” which was eventually adapted by Denis Villeneuve in the movie “Arrival.” Coming back to the monoliths, the different kinds of symbols for different people is a nice touch, storywise, as that also strengthens the argument that those are basically the projection of their individual guilt. However, the guilt theory gets nullified if we consider Floramae here. Even though there can be an argument that Floramae’s guilt was not being able to believe her own daughter, she effectively gave away the monolith anyway. The riveting conversation The Interviewer has with her father at the end, where the father slowly gets uncomfortable and is then agitated by the barrels of questions by the daughter, clarifies most of the doubts here. It also makes The Interviewer realize that she can’t avoid it any more, and now she needs to confront herself. Often, we do something questionable when we are kids and then go into complete denial for a long time, until something triggers the guilt and breaks that cocoon of denial years later.


During Monolith‘s ending, The Interviewer suddenly starts to feel this indescribable pain inside her body, and after much struggling and what we call wrenching, she takes one whole black brick out of her mouth. If that’s not enough, we soon get to see a duplicate of The Interviewer herself, except the duplicate seems much more confident and much less anxious, body language-wise. After the initial shock wears off, the two have an expected confrontation that goes to the extremes of a physical showdown. Monolith unsurprisingly doesn’t make it clear whether the winner was the duplicate or The Interviewer, but I would like to believe it’s The Interviewer herself who has finally managed to get rid of her guilt that was killing her from the inside. I know the explanation sounds botched, but so is the climax of an otherwise intelligent movie. One thing for which Monolith should be lauded is the amount of discussion it has managed to create (or will eventually create) among people who are into genre movies, including yours truly. Not to mention, Lily Sullivan’s performance should receive applause for making the whole thing believable enough and investing our heads into it.

Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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