‘Norma’ (2023) Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Was Gustavo Cheating On Norma?

Norma, directed by Santiago Giralt, is a movie about an aging woman who finds herself having a midlife crisis. But the most important part of this film, which is based on a novella titled Senales de Humo, is its emphasis on the origins of her midlife crisis. It begins when Norma, wife of Gustavo and mother of Ines, realizes that her maid is quitting her job. This simple revelation shatters her, and Norma begins a journey of self-discovery after having spent a lifetime as a wife and a mother. Norma might also be for those who are interested in good films that pass the Bechdel test and not just for the sake of it. Her life is surrounded mostly by women, and even though her husband impacts her life in a major way, the movie becomes a slice-of-life dramedy that might help someone reclaim the power in their lives, as Norma does in the film.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

Norma, a 40-something-year-old woman, had a meltdown when her maid, Rosita, decided to call it quits. Norma seems to be a woman with a detached sense of style about her. She pushes her maid away and takes away her uniform, and she cries the moment the maid goes away. The dichotomy is baffling, and she realizes so is her entire life. Norma cannot even figure out anymore if her marriage is a happy one or not. She has not had a reference for measuring anything, and probably the clean house and getting everything done by the maid and the gardener, Roberto, have made her lazy to see such things around. But when the maid went, Norma started to do a thorough inventory to see if she could bring about a change in her life. Marijuana seemed to be the answer. The film is the story of her procuring the illegal substance in Las Tucas, during which she meets some friends and overcomes her anxiety.


How Did Norma’s Fascination With Weed Begin?

Norma, feeling lonely and confused, had to take sleeping pills to go to sleep. She went to see Ines in her moments of anxiety, and it didn’t do her much good as she saw her smoking, which in turn made her feel more anxious. Norma’s marriage was, at best, a lethargic affair. Gustavo brought her flowers every now and then, and after the maid left, Norma had to begin taking care of their house alone. She became paranoid, and all the people in her life started to increase her anxieties. Her mother was one person she loved, and she was the source of most of her stress. But she loved her, and as she was nearing eighty, there was a chance that she could breathe her last without a heads up. Norma had a sister as well, and as Norma had painted herself to be the better of the two, it became sort of a duty to not break character now. One day, Norma confronted Gustavo, telling him about how their marriage had no spark left. She couldn’t even remember what a spark felt like. Gustavo’s answer was that she should take a sleeping pill and try to sleep. One fine day, Ines came with a bag of laundry in which Norma found a small case that contained weed and the related paraphernalia to make a joint. Norma scavenged the internet to find the ill effects of cannabis, and she found many. But she was hooked. The idea of smoking a joint fascinated her, and she must have imagined how bad it could get. Her life wasn’t going the way she had imagined. She was not a grandmother as she wanted to be, nor was she desired by Gustavo in the manner she wanted. She saw little harm in smoking that little amount of weed in the case, and she felt joyful for the first time in a while.

How Did Norma Procure More Weed?

In between all her cleaning, shopping, and painting lessons, she had to go meet her mother and Ines to plan her eightieth birthday. Her sister was going to be invited, and this caused a whole lot of anxiety in her. There may have been some resentments, but currently, there is no way to sort them out. Norma was clearly incapable of dealing with her new-found anxiety alone. Ines was a doctor, but Norma needed a companion, a friend, to guide her through the process. Luckily, during the meeting, Norma was approached by Judith, who was a therapist, and she figured that Norma was suffering from a bout of anxiety. Through Judith, Norma gained some courage to seek out weed in the shady areas of Las Tucas. She met one of Judith’s friends there who, in her meat store, also sold weed. Norma ran away without paying when she heard the police siren roar by. Although this only strengthened the friendship between the two women, who met again at Judith’s house. Norma bought a lot more weed from her.


How Did Norma Find Out Gustavo Was Cheating On Her?

Norma couldn’t care less about Gustavo now. Earlier, too, she didn’t pay too much attention to the fact that Gustavo mostly stayed out of the house. But now she was blissful. The only hiccup came when her mother passed away after her birthday, and she suffered a little setback in her journey to self-discovery. However, the pain was needed for her to face the things that she had been willfully avoiding. Two examples – like Gustavo’s distance and Ines’ weight gain. She had handled her lust for Roberto in a very detached manner, but when she really started to look at her desires, she admitted that she really liked him. Yet she didn’t cheat on Gustavo. Perhaps she hadn’t noticed that there were all the signs there that Gustavo was cheating on her, even if she was being faithful.

The turning point came when her car exploded because she left a burning joint in the car with matches all around it. A police car was tailing her, and she got afraid. She got out of the car, and then it exploded, and Norma was arrested. Good things come to good people, and the local station’s officer turned out to be her school friend, who gave her a warning and let her go. Something must have shifted in Norma, which is why she asked for Judith’s car to follow Gustavo. She discovered that Gustavo was cheating on her with Rosita, the maid. He gave the excuse that he had fallen in love, but we can see that he was lying. Rosita was seen wearing a wig, imitating Norma’s blonde hair. Rosita was a brunette, and it all seemed like part of her way to get intimate with Gustavo. Their marriage was a sham, and Norma accepted the fact. She ultimately put all her energy into getting Judith reunited with her daughter. Norma found true happiness when she started living on her own terms with nothing but female companionship. Ines revealed that she was pregnant, and it was achieved by artificial insemination. There was no father in the picture, and Norma didn’t mind. She was going to be a proud grandmother and a happy one because, finally, she was truly content.


Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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