‘Slumberland’ Ending, Explained: What Happens To Nemo, Philip And Flip?

Dreams have always been a means of escape or finding answers for those who find their reality a little difficult to deal with. One can scale the highest peaks or go to the deepest oceans. “Slumberland” is one such movie that makes you want to delve into your dreams. But at the same time, it also makes you come to terms with your reality and embrace it with an open heart. 


Based on “Little Nemo in Slumberland” by Windsor McKay, the movie tells the story of a teenage girl named Nemo who lives in a lighthouse with her father. She moves to the city with her estranged uncle after the death of her father. How she comes to terms with her reality and embraces it forms the crux of the story. 

Spoilers Ahead


‘Slumberland’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Movie? Who is Nemo?

“Slumberland” is a fantasy adventure story about Nemo, a teenage girl who grew up living on a lighthouse with her father. She lost her mother at a young age and is extremely close to her father. She was homeschooled and told stories of fantastical adventures by her father. He taught her several skills aside from formal education. As the daughter of a sailor, she was well aware of the risks at sea. 

One day, her father leaves on an emergency rescue mission at night but does not return. He is announced dead, and Nemo is sent to the city under her uncle’s care. Her relationship with her uncle Philip is awkward and strained, as both come from different worlds. Philip has lived alone and has barely had any social interactions. Nemo was still in the past when her father was alive. She agrees to go to school, but only reluctantly. Her friends at school are eccentric, just like she is. She still chooses to remain alone.


One night, she wakes up to her pet toy pig coming to life. Her bed grows legs and takes her to the lighthouse where she lived before. There she meets Flip, the same character from her father’s adventure tales. Thus begins her own adventure in Slumberland. Every night, she would go to sleep and wake up in Slumberland on a quest to find the mythical pearls that would grant any wish. She teams up with Flip, who has an agenda of his own. As they go on their journey, they form a likable friendship. 

Nemo’s Uncle Philip is a recluse. He has no social life. He was reluctant to take responsibility for Nemo, but he did so because denying that would lead to her ending up in foster care. He is the owner of a company that manufactures door knobs and other similar accessories. He is a complete nerd about his profession. He makes several attempts to get Nemo to warm up to him, but he fails in doing so. He does what any adult would do. He looks up blogs and books on how to raise a child. 


Nemo throws tantrums at times and escapes into her room and into Slumberland to reunite with her father. When her uncle plays an old video of him and her father playing, she connects the dots to Flip’s existence. During her last journey to Slumberland, she does find the pearl. She uses it for her uncle, aka Flip. She makes a wish that Flip would wake up in the real world, and thus her uncle Flip would be back to his more functional self, which he had long forgotten after being estranged from his brother, Nemo’s father. 

‘Slumberland’ Ending Explained – What Happens To Nemo, Philip And Flip?

Towards the second half of the movie, we find that Nemo meets her father in Slumberland. She comes to terms with her reality and goes back to the present with a new vigor for life. She and her uncle grow closer as well and lead a healthy lifestyle. Her uncle, Philip, who hasn’t been able to sleep well in a few years, finally comes to terms with his Slumberland identity and accepts a reality devoid of his brother or the adventures he had shared with him. He also starts dating Nemo’s advisor at school. 


But throughout the movie, it makes one wonder if Slumberland is even real. It could just be a figment of Nemo’s imagination. Perhaps it was a defense mechanism she used to come to terms with the reality of losing her father and starting a new life in the city. Upon seeing Flip’s physical appearance, it is certain that he is not human. He has horns like a ram has and ears as a cat has, but the rest of his body is like a regular human body. Nemo’s father regaled her with stories of adventure at sea with his friend called Flip. Flip was the last thing that kept Nemo attached to her father after his death. For a young girl, undergoing life changes like Nemo did can certainly be scary and unwelcome. One can surely assume that Nemo conjured up Slumberland in order to find answers for herself. 

Through her fantastical journey to Slumberland, Nemo makes an attempt to come to terms with her reality. She succeeds and does so grandly, for she also manages to get her uncle out of his shell. “Slumberland” is a piece of fiction that delivers a fantastical promise of accepting reality, no matter how scary it may seem. It tells the viewers that the first step is the hardest, but with love and support from others, the journey only smoothens further. Nemo makes amends with her uncle Philip. The two develop a loving and caring bond and carry on with their lives with a fresh start.


“Slumberland” is a 2022 fantasy film directed by Francis Lawrence.

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Nandini Iyengar
Nandini Iyengar
Nandini has grown up on a healthy diet of books, movies and shows. Hailing from a multicultural background, Nandini has tried indulging in art from different corners of India that came naturally to her. Taking the influence further, she delved into foreign languages and indulged in content from across the globe. When she is not watching anything on her laptop, she can be found daydreaming or picking her pen to write a few words of fiction.

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