‘The Coffee Table’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Are Maria And Jesus Dead?

Every year, one or two movies arrive with a certain kind of hype that basically involves people puking, fainting, or leaving the theater in horror. More often than not, these movies turn out to be disappointing. Not that all of these are bad, but they definitely fail to live up to that hype. The Spanish horror-comedy The Coffee Table is the latest movie to come with such hype; in fact, even the likes of Stephen King have lauded it by using terms like “Coen brothers’ dark dream.” Letterboxd is flooded with reviews that are saying what a terribly difficult, anxiety-inducing watch this movie is. Well, here’s the thing: The Coffee Table, directed by Caye Casas, is indeed what people say. You’ve got no idea what’s coming for you until you actually watch it. And it is absolutely unimaginable and traumatizing. In fact, I would even say people with weak hearts should actually stay away from it, as cringe-worthy as that might sound. But y’all are here after watching it. So you know what I’m talking about. And I suppose you are as traumatized as I am. In this article, I’m going to dissect The Coffee Table, especially its ending. I hope it proves to be cathartic for you. In case you haven’t watched the movie and are reading this out of curiosity, this is where you stop.

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens in the Movie?

I had no idea what The Coffee Table was about. The film seems quite literal about the title when it begins with this couple, Maria and Jesus, having an argument over buying a coffee table. While the couple looks middle-aged, they’ve got a newborn with them. Anyway, while Maria finds the table hideous (as did I, by the way), Jesus is adamant about buying it. His justification is the very typical “she doesn’t let him do anything he wants,” and he seems to win the argument. The salesman is extremely obnoxious but clearly great at his job, considering how he convinces Jesus. Back at their apartment, the couple bumps into their neighbors—a woman who is about Maria’s age and her teenage daughter Ruth. Apparently, Ruth is grumpy about someone being in love with her but too scared to admit it. The first bit of shock comes the next moment, when that “someone” turns out to be Jesus. However, he’s not actually into her or anything; it’s mainly inside her head. According to Jesus, Ruth tried to kiss him in the elevator, but he refused. Now, the thing here is that the movie could have done away with this entire arc and would have remained the same. I understand that Ruth’s dog was needed for the climax, but even then, the whole drama between Ruth and Jesus is quite unnecessary, although it doesn’t particularly hurt the movie. 

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What Accident Happens to Jesus? 

You know what I’m talking about here, don’t you? Because The Coffee Table is that kind of movie where a certain incident changes everything. And here, that happens as early as at the twenty-minute mark. There’s no point dawdling over it, so I’m just going to get to the point. Jesus and Maria’s baby boy, Cayetano, dies in the most horrible possible manner when Jesus accidentally trips over the table and breaks the glass. We don’t get to see it happening (thankfully), but the movie doesn’t waste a minute to take us, the audience, into the scene, which clearly implies it’s all over. Not only is the little one dead, he actually got decapitated by the glass. This is the most unfortunate accident one could possibly imagine, even in movies, and that’s an understatement. 


Do Maria and Jesus Commit Suicide?

Here’s the thing: the moment the accident happens, you know for a fact that this movie can’t end well. At the time of the accident, Maria was not home, and Jesus was understandably stunned for the time being. His life has just ended. It was already not particularly going well, but now there’s no coming back. But you still want to see what he does and, most essentially, how he confronts his wife!

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You probably imagined hundreds of ways this thing would end (at least I did), but The Coffee Table‘s ending had in store for you is most definitely something that you didn’t expect. With more than an hour of runtime left, The Coffee Table could have gone two ways. The first one is Maria returning home, realizing what has happened instantly and the grim aftermath of that. But the film skillfully took the hard way, i.e., not revealing it to Maria for the longest possible time. While it seems like an impossible thing to pull off, Jesus somehow manages to do it. There can be arguments, like a mother like Maria would never actually stay away from her baby for such a long time, but what The Coffee Table shows is also not something that cannot happen. I think the director’s agenda here was to purposefully keep the audience in agony—you keep anticipating the moment Maria gets to find out what happened to her baby. I had to pause more than once to get through it, but I also couldn’t stop watching as I had to know what’s going to happen in the next moment, which only proves how good the writing is. The inclusion of Jesus’ brother Carlos and his extremely young girlfriend Christina into the plot is a masterstroke, as is making Christina pregnant. Imagine accidentally killing your baby and then hearing your brother’s going to become a parent about an hour later! Not to mention, the whole conversation about loved ones is another deliberately written plot device, only to increase Jesus’ inner guilt. There is no prize for guessing who Maria loves the most, of course!

You do feel kind of bad for Jesus, though. I mean, the man does appear to be an annoyingly stupid husband in the beginning, but he’s neither a pedophile nor a child killer! As time goes by, you can clearly see his remorse. What he’s going through is something that I wouldn’t wish for my worst enemy! Right before Maria comes back home from the supermarket, Jesus contemplates suicide, but I believe he just doesn’t have the courage to do that at that point. But in the end, we do see him recording a message for Maria and everyone else in the toilet until Carlos interrupts him. Carlos is the one who did suspect something was going on with his brother, but I’m sure even in his wildest imagination, it was not something like, You know what? 

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In The Coffee Table‘s ending, Jesus does confess everything to his brother, though, and while Carlos can’t believe what he has just heard, he also tries to do everything he can to take control of this impossible situation. His first concern is Maria not seeing the severed head of her own baby, which is still lying under the armchair, as Jesus couldn’t gather the courage to do anything about that! Sadly, The Coffee Table is not at all sympathetic to its characters, so Maria had to see it. And it had to happen in the worst possible manner, i.e., Ruth’s dog smelling it and going under the chair to bring it out in the open. Ruth, of course, is here to tell Maria that she and Jesus are having something—a subplot that doesn’t sit right with me, as I have already mentioned before. Anyway, Carlos still tries to save Maria by rushing to the dog, grabbing his dead nephew’s head with his bare hands, and trying to hide it. But by now, you know this movie isn’t going to spare Maria, so the inevitable happens. I thought it was a great choice to not have her say anything after that. The moment you see Maria walking towards the balcony, you know what’s going to happen, and The Coffee Table could have just ended perfectly with the shot of that balcony. However, I believe director Casas thought it would be better to at least give the audience a proper ending to this unimaginably horrifying story, so he serves a tiny little epilogue to you. The scene moves outside, which is flooded with police, medics, and a lot of local people. The news is that Maria and Jesus have both killed themselves by jumping from the balcony with their headless baby. Ruth has suffered an anxiety attack. Christina, who’s pregnant, is in shock and being looked after by the medics. Carlos is also in shock and unable to say anything other than three words: The Coffee Table. The movie ends with a shot of Carlos sitting in the police car, understandably looking horrified and heartbroken together. Honestly, I don’t think Carlos and Christina will be okay after this, but for their baby’s sake, I really hope they are! 


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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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