‘The Estate’ Ending, Explained: Is Hilda’s Estate Worth Anything?

Dysfunctional family dramas can be a good watch if they are written well and they can portray the familial dynamics in the most accurate manner. The fact that there is a genre that brings to the screen how our actual families function makes the viewing of these dramas more interesting. “The Estate” is one such film that talks about a chronically ill member of the family, but the extended family, instead of being there for the matriarch who is on her deathbed, descends on her humongous property only to make sure she considers them in her will one last time before she dies. Sounds despicable, but the cousins and other family members are desperate and unable to come to terms with the fact that the aunt is dying alone and without an heir, so they’re after a piece of the cake as well.

Spoilers Ahead

Macey And Savannah Are Trying To Survive

Macey and Savannah are not doing so well financially. They are sisters, and they have a coffee shop together that is running at a loss. They have some other outstanding debt to clear, which is barely being covered. They have no idea how to bring an end to this nightmare of debts. Macey has been divorced twice, and ever since her divorce, she has had a string of bad luck with relationships, so on a personal front, too, she is not able to find any success. Savannah is a street-smart girl who always has ideas to implement to get them out of near poverty. They live with their mother, who is also no help because she has no clue how to get them out of this misery. Savannah and Macey are trying hard to keep themselves steady and make sure they don’t wind up on the street anytime soon. Macey, out of the two, takes most of the grueling because she has faced the worst, and that’s why she always stays wary of getting into anything new. Savannah and Macey mention their mother’s sister, their Aunt Hilda, who is their mother’s rich sister and lives on a huge estate.

They never kept in touch because their mother and aunt Hilda always kept bickering and quarreling, which led to them not speaking to each other to date. Savannah and Macey consider getting in touch with Aunt Hilda because she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and they know she won’t live that long. So, they want to pretend to be nice to her because she is super rich, and their being nice to her will hopefully get them into her will. The siblings intend to utilize all the options they come across. Savannah and Macey decide to explore the option of heading to meet Aunt Hilda. The siblings think this is an ingenious idea, and they go along with the plan of being her caretakers. They only hope to make sure this plan of theirs works because if it doesn’t, they will be in deep trouble. Ellen is Savannah and Macey’s half-sister who is obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons games, and she walks around in costumes from the game. The siblings and their half-sister do get along because of their mother, who made sure there was no enmity between the three of them. She would want her daughters to get along, unlike her own relationship with her sister Hilda.

Cousins Descend

Savannah and Macey reach Aunt Hilda’s home, only to realize all their cousins have also come to meet her. They arrived a few days before, and they have their agendas behind showing up under the guise of “taking care” of Hilda. Aunt Hilda, on the other hand, has been on bed rest for a while and always stays under the influence of medication. Aunt Hilda is a foul-mouthed woman who has never tried to maintain a relationship with her siblings and their kids. She makes sure to make everyone uncomfortable with her conversation and has acted to keep everyone at bay. Now that she is in bad shape, there is no one genuinely with her to take care of her. The nieces and nephews are only here to make sure she considers them to be included in the will. Since she spends most of the time resting on the bed and requires assistance to walk around, the cousins make sure to help her and be all overbearing just to enter her good books. Their cousin Beatrice and her husband, Chef James, come down way before Savannah and Macey do, and they end up sparking plenty of flashbacks that involve a lot of falling out between the cousins. Their other cousin Richard also shows up under the guise of taking care of Hilda again, and he claims he has always kept in touch with Hilda in all these years. Savannah and Macey now know they have obstacles they will have to jump over to make sure they fulfill their goal. They understand the cousins are also here for the same thing, and they will have to fight hard to get the money from Hilda.

Is Hilda’s Estate Worth Anything?

Savannah comes up with a foolproof plan for taking Hilda to meet their mother, hoping this gesture will surely melt Hilda’s heart. The sisters hope that she will be happy to meet their mother, and the efforts taken by the kids will probably change Hilda’s mind toward her nieces. Savannah wakes Macey and Aunt Hilda in the middle of the night to complete this one task. The task ends up being more tedious than they had imagined because Hilda is crankier when forced to do something. Hilda had no idea where she was being taken. On meeting her sister, Savannah and Macey’s mother, Hilda and their mother start arguing just like in the olden days, and with that, their plan to bring the sisters closer falls apart. The siblings underestimated the rivalry Hilda, and their mother have had from a very young age.

Just like the stunt pulled by Savannah and Macey, Richard pulls the stunt of offering a bouquet of roses to his aunt in the hope of making sure she feels good. The cousins know she had a bad time visiting her sister, and they also know Savannah and Macey are on the back foot. Taking advantage of that situation, Richard goes ahead with his plan. Meanwhile, Beatrice and her husband James also pull the stunt of making a big collage album for Hilda with pictures of her childhood with her siblings. This puts her in a good mood, and she reminisces about her childhood crush. Hilda, for the first time in days, seems happy by looking at the picture of her crush. This sparks an idea for Macey to reunite Hilda with her old crush. This will probably make Hilda change her mind about Savannah and Macey and push her to reconsider them as heirs to her property. In between, they also come across a painting that is dear to Hilda. The painting only contains a picture of a dog, and none of them understand its significance. Beatrice hears of the plan Savannah and Macey hatch, and she puts forward the idea of James seducing Hilda for a night. James, being a supportive and honest husband, refuses to agree to the idea. He was all in with getting a share of the property in Hilda’s name, but he is not ok with crossing the line just for the sake of an inheritance.

Savannah and Macey do get in touch with Hilda’s childhood crush, whose name is Bill. Unfortunately for them, Bill is a convict who was released from jail a while back for getting drunk and flashing in public. He is now living in a halfway house, which is meant for convicts who are just out of prison and trying to live a normal life after a long stint behind bars. Macey is uncomfortable with fixing a date between him and Hilda, but Savannah is desperate, and she offers him $200 to take Hilda out. Savannah is the one who wants the money, while Macey, though she is in the same condition, is feeling awkward about setting up her aunt with a sex offender for fear he might do something to her. Macey somehow convinces her sister to agree, and they go ahead with the plan.

On the other hand, James, at his wife’s insistence, tries to seduce Aunt Hilda rather awkwardly because it is weird to be seducing the aunt of his wife. James is doing all of this under pressure, but Beatrice will go to any lengths to make sure Hilda considers her and James as the heirs to the property. In the nick of time, Bill makes an entrance, and Hilda is also made aware of Bill’s desire to have dinner with her. Richard and Beatrice try hard to sabotage the date, but Savannah and Macey are successful in making Hilda and Bill meet. As the dinner is in progress, the cousins indulge in a fight, talking about their past and letting all their anger against each other out. The cousins have had bad blood between them, which comes out in a rather odd way and at an odd time, but somehow this helps them calm down once it is out in the open. Why are they even angry at each other? The date between Hilda and Bill goes too well, and the couple decides to get married. Bill agrees to the proposal, which puts the plans of all the cousins on the back foot. With Hilda’s health condition deteriorating, her death will lead to all the property being ceded to Bill if they get married; this was not the plan hatched by Savannah and Macey. Now with their inheritance in question, the cousins get together to sabotage the wedding. The cousins are in dire need of money. Beatrice reveals that James’ restaurant is running at a loss; meanwhile, Richard’s investment in an app has also gone bust. Just like Savannah and Macey, they are also in dire need of money to sustain themselves. The difference is that Savannah and Macey’s café failure was known to everybody, but the rest of the people’s failure was never publicized, and they made sure Hilda should never know of this.

To sabotage the wedding, the cousins place Ellen in front of Bill to make it seem as if Bill is still a sex offender. Beatrice gets Bill drunk to make it look as if he got drunk and exposed himself to a minor just before a wedding ceremony. The plan takes time to work, but it works out because Hilda comes to find Bill’s genitalia being exposed, and he is drunk and passed out. She breaks the engagement, but her body goes into shock. The cousin’s plan works like a charm because this is exactly what they wanted to make sure Bill didn’t get away with all the inheritance. This shows the selfishness of all the people who would do anything for their inheritance money. Hilda’s doctor is called, and she reveals that the family should say their final goodbyes. Instead of giving her a proper farewell, Beatrice, Richard, and Macey force her to sign the will in their names. Hilda dies, curses them which turns out to be her last words. This puts Macey in a bad state of mind because she never wanted her to go away in this manner. She lectures them on how they all took advantage of a lonely, aging woman just for her money. Her lectures have no impact on any of them, including Savannah. They are more than happy to have gotten the money from Hilda. Their approach is that guilt dies, but the money stays with them, possibly forever.

During the will reading, they come to know that Hilda owed lots of money in taxes to the government because she had evaded them for years. Along with that, she had repaid the debts quite late. After the repayment of all the accumulated arrears and tax money, the net worth of all her Estate comes down to a meager amount, which shocks the cousins present at the will reading. They had not anticipated the fact that Hilda was a clumsy person who did not pay any of her debts or taxes on time. This puts them in a weird position because now they know the mansion is worth nothing and there is no point in anyone owning the place. The cousins feel cheated, but the fact that all of this works like karma shows that they never bothered to understand Hilda. Hilda, though, named the painting “Dog” in Macey’s name. Knowing the outcome of their work, the cousins separated on a better note than they had gathered. They are happy to have moved past the tough and awkward days they spent with Hilda. Macey and Savannah have no idea at this point what to do with the painting. Savannah is on her way out to get rid of the painting, and that’s when Macey comes across the appraisal letter that fell from the painting which states that it is worth four million dollars. This excites Macey, who runs behind Savannah to stop her from destroying this valuable piece of art. It can be assumed that aunt Hilda did not know this painting was worth a lot. This money would mean a lot to Macey and Savanna, and they will finally get something from taking care of Hilda, albeit selfishly. Their karma works weirdly, but Macey is happy to have gained something from it.

Final Thoughts

“The Estate” has nothing going on when it comes to comedy because it felt like back-to-back obscene gags that were introduced and pushed off as comedy in the hope of only making the viewers laugh, but it only makes them awkward. None of these scenes garnered any laughs and did not add any element of narrative to the entire film. The movie makes no landing when it comes to the drama part as well because the screenplay felt very disjointed from the beginning. Dean Craig loses the battle here in the writing part, which did not help him in the direction of this film either. The performances were a letdown, keeping in mind that the cast includes Kathleen Turner and Toni Collete, the stalwarts, but the writing let them down as well. David Duchovny tries to do something out of the box here, but the writing of his character is flat, and it does not serve the purpose of making the viewers laugh. The film is not a must-watch.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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