‘The Magnificent Meyersons’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Why Did Morty Abandon His Family?

A Jewish family in New York is going about their day; every member is embroiled in his or her own idea about how things are and how they should be. The vignette-y film by director Evan Oppenheimer titled The Magnificent Meyersons, behaves more as a stage play than a film because of its heavy dialogue. The cinematic part occurs midway when the camera starts to show the city from far above with intent, owing to the extraterrestrial twist in the film. There are no actual aliens shown in the film, but someone alienated does visit the Meyersons, and their world undergoes a change. There are some strong performances in the film, but Richard Kind leaves an unforgettable impact, even though he doesn’t have a lot of screen time.

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Spoilers Ahead


Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

The Meyersons were a bunch of eclectic individuals. The patriarch was nowhere in the picture, but from way up from Dr. Terri Meyerson, the matriarch, to all the way down to the bottom, the youngest Daniel Meyerson, they had some unique preoccupation to deal with. There was little to no sentimentality in the family. Daniel seemed to be sincere, which was why he was planning to become a Rabbi, or maybe his religious education had changed him for the better. Daniel’s two sisters, younger Susie and elder Daphne were polar opposites of each other. Susie was caring and a little more vibrant, while Daphne had grown cynical but not a defeatist. The eldest Roland was a walking contradiction, as he seemed like a Wall Street banker but was preoccupied with the human condition. There were a few extended members, like Terri’s mother Celeste, Roland’s wife Ilaria and her daughter, and Daphne’s husband. The day began and the Meyersons got busy, but in the end, they were supposed to meet because Daniel had a surprise planned. Before Daniel could share the big news, aliens’ existence was confirmed.

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What Was Each Member Of The Meyerson Family After?

The Meyersons are depicted as typical New York residents who have an ironic distance from life. Maybe not Daniel, who constantly questioned Father Joe about hell and heaven and what his own fate was. Daniel seemed to be in search of God, or rather, he badly wanted God to exist; otherwise, he would have to face crippling meaninglessness. His girlfriend teased him and always countered his arguments for the existence of God, and the matter became more complicated after the aliens’ existence was confirmed. Daphne wanted to be sensible all her life. She didn’t want to have another kid with her husband, Alan, as she wanted to live for herself. She was in fact pregnant and had an abortion without telling Alan, which created a conflict in their relationship, but not for long. Susie was hearing impaired and was trying to make a mark in the world by closing deals with clients. Roland wanted to chat nonstop about the nature of mankind and the current condition of the world. Terri wanted to know why there were some kids who died early while others lived longer. The hopelessness had been accepted rather well by the Meyersons, and they were dealing with it in very nonchalant ways or through religion.


How Did The Extraterrestrial Element Affect Everybody’s Life?

Now that it has been confirmed that aliens exist, the most impacted seems to be Father Joe, who simply cannot fathom its meaning. Do aliens go to hell or heaven? If they believe in Jesus Christ, they do go to heaven, which Father Joe had to maintain. Daniel was perturbed, but not in a radical fashion, as this was also an exciting opening for him, as well as the other Meyersons, to break free of whatever notion of reality they were holding on to. Daphne, who might have suppressed her real feelings as to how she wanted to conduct herself in the world, seemed to really become carefree. Her love for Alan, which was fading a bit, returned with all its colors, and she became excited by the new aliens. This can be explained by the fact that the set pattern of everyday reality has just gone through a seismic shift. The aliens stood for possibility. Everything was possible now, and for the Meyersons, this meant they could live any way they wanted. There could be acceptance, where once there was bitterness and resentment. Maybe that’s why Alan and Daphne could resolve their conflict regarding the abortion. As for Terri, she may have had an answer to her question regarding death. Maybe the aliens could save the children she couldn’t as a doctor. The aliens had yet to visit the earth, but without the news of their existence, they perhaps wouldn’t have reacted as they did to Daniel’s surprise later in the day.

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Why Had Morty Meyerson Abandoned His Family?

In between the flashbacks, Morty Meyerson, the head of the Meyerson family, was shown having conversations with each one of his children, one by one. The exact year is unknown, but this was a time when Daniel was just a kid, while Roland was in high school. In each conversation, Morty tried to communicate something important to his children, but they didn’t seem to understand. Daphne got the closest to the heart of the matter, where Morty confessed to having suicidal thoughts. He was definitely having some problems that he wasn’t able to overcome. Morty thought that his presence wasn’t going to help the children; on the contrary, he might unknowingly hurt the family. He described this to Daphne and hinted that he almost rammed the car into an oncoming truck while the kids were sleeping in the car. This was a clear indication that he was aware of his suicidal tendencies and was struggling to deal with them. He wanted to leave the family as soon as possible for his own well-being as well as theirs.

Daniel had the Meyersons gathered in a small cafe, brought in Morty Meyerson, and really shocked everybody. The Meyersons didn’t have a penchant for melodrama. Terri, Morty’s wife, saw the frail and stroke-ridden Morty and asked him to sit down before Roland could storm out. Daniel tried talking some sense into Roland, telling him to calm down and let bygones be bygones. In fact, Roland knew that Morty was alive, and he was living somewhere in Oslo. He had seen that his daughter was contacted by someone on the internet who simply asked for family photos, and through the email ‘morty_in_oslo’, he knew that it was his dad. But Roland never contacted Morty as he thought Morty deserved the isolation for having abandoned his family. Terri remembered the day Morty had left the family and how he had promised he would return. Decades had passed, but here he was. He had contacted Daniel himself and was perhaps out of depression. If he is to be believed, he was hit by lightning, which caused a stroke in his body. Morty seemed to be at peace, which is why he had returned, and even though Roland didn’t forgive him, he was glad that he wasn’t depressed like he had been at his age. Would Terri forgive him? I think so. The catharsis during The Magnificent Meyersons‘ ending indicates that the resentments were over and that the most important thing in this unpredictable and chaotic, alien-confirmed existence—having loved ones close by—is one of the most meaningful things for anybody, even the Meyersons!

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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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