‘The Sweet East’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: How Did Lillian Meet Mohammad? 

The Sweet East is a 2024 movie that feels like an enchanted kingdom of a modern-day Alice in Wonderland, directed by Sean Price Williams. It follows a high school senior named Lillian as she embarks on a school trip, setting off on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she encounters various people who help her explore different aspects of herself, prompting her to adopt different names and personalities. As Lillian interacts with the world around her, she realizes that people and places may not be exactly as they seem. Through these experiences, she begins to understand that there is much more to both the world and herself than meets the eye. Despite not fully knowing who she is, she embraces the opportunity to explore and discover her true self through this journey.


Spoilers Ahead 

How Did Caleb Influence Lillian On Her Journey? 

Lillian goes on a school trip but feels lonely and disconnected from her classmates, even from her boyfriend, who seems to be mingling with everyone else, leaving her feeling alone. Looking at the mirror in the restaurant bathroom, she compares herself to a lost cat with bruises and scars, feeling hurt and out of place, much like Alice did while looking through the magical looking-glass in Alice in Wonderland. Suddenly, while they’re having dinner at a restaurant, a gunman attacks, asking the manager about kids being assaulted in the hotel basement. Everyone is terrified, but a boy named Caleb comes to the rescue, leading Lillian through a hidden doorway in the bathroom, like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. This event marks the beginning of Lillian’s real journey of self-discovery. Initially, she considers returning to the restaurant to join her friends, but the thought of exploring the world beyond her comfort zone draws her toward Caleb and his friends. They take her to their dormitory, where she witnesses a different way of living, with discussions about social and political issues and artistic activism known as “artivism.” Caleb plans to protest against the gunman’s actions, believing it’s essential to understand his motives and stand up for what’s right. Despite learning that Caleb comes from a wealthy background and may not face the consequences of his activism like others will, Lillian decides to join him. She sees this as an opportunity to experience activism firsthand and understand what it means to fight for people’s rights.


How  Did  Lawrence Help Lillian? 

Lillian finds herself in a park far from the city, surrounded by tall grass and bothersome mosquitoes. She questions her decision to be there. When she arrives, she encounters Lawrence, an academic specializing in poetry who teaches at the university. Lawrence, a white man, expresses his desire to support racial justice, despite the risks involved. He believes that votes are merely indicators of how social, political, and economic structures affect marginalized groups in America. Lillian, introducing herself as Annabell and concealing her true identity, bonds with Lawrence over a meal. Lillian manipulates the situation by sharing a fabricated story about her being in a cruel past relationship. Lawrence sympathizes and offers to help, taking her shopping and inviting her to stay with him until her situation improves. Lillian takes advantage of his kindness, enjoying free food and lodging. As they become friends, they share their views on society, lamenting the influence of reality TV and political manipulation on young minds. Lawrence felt like the character Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, with his clear-headed logic and intellect. But one day, when Lawrence receives a mysterious red bag from a tattooed man, Lillian’s suspicions grow that Lawrence is hiding something beneath his intellectual facade. As Lawrence told her that he was going to be in New York next week for extracurricular activities, Lillian persuaded him to take her with him. While at the hotel, she discovers the red bag filled with money. Seizing the opportunity, she decides to take the bag and run away, leaving Lawrence behind without hesitation.

How Did Lillian Meet Mohammad? 

As Lillian flees from the hotel with the bag of money, she encounters two casting directors, Matthew and Molly, who see her as a perfect fit for their period drama. After a successful audition, they offer her a role and a place to stay at their aunt’s house in New York. Feeling like the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Alice in Wonderland, they welcome Lillian into the world of acting, where she proves her talent. Meanwhile, Lillian’s parents are searching for her, believing she may be in danger. However, Lillian is happy and enjoying her newfound freedom, making headlines in tabloids with her co-star Ian, whom she begins to grow feelings for. During a shoot, the tattooed man who dropped the bag of money at Lawrence’s house, shooting guns to find Lillian. She escapes with a spot boy named Mohammad, who resembles the mock turtle from Alice in Wonderland, as a sentimental creature. Mohammad locks Lillian in a cabin with his sweet talk and kindness, feeling conflicted about letting her go due to his own frustrations with his brothers and their religious camp. Once Lillian figures out Mohammad’s plan to keep her locked up, she manages to break free. But then she runs into Mohammad’s brother and his crew. Using her wits, she convinces them she’s just looking for her lost dog in the forest, not mentioning a word about being held captive. With her quick thinking and charm, she escapes from there yet again.


During The Sweet East‘ ending, Lillian finally realizes that it has been a really long journey and now it’s time for her to go home. Reflecting on her experiences, she sees her adventure as a curious dream, akin to Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Along the way, she experimented with different roles—poet, actress, and storyteller—and even turned to theft to survive. She feels that in this world, it seems like survival is the key to navigating life. Drawing parallels to Alice’s adventures, Lillian sees her own quest as an attempt to escape familial issues and feelings of isolation from friends and family. Running away felt like stepping into a wonderful dream where she could be anyone she wanted to be. Despite the risks and challenges, she doesn’t regret her actions. Each experience has shaped her into a person full of flaws and complexities, from smuggling to stardom under various identities. As she returns home, Lillian knows her parents will never fully understand or know what she’s been through in the past month. Her journey in the “wonderland” of life will remain a personal story that only she knows about. 

Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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