‘The Tearsmith’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Do Nica And Rigel Get Their Happy Ending?

Every love story is a fairytale, right? Love has been the central point of the earliest literature, and it still hasn’t changed much. Adapted from Erin Doom’s novel, the 2024 Italian romance drama film The Tearsmith is the story of two kids growing up in a claustrophobic orphanage, only to break the shackles when they’re older. 


Spoilers Ahead

How Does Nica End Up In The Orphanage?

Nica is an 8-year-old girl who grew up listening to fairy tales. She loses her parents in a car accident, leaving little Nica all alone. Nica is sent to Sunny Creek Orphanage, where she meets Margaret. Margaret is in charge of the orphanage, and she has set three rules for the kids that they must adhere to: “order, respect, and obedience.” No kid can have their personal belongings in the orphanage, and Rigel snatches her pendant, Nica’s last memento of her mother. Margaret is a ringmaster and has zero empathy for any kid except Rigel. When Nica cries, she tells her that crying won’t bring back what she’s already lost. Margaret runs the orphanage like a jailor would run a prison. She breaks any hopes and dreams the kids have, and the dark cellars kill the souls who have so much to offer. Nica’s only friend is Adeline, and they promise to have each other’s backs in the “grave” they’re stuck in. 


Who Adopts Nica?

Nica has grown up, and now she’s a teenager. Her dream of having a family finally comes true when a couple, Anna and Norman, come to adopt her. Margaret warns her that this is only a trial, and if she creates any problems, she’ll be coming back to the orphanage. Just when they’re about to leave, someone playing the piano draws the attention of the couple. Rigel is playing the piano, and he’s almost lost while doing it. Rigel has always been wanted by countless people since he was a child, but he’s always refused to be adopted. When Anna and Norman offer to adopt him, he agrees. 

Nica has always been cautious and somewhat scared of Rigel. She thinks Rigel is the wolf of her fairytale, and getting close to him will only end any chance she has in life. She tries to tell him that she doesn’t want to lose this freedom she just got, and Rigel seems distant and arrogant. He tells Nica to stay out of his room, and they’ll be fine. Anna and Norman have lost their son, but their behavior towards Nica and Rigel is nothing but wholesome. Anna radiates caring mother energy, and Norman isn’t very vocal about his feelings like most fathers, but he makes sure that the kids are okay. 


What Happens At The New School?

Nica and Rigel start their new school, and Nica instantly meets a new friend, Billie, from the student council. Billie walks with Nica to introduce her to Miki, Billie’s best friend. A guy named Phelps makes a comment about wanting to sleep with Nica. Rigel hears of this while passing by. Before the first class can begin, Rigel beats Phelps to a pulp, much to everyone’s amusement. Phelps’ friend Lionel seems sketchy too, but Rigel leaves after reminding Nica that they’re not related. 

How Do Nica And Rigel Get Closer? 

Rigel comes off as a tough guy who’s trying too hard to make Nica believe that he hates her. Nica knows Rigel is a red flag, but her longing for Rigel only keeps growing. Olivia Rodrigo’s “Vampire” is just the right song to signify Nica’s feelings for him. When Nica starts to hang out with Lionel, Rigel gets jealous. Rigel has always cared about Nica since they were kids, but he’s never admitted his feelings to her. Whenever Margaret locked Nica in the dark cellar and tied her up, Rigel always held her hands. The pendant he snatched from her, he has kept it safe with the utmost care so that nothing happens to it. He even cut his hands once to distract Margaret and stop her from punishing Nica. Margaret made Rigel believe that he’s the wolf of the story, and Rigel believed it. All the buried feelings he has for Nica have kept piling up all these years. Nica receives a text from Lionel saying that Rigel has beat him up, and Rigel comes back home drenched in rain. 


Nica can’t confront Rigel right away; he’s burning up. Anna and Norman are out of town, and Nica takes Rigel to his bed. Both of them lose their inhibitions, and Rigel seeks comfort from the person he’s always loved. Nica could sense that Rigel wasn’t a lost cause. Rigel believes that if he and Nica get any closer, Nica’s dream of having a family will be over. He tells Anna that he can’t be their son, and he leaves the house. 

What Happens On Dance Night?

Miki and Billie have a fallout when Miki confesses her love for Billie. Nica goes to the dance night without her girlfriends, and Lionel asks her for a dance. After a while, Nica feels uncomfortable, and Lionel takes her to the chemistry lab. He forces himself on Nica, and she constantly tells him to stop. Meanwhile, Rigel had changed his mind, and he came to the dance looking for Nica. Lionel is about to rape Nica, but Rigel arrives just in the nick of time. Lionel runs off after getting beaten up again, but he warns Rigel that it’s not over. Nica can’t hold herself back anymore, and both of them finally let their guards down. Rigel and Nica make love like it’s the end of the world, and it’s sweet that after all these years of hiding their feelings, they let each other know their longing. 


Does Lionel Kill Nica And Rigel? 

By now, you’d think that this is the happy ending two abused kids deserve, but what’s a romance without someone else trying to destroy it? Lionel finds Nica and Rigel walking by the bridge, and he pulls out the brother-sister card and tells them that they shouldn’t be together. Lionel goes back inside his car and wants to run them over. Both of them run for their lives as Lionel keeps driving for vengeance. They jump in the water, and Rigel looks like he’s drowning. Nica opens her eye in a hospital, and she finds Adeline by her bed. She can’t find Rigel, and eventually, the doctor tells her that Rigel is in a coma. When they jumped in the water, Rigel took the fall harder, and that saved Nica’s life. Rigel had a neuroma in his brain, and this injury made it worse. The constant headaches and fevers he used to have started to make sense to Nica. Adeline tells her that Margaret won’t let anyone see Rigel, and a guy named Peter from the orphanage is suing Margaret for the abuse she’s inflicted on all of them. 

Do Nica And Rigel Get Their Happy Ending?

Nica can only get justice for Rigel if Margaret is found guilty. All those years in the orphanage, Rigel was made to see the other kids getting punished, and there’s nothing he can do. Peter succumbs to the pressure, and he refuses to testify against Margaret. Margaret’s attorney intimidates Nica badly, and she breaks down and runs from the courtroom. Anna calms her down, and for the first time in her life, Nica has someone who’s urging her to fight for herself. Nica comes back, testifies against Margaret, and proves that Rigel wouldn’t go back to her because he knows he’s loved. She runs out of the courtroom again, where everyone is giving a standing ovation for her testimony. This time, she runs to see the love of her life. Rigel wakes up, and the movie ends with both of them happily married, with their kid learning to draw. 


Nica coped with her misery and abuse with fairytales. Tearsmith is a man who weeps in a world where nobody else can cry. Nica started to think that Rigel is the wolf from the fairytales, who is ghastly and only harms people. The time they spend together after getting adopted helps Nica realize how Rigel is so much more than a wolf. Her mother told her that wolves are only bad because someone said they are, and there’s no point assuming they’re bad. A wolf spared Nica’s life when her parents died in the car crash. She realizes that Rigel is the Tearsmith of her life, who could either tear her apart with pain or make her the happiest person on the planet, making her cry nonetheless. 

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Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

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