‘Trading Places’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Happens To Mdu And Zeno?

Trading Places, currently streaming on Netflix, is a romantic comedy portraying an estranged couple who get to know each other better after their bodies get swapped. These days, we do not get to see much of the body-swap comedies that were a hit during the 90s. Films like Vice Versa (1988), where a body-swap between the father-son duo occurs, have been missing from the list of comedies in current times. Will Mduduzi and Zenokuhle be able to understand each other’s emotions better after the swap? Will they decide to stick to each other or split up in the process? The movie is intriguing and will keep us seeking answers to many more similar questions. 


Spoilers Ahead

How Did Mduduzi And Zenokuhle Meet?

Mdu spotted Zeno standing outside a pub all by herself, waiting for her friend Azizwe to come, as she did not have the tickets to go to the concert. He approached her, telling her that he had tickets to the concert and they could go in together. Zeno agreed, as she was left stranded on the road by her friend in the middle of the night. Despite being complete strangers, Zeno and Mdu enjoyed each other’s company thoroughly. While they were returning from the party, Mdu and Zeno exchanged their opinions, thought that their vibes matched, and decided to date each other.


What Became Of Their Relationship After A Few Years?

The decision was quite quick, but the years seemed to fly by in a jiffy. Zeno and Mdu stuck by each other’s side for 5 years, and they started noticing the cracks in their relationship. They started fighting and finding each other’s faults in everything that they did. It is a very common phase for a couple who have been together for a long time. Some people are able to tackle it efficiently, while others fall apart. However, Zeno was unable to bear the pangs of their failing relationship and asked Mdu if she wanted a breakup. Mdu was shattered by her decision and still wanted to give the relationship the last chance. 

They decided to host a party to bring all their friends together so that they could have a good time together. Azizwe came and told them that she had traveled all across the world to get them a special statue, which would restore peace and happiness back in their lives. Right after the couple had placed the statue in their bedroom, something miraculous happened! The next day, when they woke up, both Mdu and Zeno had had a body swap. 


What Conflicts Arose After The Body Swap?

The body swap between the couple was supposed to help them understand each other better, but it came with a series of inconveniences! They were initially unable to understand each other’s passions and professions. Mdu was not able to deal with the idea of giving advice to people after getting an understanding of their psyche. Zeno was unable to deal with the MDU’s profession as a director. She couldn’t handle the moody celebrities and realized that Mdu had to deal with a lot on a regular basis. 

As Mdu and Zeno were stuck in each other’s bodies, they were also confused about the hormonal changes in their bodies. Mdu was unable to process the mood swings, the PMS-ing, and the cramps that he was experiencing. Zeno also understood the way in which Mdu’s mind was working, as she saw herself assessing things differently, being in a man’s body. 


The couple also got to know small details about each other, which was almost on the verge of breaking them up. But they realized that they couldn’t win their battles without each other. Mdu got to know that Zeno’s assistant at work, Leonard, was extremely touchy and that she had talked to him about her feelings for Mdu. Zeno, on the other hand, learned that Mdu had made out with a woman at work as part of a bet. They were extremely mad at each other for not maintaining transparency and blamed each other for their flaws. 

How Did The Body Swap Help Their Relationship?

Despite the conflicts that the body swap had created between them, they had slowly started to understand each other better. They decided to work on their relationship and help each other move forward in life. Mdu prepared well to present an app that Zeno had created to ensure that counseling sessions could be done from the comfort of one’s home. He supported her thoughts and explained to the investors how the ideas of a black woman were often overlooked. He realized that she had to face misogyny and awkward stares from strangers on the street. Mdu realized how uncomfortable it is for a woman to be having cramps while she is on her period, or even wearing a bra the entire day. He realized the struggles that a woman had to undergo on a regular basis, which helped him empathize with her.


Zeno also realized that being a man was a tough task and was not as easy as it looked. She understood how confused Mdu’s mind was all the time and how his hormones made him clueless about things all the time. She was also facing difficulty at his work and, hence, realized how strenuous his job was. 

Did Mdu And Zeno Decide To Stick To Each Other?

Zeno suggested that they should be working on repairing their relationship instead of always trying to look down on each other. They started a couple’s therapy practice where they asked each other a few questions about themselves. They had started to get to know each other from scratch, which was slowly starting to heal their relationship. They had chosen to stick by each other in adverse situations and tried to provide a safe space and help each other out, even when times got hard. Zeno said that instead of just criticizing each other, they should compliment each other and appreciate efforts as much as possible, as it would help in covering up the negativity in their relationship.


Eventually, when they got their bodies back, both Zeno and Mdu realized that they had been too harsh on their relationship. They were finally able to get back to their own professions and nailed it at work. They started respecting each other’s professions as well as realizing that the jobs that their partners were doing were not easy. They finally apologized to each other and promised to stick by each other. Finally, Mdu proposed to Zeno for marriage, and she agreed. 

Final Thoughts

The film Trading Places is not a conventional love story as it has a twist of the supernatural to it. I wish some supernatural entity could fix broken relationships in real life too! This movie makes us understand the importance of compromises and transparency in a relationship. If one really wishes to save a relationship, then they have to put in their best, keeping in mind the happy memories that they have made as a couple. This film has elements of comedy, adding more layers and a sense of feel-good to the plot, saving its audiences from the horror of monotony. There are also elements of anti-racist and anti-sexist intonations, which have been presented quite subtly in the film, making it a worthwhile watch. 


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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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