“Who Are You People” is about the hyperactive and expressive Alexandra or Alex (Ema Horvath), who, from a very young age, feels that she doesn’t belong to the family. Her father, Carey (John Ales), is a lawyer who is worried about working for the disenfranchised and couldn’t care less about those against him. Her mother, Judith (Alyssa Milano), was a party girl before marrying Carey, but after marrying him, she became a different person. She was into the superficial profession of public relations and was good at switching from external euphoria to detaching from the world. Her twin sisters were products of modern-day technology, i.e., IVF (In vitro fertilization). Alex asks this question, “Who are you people?” when she feels distant, uncaring, or receives less attention.
But when she gets to know that her mother has kept something hidden from her about her biological father, she tries to dig in. She gets hold of a letter from Karl Hendrix and travels from Portland to Newburgh, Washington, to learn more. What she discovers is beautiful yet shattering. She feels excited but later uncomfortable. She gets upset, angry, and crazy, yet she is connected to someone she can call her own. The director Ben Epstein has created this contemplative marvel, discussing biological relationships, human passion, violence, and the importance of nurturing mental health.
What Is Alex’s Reaction When The Question ‘Who Are You People?’ Doesn’t Recede But Gets Louder In Her Mind?
Alex tries different ways to respond to the question. She writes about it and shares it with her teacher, Rohan Amira (Siddharth Dhananjay). She paints and asks her mother for her opinion. And when she doesn’t find her family giving her the needed attention, she starts to make advances toward her teacher, Rohan. She invites him home to share about the book he has been writing on soldiers’ experiences, cultural dislocation, and World War I. But as he narrates, she touches him. As her teacher, Rohan finds it inappropriate and wants to leave, but Alex holds him back and kisses him. Rohan cannot resist and therefore gives in. Alex’s parents catch them getting intimate and therefore decide to press charges against the teacher and send Alex to a boarding school.
When Alex’s parents discuss their moral obligation to press charges against the teacher and the reason behind the occurrence of this incident, Alex eavesdrops. And unfortunately, Carey remarks that Alex hasn’t inherited this deviant action from him, which implies that Judith is responsible for it. Judith sits by herself and thinks of the unfortunate event that happened, and Alex notices it. Alex wants to know more and, therefore, gets hold of the letter written by Karl Hendrix.
Who Is Karl Hendrix, And Why Is He Important?
Alex is supposed to go to the boarding school, but she escapes and goes to Newburgh, Washington, to meet Karl and find out more. The letter was written six months before she was born; therefore, she has her doubts and wants to clarify them. When she meets Karl and his cousin Sarah Kelly (Yeardley Smith), they are surprised because Judith has never informed Karl about their daughter. Karl is blatantly unwilling to interact with her and brushes away all her questions. Alex, without giving a break, is curious to know more about her father, Karl. She wants to know when Karl and her mother first met, how they met, and what exactly happened between them.
But at times, she assumes and doesn’t want to listen to the reality Karl is reluctant to share. Karl is a mechanic working at Kelly and Sons Mechanical Station. But before that, he was a passionate artist who traveled to Portland to sell his artwork. But since his work didn’t sell, he fell into a drinking problem. And that’s when he met Judith, who was married to Carey but was upset about going to different doctors to find out the reason behind her infertility. Karl and Judith connected and drank so much that they couldn’t control themselves. Later, they kissed, but it escalated to further intimate action, which Judith didn’t agree to. The intimacy led to Judith’s pregnancy, and Alex was born. Karl and Judith part ways and Karl returns to Newburgh and continues his drunken life. On one occasion, he gets into a fight with Brandon at a bar, and injures him so badly he can no longer apply to join the army. Karl states that he fought with Brandon because he saw him abusing a girl.
Nevertheless, when Alex finds out the truth from her mother, she feels that she is dirty and unwanted and that she shouldn’t exist. She detested Karl at that moment and didn’t want to forgive him. She meets her gay friend Arthur and wants to be intimate with him. But then he feels uncomfortable and evidently lets Alex, who is going through mixed emotions, know about it. She feels lost and opens up to Arthur and is the simple soul that she is; her questions are answered as to who these people were and are. And therefore, she embraces reality, although reluctantly, and gives Karl a chance. She is not too keen on therapy but resorts to it to get a different perspective and live a better life. And her parents, who were once occupied with their work, started to take notice of not just the twin sisters but also of her, and they, too, visited the therapist to set their mental health straight.
‘Who Are You People’ Ending Explained – What Is Alex Looking For In Newburgh?
As soon as Alex gets the letter and reads it, she feels the need to know more about Karl Hendrix. She wants to know why Karl was sorry and what exactly happened between him and her mother, Judith. Alex travels to Newburgh instead of going to her boarding school, cheating her parents as well as the school authorities. She also doesn’t reveal to Karl that she has skipped classes and come to meet him, but she quite affirmatively responds to his request to check with her parents to see whether or not she is on a break. Alex has a bunch of questions that she wants to be answered, and therefore, one by one, she shoots them at Karl. Karl is not very patient; he gets uncomfortable and shuts up Alex most of the time, wanting her to go back to her parent’s house.
Alex doesn’t give up; she keeps at it even though she gets upset. They connect when Karl listens to music and works on a model airplane. They have a discussion on what music is and whose music is the best, Mozart’s or Beethoven’s. Karl states that Mozart’s music is mathematical and that his notes were never out of place. The music was, for sure, clear and in perfect order. And on the other hand, the music of Beethoven was emotional and dangerous and had an order unlike that of Mozart. They connect on the grounds that both of them are artists and very great ones at that. Karl wants Alex to stay with her and to make her part of his life. But then, reality kicks in. Karl wants to share that the relationship between him and Judith wasn’t an appropriate one or that Judith conceived Alex when Judith actually didn’t want it to happen. Alex was looking for her biological father, and she found him, but this biological father had forced himself onto her mother, although he did not want to hurt her. Alex realizes that it is all a matter of what we believe. Karl believed that he didn’t force himself on Judith and that he positively took the signals from her. Judith believed that Karl took advantage of her vulnerability. Carey believed that Judith was responsible for whatever happened; he didn’t really care, respect, or pay attention to the stress she was going through. And ultimately, Alex believes that Karl is good and deserves another chance.