‘A Gentleman In Moscow’ Ending Explained & Finale Recap: Does Sofia Reach America Safely?


Boy, that was a lot! And I mean it in a good way, as I get all misty here. Through the bipolar peaks and valleys of A Gentleman in Moscow, we’ve practically become a silent group of well-wishers for the Count in his strange incarceration. And as the time comes for him to be set free, in a manner of speaking, A Gentleman in Moscow hits us with that sweet old Hollywood sentimentality.

Spoiler Alert

Does Sofia agree to go to America?

The Count’s an absolute mess. The little girl he’s spent decades playing with is now the young woman in the beautiful blue gown Marina’s sewn for her as her farewell gift. As Anna adds her token of love to this bittersweet moment by giving Sofia the expensive necklace she got for herself with her first salary, the look on the Count’s face is a mix of fatherly pride and sadness. He can’t delay letting Sofia in on the plan any longer. But just to make her agree to give her future in America a chance, the Count reassures her that he and Anna will be joining her later. Sofia’s clearly inherited her mother’s instincts for rebellion. And the Count and Anna don’t have to work much at all to get her to come on board with the plan. In case you don’t remember, the Count made a deal with his American spy friend Richard Vanderwhile. Once her performance in Paris is over, Sofia’d need to get out of the auditorium in disguise and deliver the recording the Count’s made of the Russian ministers to the US embassy. The possibility of getting caught doesn’t scare Sofia for one sole reason. She’s been told that after she’s done her part and gotten on the plane to America, the Count and Anna will head to Finland and board a steamer to New York. How could she not do everything in her power to give her family a chance to be free?

How does the Count cope with saying goodbye to Sofia?

It’s not that the Count and Anna are explicitly lying to Sofia, but they both know that the chances of them getting to Finland and then to America are extremely slim. Sofia’s kind enough to play along, even though she’s well aware that the night before she leaves for Paris is her last night with them. Anna’s just as graceful as ever, keeping her misery contained. Neither she nor Sofia acknowledge that this may be their last moment together, but the tears betray their denial as Anna leaves Sofia with a piece of advice she’d need going forward in life: walk like the ground beneath your feet belongs to you. But Sofia knows that if the Count doesn’t get to give her a proper send-off, he’ll live with the same regret that’s crippled him ever since Helena’s passing. He’s a father who’s sacrificing everything to give his daughter a shot at a better future, and denial is too insincere a thing between these two. While Sofia gets the Count to admit that they’re likely parting ways forever, she also leaves him with a special gift. The Count’s made a lot of grave mistakes in life—grave enough to make regret his constant companion. By reminding him that every mistake he’s ever made has led to him becoming her papa, Sofia relieves him of the burden he’s been carrying all his life. And after Sofia walks out of Metropol, it’s the same wisdom the Count imparts to his friends, the Metropol staff, as he toasts the unpredictability of the course of life and how he owes all his happiness to the mistakes that have determined it. 

Goodbyes all around

Stories like the Count’s almost invariably run the risk of coming off toxic-positive. The only way the Count’s journey stands apart is by showing us how his optimism has nourished so many lives and bounced back to fulfill his own life, too. In an earlier episode, the Count went out of his way to recommend the right wine to pair with the food to a couple. Unbeknownst to him, he gave them something to talk about. And since they’re grateful to the Count for the inadvertent matchmaking he did, his last night at the Metropol is made all the more special by the bottle of wine they sent. The Count’s last dance with Anna could’ve been a morose affair. But what it turns out to be is the moment the two of them take to acknowledge that their love has been the best and most surprising gift they’ve been given. He’s eternally grateful to the staff at the Metropol, too. And he leaves letters for each of them, along with little souvenirs to remember him by. But the most painful goodbye yet is the one the Count doesn’t expect. The new regime has sentenced Osip to death. And now that he’s certain that he’ll never see him again, Osip doesn’t miss the chance to admit that he sees the Count as his friend. It takes Osip reaching the end of the road to understand the complicated dynamics between Javert and Valjean in “Les Misérables.” And the realization comes from his own experience with an enemy of the state. 

Does Sofia Reach America Safely?

There are a lot of moving parts in the plans for both parties—the one in Paris and those in Metropol—but there’s not a lot of room for improvisation. And what do you know? The things that could go wrong do indeed go wrong. Sofia was supposed to be early on the roster of performers. She was to then chop off her long hair, wear a disguise, blend in with the crowd, and walk out. But director Tarkovsky’s last-minute change means Sofia would now be the penultimate performance instead of the second. And that leaves her with even less time to perfect her disguise. On the other end, the Count and Anna were supposed to pick up the Finnish passports that the staff stole from guests at the hotel. As Anna waits at the train station for the Count to arrive, Manager Leplevsky gets a whiff of their plan, rummages through the Count’s belongings, and gets his paws on the stolen passports. 

When the reward’s as big as a chance to start over, the hurdles can’t be too easy to cross. With the grim consequences of getting caught breathing down her neck, Sofia pulls off the escape just in the nick of time. The Count’s no less of a hero, either. Pointing two antique pistols that belonged to the old manager of Metropol at Leplevsky, the Count gets him to go down to the boiler room with all the files containing information on people who matter to the Count. Leplevsky’s chained down as the Count burns the files in the furnace that was once a thing of fascination for Nina. In the ending sequence, ready to depart the hotel, the Count waits for the sign of confirmation that Sofia’s reached the embassy safely. It was decided that Richard would call all the lines at the Metropol if the operation went smoothly. The frown on the Count’s face disappears when the entirety of the Metropol rings aloud as if to celebrate Sofia’s success.

In A Gentleman in Moscow‘s ending, Sofia goes on to make the most of life, which was a gift to her from her papa and Anna. And on Osip’s earnest request, Anna boards the train without the Count. Although we do see the Count walking out through the Metropol’s revolving door, we can’t know for sure what becomes of him. Adult Sofia, the one who’s been narrating the Count’s story to us, never saw the Count and Anna again. While she does like to imagine that they got away and made a happy life for themselves, there’s no way to tell if that dream ever really came true. There’s one detail in the sequence we see of the Count and Anna in a humble cottage that tells us that it’s imaginary. There’s a tree with black fruits near the cottage. And if you remember the Count’s story about the mystical tree with black fruits, you know that it can’t actually exist. It was said that eating that fruit gave a person the chance to start over their life. And that wishful thinking is exactly what the tree represents in the imaginary utopia we see the Count and Anna in. 

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Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjee
In cinema, Lopamudra finds answers to some fundamental questions of life. And since jotting things down always makes overthinking more fun, writing is her way to give this madness a meaning.

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