A Very Good Girl plays that game with its audience, where it takes their expectations on a roller coaster, only for them to end in a huge disappointment. However, the high points of the ride are enough to not dismiss the movie right away, and the following is a summary and ending of A Very Good Girl.
Why does Philo want revenge from Molly, aka Mother?
It would be better to refer to Molly as Mother for the rest of the article, since that name is crucial to her identity and role in the film. Philomena Angeles’ real name is Mercy, and she was fired from her job by Mother over a rather trivial issue. Mercy came from a very poor background, and her mother, Conchita, decided to beg Mother to give Mercy back her job. She trusted Mother’s reputation as a wholesome businesswoman who cared for the less fortunate around her, but that turned out to be a farce. Mother insulted Conchita and threw some more money at her. Conchita was hit by a vehicle, and instead of helping her, Mother ran away from the spot. Conchita died, and Mercy’s family fell apart. Since then, Mercy has wanted nothing but revenge from Mother, whose hidden evil nature was the cause of the tragic state of Mercy’s life. She wants to show the world who Mother really is and prove that her ‘good nature’ is nothing but a marketing gimmick to sustain her businesses.
How does Philo become a part of Mother’s inner circle?
Philo makes an impression on Mother by gifting her an item she wants in exchange for spending a day with her. Philo says that she is trying to recreate the feeling of having a mother since hers died a while back, and she will do anything for the sake of it. Essentially, Philo is creating a persona that adores Mother, so that the latter lets her guard down and allows her into her inner circle.
Philo becomes friends with Zab, who is the face of Mother’s businesses, and through her, she comes to know about a money laundering scheme that Mother is involved in. Zab and Mother fall out when Philo reveals that the former is leaving for Paris, and the latter leaks an explicit video of her through Philo as her revenge. This is the start of Philo’s revenge getting clouded by questionable actions because what she was forced to do was a very disgraceful thing, but it was necessary to support the persona she was creating of the unhinged mother worshiper.
Philo has created the image of a rich girl who is just doing it out of devotion and not as a job. For this, she and her sister are already scamming a man named Luke, whose money is funding the pretense of this lifestyle. Philo slowly takes over the job of Mother’s assistant by getting the previous one a better job and subsequently leaving her own employment. Philo’s next target is Charles, Mother’s close aide, and he proves to be a lot trickier than Philo could have expected. He has been sexually harassing one of the other employees, named Joenna, and Philo joins hands with her to take him down. She gets the code on his iPad for some information, but before she can do anything, he tries to assault her. Philo escapes in time, and Mother witnesses the whole thing, but she doesn’t want to take action since it could ‘affect the company.’ Therefore, as usual, Philo takes matters into her own hands. She blackmails Charles to reveal the scam run by Mother or risk having himself revealed as a sexual offender. Charles agrees to become a whistleblower, but his fragile ego makes him insist that the women are ‘asking for it.’ We are glad to say that Philo served a fitting punishment. However, once Charles turns against Mother, her business comes to a standstill, and that ends up affecting her relationship with Philo as well.
Does Philo get revenge on Mother?
Mother gets out of jail by pinning the entire blame on Charles, which means that Philo’s mission is far from over. She needs to get back into Mother’s circle, who is not in the mood to trust anyone right now. Therefore, Philo arranges a fake stabbing of herself to prove that she is still loyal to Mother. As expected, that brings the two of them extremely close, and they start living as actual mother and daughter. Mother has the person who stabbed Philo killed, and the latter is unable to say anything about this. It is another thing she has had to do that has affected an innocent person. Over time, Mother and Philo become so close that they end up confessing their secrets to each other.
To encourage Mother to open up, Philo tells her about the time she accidentally harmed an unborn child. Philo’s father had cheated on her mother, and Philo was angry about the family breaking apart, which had caused her to do that. Philo admits her regret, and we can tell that this is not a lie told in favor of her persona as Philo but the truth. Mother confesses to her regret of leaving Conchita for dead and driving away. Philo believes that with this confession that she has secretly recorded, she has all the evidence she needs against Mother, and she goes back home. Her plan is to hand that over to the police and move to another city with her sister. But that day, they meet a girl who claims to be their stepsister. She is the girl that Philo believed she had killed as an unborn child, and therefore, in a moment of overwhelming emotions, Philo doesn’t even do her due diligence and accepts her into the house.
The next day, when Philo goes to the police, she is told that her evidence is inadmissible. Just then, she gets a call from her sister, Karen, saying that she needs money for the treatment of her daughter, who has been injured in the house fire. But Philo has spent all her money on revenge, and at such a critical time, she has nothing for her family. Therefore, she goes back to Mother to ask for the funds, and a rude shock is waiting for her. After a degrading performance, Mother reveals that the ‘step-sister’ was a paid actor, and Mother knew Philo’s reality since Charles went to the police. But what Mother wants is not revenge. She wants Philo to continue staying with her as her daughter. Both of them fight, and we come to know that Mother is still secretly taking care of her own mother, who everyone thought had disappeared. Mother quite literally forces Philo’s hand to kill her mother, and this is how she intends to blackmail Philo to stay with her for the rest of her life. While Philo was just taking revenge, Mother was dealing with abandonment issues since her mother left her. She had secretly been taking care of her because of the superiority complex it gave her, but ever since she experienced that relationship with Philo, she wanted more of it. But Philo was ready to walk away from it all.
During A Very Good Girl‘s ending, Mother taunts Philo, saying that they are the same and would do anything for what they want. But Philo wants to be a better person, while Mother refuses to change her ways. While she is screaming at a walking Philo, a car hits her, and that is the end of Mother. Philo has her revenge, though it is more through karma than her own actions, and she has also realized that she needs to focus on her family rather than the people she hates, so it is her happy ending.
In the epilogue, we are shown a few clips of Philo, aka Mercy, with Conchita, and the latter tells her that being good will allow her to be whatever she wants. But in her adulthood, Mercy realized that it was the pursuit of being ‘better’ that gave a person the needed peace in life. It is a good message that just deserves a better movie.