‘Bleeding Love’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Does The Daughter Go To Rehab?


Every few years, there’s a road trip movie with a character who has overdosed that’s meant to be emotionally impactful, and they’re not always making the cut in that department. There have been a few of these parent-child drug films that are kind of worth watching, but I suppose there’s only so much of a story that can be presented in this subgenre. Estranged family due to drug problems, close proximity forces emotional encounters that bring said family members together again. Voila, it’s a new movie. Skepticism aside, at least we get to see Ewan McGregor and his daughter Clara in a movie together. Bleeding Love is a simple story about a young woman who has overdosed, her relationship with a father who she thinks left her, and their reconciliation. The two are even credited as “Father” and “Daughter” in the film, so we never really learn their names. I suppose this adds to the sense of relatability of the film. Bleeding Love begins with the 20-year-old daughter having ODed and her father driving her to a different city.

Spoiler Alert

Why are father and daughter driving? 

The father plans on taking the daughter on a road trip to see an artist’s gallery because she used to paint, and she’s completely given it up now. It’s probably the drugs that have made her a changed person, and her father will do anything to have her inspired again. Within the first 10 minutes of Bleeding Love, she tries to run away. Then she smokes a cigarette and later even steals alcohol from a store. A little while later, their car breaks down, and the father calls for help. The woman who comes to help them is a strange one. She’s extremely jovial, at least, and takes them to a house party for her nephew, to whom she’s gifting a shotgun (yikes). While he’s trying to get the car fixed, the daughter meets a young man dressed as a clown (obviously, he’s the guy she chooses as a friend). She then asks him to hook her up with some drinks, and he doesn’t realize she’s underage. When her father realizes what she’s up to, the guy tells him that he’s on parole and asks him to take her away immediately, so there’s no trouble. 

This is when he takes her to an AA meeting. Although she used to have a good time with her father as a kid, at some point it all went to pot because he was an addict too. His drinking problem broke up the family, and he ended up leaving his wife and daughter and starting a new family of his own. During this AA meeting, he talks directly to his daughter, apologizing for leaving her alone and making it seem like he didn’t care when all he wants is to get to know her better. It’s also his way of making her realize that he’s been through what she’s going through at the moment and that he wants to help her in any way possible. The daughter can’t stop snatching alcohol from random places, and when they’re eating at a cafe with food that she barely touches, her father gets a phone call. She then drinks a glass of unattended wine, bribing the waitress not to tell her father. 

What’s the Father’s Plan? 

The father wants to put the girl in rehab without her knowledge. He’s using his friend’s art gallery as an excuse to bring her into the facility. When they stop for a pee break, the daughter gets bitten by something, and they find a pharmacy nearby. A sex worker shows up, asking the father if he needs any services, and while at first he freaks out, he then asks her to check out his daughter’s bite. She tells them it’s a spider bite, and in exchange for her help, they give her a ride. During the ride, the father shows off his daughter’s paintings proudly on his phone. She didn’t even know he had kept them. The sex worker says she wants to be a Broadway star and pictures one of the paintings as the background for her show. When she gets off, she gives them a little performance, with the headlights of the car highlighting her performance. This is when the daughter imagines a life-size version of her painting behind her—a gorgeous view. 

When they get to a motel, they decide to crash the pool that’s meant to be shut. It’s almost like they’re going back to when the daughter was a child and things were simpler. They have some fun before they’re caught. When the father heads out to bring some ice for her bite, she goes through his phone to look at her paintings. He gets a call from his new wife at that moment, and she picks up. The wife tells her that she’s really brave for going to rehab. This is when the daughter flips out and has a huge argument with her father, telling him that he’s a bad person and that he just wants to pretend he’s a good person by taking care of her now. She says nobody cares if she dies, so he should just leave her alone and then run away. 

What Happens When the Daughter Is Alone? 

She meets a random man who is evidently someone who can get her drugs, and he takes her home. He has a partner there who is really rude to the girl and doesn’t really want her there. The guy gives her some coke, and she ends up taking a little too much until she asks to go to the bathroom. Bleeding Love is a lot more about the aesthetic than it is about what’s really happening in the daughter’s mind. I suppose it’s because she’s an artist or something? She sees some toys and realizes the couple has a child. When she goes into the bathroom, she sees her kid self in the mirror and can’t tolerate it. She turns off the lights, and when she opens the door, the couple’s daughter is standing there. Feeling overwhelmed by everything that’s happened, she passes out on the floor. The couple tries to steal from her, but she’s got nothing on her. They leave her in the middle of the street somewhere, where a kind woman in a campervan finds her. The daughter calls her mother and asks to come back home, but her mother tells her that her father is looking for her. The daughter fights with her mother, wondering why she would want the guy who abandoned them to help her, but I suppose she realizes that he always did care. She calls him, and he immediately cries in relief (though we cut away from this scene in less than a second, the expression on Ewan’s face is on point). 

In the car, she finally begins to cry, and her father hugs her tight. The duo shares a moment together at the railway tracks, and then he lets her drive. He tells her that she gets to decide where they’re headed, and if that’s home, he’s okay with it. She chooses to go to rehab. 

Why Does the Daughter Run Out of Rehab? 

Back when she was dropped off at school for the first time, after being anxious, she ran back out of the school to find that her father had already left. This made her feel like he never cared for her.

During Bleeding Love‘s ending, when the receptionist at rehab tells her she’s taken the biggest step to help herself, she feels helpless again and runs out. This time, he’s waiting there for her with a big smile on his face. She then turns around and goes back in as he breathes a sigh of relief. I suppose it’s the reassurance that he’s actually physically there that helps her realize that he’s always cared for her and that he actually doesn’t want her to die. This gives her the push she needs to get sober.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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