‘Lazareth’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: What Happened To Maeve And Imogene?


Written and directed by Alec Tibaldi, Lazareth revolves around a family of three: Lee and her nieces Maeve and Imogene. The global pandemic resulted in the death of Lee’s sister, and she adopted the two girls. Lee made it her life’s mission to protect Maeve and Imogene from any threat. At the very beginning of Lazareth, a woman came begging for food on their porch. She was a mother, and for a second, Lee considered helping her. But when she opened her door to leave the canned food outside, she realized that the woman was infected. Without any hesitation, Lee killed the stranger. There was nothing more important than protecting Imogene and Maeve, and shooting the woman was the only option she had.

Spoiler Alert

Why was Aunt Lee obsessed with the idea of Lazareth?

The cabin in the middle of the woods was the safe sanctuary that Lee had built for Imogene and Maeve. It was far away from the town, and there were barely any visitors. The place was perfect for hiding and living in peace without the constant worry of getting infected by viruses. Lee would occasionally risk her life to bring home supplies, but she never allowed the girls to leave. They named their sanctuary Lazareth, and instead of God, they thanked the place every day for providing them with protection, shelter, food, and water. Tucked away from the world, Lazareth was pure, and evil had no place in it. Lazareth reminded me of Rapunzel, but there was a big difference between the two—Aunt Lee did not have any evil intentions. She had lost her sister, and from then on, she had promised herself that she would always protect Imogene and Maeve. As an adult, she was well aware of how threatening the world outside was, and she knew that their lives were far better. They frolicked around the woods during the day and cherished the little joys of life. They were not driven by selfish interests, and they stayed together like a unit. But then again, was this a decision for Aunt Lee to make? The girls had grown up, and they should have been allowed to make their own decisions. Maybe she had the best interest at heart, but that could never justify the fact that she did not leave the girls with much of a choice. Even though Lee had established a democratic decision-making system, it was quite pointless considering the girls were living in a bubble.

Why was Maeve envious of Imogene?

While collecting berries and herbs from the woods, Maeve came across a wounded stranger. This was the first time, as a teenager, that Maeve had seen a man. Even though she had barely seen his face and he was not in the best condition, she could not get enough of the sight. She was so captivated by it that she even brought her sister, Imogene, along to look at the man from a distance. The young man had set up a tent, and when they tried to take a close look at him, they realized that he had been badly bruised. The young man begged for help, but Maeve did not know how to react. She did not intend on getting involved; all she wanted was to stare at him from a distance. Imogene thought it was their duty to help him, and the sisters ultimately decided to return to the tent at night and help the young man.

After Aunt Lee went to sleep, the girls stepped outside and made it to the tent. The young man had lost a lot of blood and was unconscious. Maeve wanted to head home, but Imogene was persistent about helping him. They ultimately dragged the man home to stitch his wounds. The sound woke up Aunt Lee, and she found out the truth. She was against allowing him to stay, but Imogene and Maeve decided it would be cruel to let him go. Maeve warned Aunt Lee that if the boy was made to leave, he would bring back more people to Lazareth, and they must never allow that to happen. The safest thing to do would be to allow him to live with them so that they could monitor his movement. Every decision at Lazareth was made by voting, and this time the girls rebelled against their aunt and used her own system to outvote her. Owen was allowed to stay, and even though the young man was initially afraid, he came to realize that the girls meant no harm.

Both the girls were attracted to the stranger. Maeve was the shy one, while Imogene was quick to make her move. Maeve watched Imogene and Owen indulge in a sexual conversation through the crack in the wall. She was jealous of her sister, and she tried to establish that Imogene’s behavior was affecting the sanctity of Lazareth. Imogene did not pay heed to the accusation; she knew Maeve was jealous, and perhaps she too would have felt the same way if Maeve had made the first move.

What secret was Aunt Lee hiding?

A group of punk thieves arrived at Lazareth one morning. The entire family hid in their usual spots. The thieves could sense that people were living in the house, but they could not find anyone. They took whatever they liked, and before leaving, one of the members noticed Owen’s shirt left out to dry. When the punks left, Aunt Lee grabbed hold of Owen and was about to kill him. He was related to the punks, and they came to Lazareth in search of him. Owen begged Lee to let go of him; he admitted that he knew the gang and that they were after him. They once used to be his family, but not anymore. Imogene pleaded with Lee to forgive Owen; she managed to convince her aunt that the man she was in love with could be useful for their survival. Owen was a mechanic, and he fixed Lee’s broken truck. Lee was impressed and finally accepted Owen as a new member of Lazareth.

The punks had taken Maeve’s most cherished item in the house, the music box. She hopped on her aunt’s truck to track down the punks and get the music box back. Aunt Lee did not know that Maeve was hiding at the back of the truck. Maeve found the punks right outside the convenience store her aunt had entered. They handed her back the music box, but they promised that they would come to her house once again to find Owen. Coming to town helped Maeve not only get back her music box but also realize that Aunt Lee had been lying to them. She painted a picture of complete mayhem, whereas in reality, the world had recovered after the pandemic and people were living their lives as usual.

Maeve confronted Lee about lying to them, and Lee explained that there was no guarantee that the disease would not come right back. In the last ten years, there have been days when things went back to normal, but then again, the disease always came back. Lee did not wish to take chances, and that is why she chose to lie to them. The world was cruel, and she did not wish for Maeve and Imogene to live in fear. In Lazareth, they were free; no one could harm them, and they could appreciate the nature around them. Lee offered Maeve the option to leave whenever she desired, promising her that she would never stop her. But Maeve agreed with Lee’s decision, and she admitted that she loved her life at Lazareth and would always choose to protect it. When Lee and Maeve returned, she stuck to Lee’s story of how terrible the world outside was.

How did the family protect Lazareth?

The punks had promised to return to the cabin that night, and Lee and her family revised their strategy to counter the threat. They had been preparing for all these years, and they were not afraid. Before the punks arrived, Lee sat down with Owen to discuss his relationship with Imogene. He believed that her view of the world was the most precious thing he had ever come across. She was curious yet so innocent; she was precious like a star, and he had come to realize that she had inspired him to look at things differently. Lee was satisfied with the response; she knew Imogene would be safe with Owen.

The family took their positions when the outsiders arrived. They turned the place upside down to find Owen. The girls shot the punks waiting outside the cabin, and Imogene locked the remaining ones inside. Lee stepped out of the cupboard and shot two of them. She was about to shoot another one when the leader of the pack stopped her. He had Owen, and he threatened to kill him if Lee dared to shoot again. Maeve tried to attack from behind, but it backfired. The leader was killed, and Aunt Lee was fatally wounded. In her final moments, Lee expressed how proud she was of Maeve and Imogene. They had demonstrated immense bravery that night, and she could rest in peace knowing that the girls could keep themselves safe now. Aunt Lee passed away that night, and it was up to Maeve and Imogene to protect Lazareth.

Why did Maeve and Owen lie to Imogene?

Months had passed, but Lazareth was still the same. Lazareth‘s ending confirmed that even though Maeve had the option to leave, she did not. Lazareth continued to operate as usual, even without Aunt Lee. Imogene was the only one among the three who did not know that the world outside was perfectly fine and they could easily leave Lazareth to settle in the town. But both Maeve and Owen chose to never tell her the truth.

Maeve was happy in her little world, and she had come to realize that there could never be a place as safe as Lazareth. Moreover, she had spent all her life there, and adjusting to the city and its hundreds of strangers was almost impossible for her to imagine. She had grown up as an introvert, and maybe she was extremely scared of spending her life outside the bubble their aunt had built. Owen had lived in the world outside, and he knew how cruel most people were. He had no parental figure in his life, and finding a safe place had always been extremely challenging for him. He valued Lazareth because he knew that there could never be another place like it. He had found love there, and he could live peacefully without having to worry about the next threat. He appreciated the arrangement, and he believed it was safe for Imogene to forever live in Lazareth. Maybe he also feared that the girl he fell in love with would change once she stepped out of the bubble. She had a unique perspective because she had grown up without too many people to influence her.

Lazareth‘s ending scene suggests that Maeve and Owen had come to an unspoken agreement to never tell the truth to Imogene. She was pregnant, and they believed it was their responsibility to ensure that she and the baby were safe. Maybe they had her best interests at heart, but it was not their decision to make. The ending indicates that life will go on as it did in Lazareth, but one day the truth will surely surface, and Imogene will perhaps never get over the betrayal. Maybe Imogene already suspected Maeve, but at the moment she too seemed to prefer to believe the lies. 

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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