‘Like a House on Fire’ Summary & Ending, Explained – Correcting The Past Mistakes


Childhood is the most receptive age. While the physical scars fade with time, the emotional and mental ones stay longer. In the film Like a House on Fire, the protagonist, Dara (Sarah Sutherland) repeats the mistake of her mother, a mental scar of her childhood that made her delusional about having her own kids. The film follows her pursuit to accept her motherhood and make amendments.

‘Like a House on Fire’ Summary

Dara returns back home two years later to reconnect with her daughter and husband Danny (Jared Abrahamson). On her return, she finds out that Danny has married another woman, Therese and they are going to have a child together. Another fatal attack lands on Dara’s stability when she finds out that her young daughter, Isabel doesn’t recognize her at all.

At the time of Isabel’s birth, Dara suffered from postpartum depression and she ran away from a family unable to cope with the voices in her head. Danny is still pissed off about the fact that Dara just disappeared with no conversation and message.

Throughout the film, Dara is trying to make peace with her father, her sister, Danny, and most importantly with her daughter. Will they accept her again?

‘Like a House on Fire’ Ending Explained

The narrative kept it a mystery about the reason behind Dara’s depression. In the narrative, there is one missing person about whom Dara keeps exploring and questioning. Her mother, Katherine.

Katherine left her husband and the daughters when Dara was still a kid. A mental setback from which Dara never really recovered. At the time of her own child-birth, the horror of her childhood started haunting her again. To silence the voice, Dara ran away, she even took some medication but upon returning back, the condition strikes again. Dara needs a gateway to attain permanent peace.

Dara finds her run-away mother Katherine and faces her. She expresses her inner dilemma to Katherine without letting her know that she is her daughter.

“I left my daughter. I couldn’t handle it, being a mother. But I went to get help, and I got better. And I came back.”

The point that Dara comes back makes her a superior character to Katherine who left the kids and never bothered to look back. Though Dara has the same genes, she chooses not to repeat the mistake of her mother and give a similar scar to Isabel. Dara tries to correct her mistake.

However, the confession with her mother made Dara realize that she can’t force love. She can’t make her daughter love her again, not when she just disappeared. Dara accepts her mistake and gives divorce to Danny so that Therese and he can start their new life.

After making necessary amendments in her past life, Dara starts over again. She is seen in a new flat, somewhere, working as a waitress. She tells herself that she will become a better person, a better mother, and try again to win her daughter, but not by force, but with love.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get it right but there’s time, and I’ll try again and again.”

An emotionally sane and transformed Dara comes to visit her daughter. She is trying her bit to win her again.

Like a House on Fire has a simple narrative that follows the dilemma of an absent mother. Her efforts are going to melt your heart. It’s a sweet and subtle film with an extremely moving performance from Sarah Sutherland playing the role of Dara. If you are looking for an indie film that speaks to your heart, then do not miss this one.

Like a House on Fire is a 2021 drama film directed by Jesse Noah Klei. It is available for Video on Demand.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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