‘Linoleum’ Ending, Explained: Who Was Kent Armstrong? What Happened To Cameron?


Directed by first-time feature film director Colin West, “Linoleum” is a beautiful union of science and human emotion. From the very first minute, we are asked to close our eyes and imagine the universe, and the most beautiful part of imagining the universe is that it is unique to every individual. In “Linoleum,” we peek into the universe of Cameron Edwin and try to make sense of all the bizarreness that exists in the life of the astronomer. Cameron is a loving father and a caring husband, but he fails to find his identity beyond these relationships. His childhood dreams remained unfulfilled, and he considered himself a failure. Cameron is caught up in the fear of time slipping away, and he takes up the challenge of doing something fantastic before he gets too old.

Spoilers Ahead

From a car crashing out of nowhere to Cameron meeting his alter ego and parts of a rocket falling into his backyard, he struggled to keep up with the outlandish events. Even though it was all too strange, he focused on fulfilling his childhood dream instead of finding the meaning behind the events. We watch Cameron build his dream rocket with the help of Mac (his father), Marc (Kent’s son), and later, his wife, Erin. Erin wanted to divorce Cameron, but eventually, she could relate to the childish madness that existed within him. They both dreamed of becoming extraordinary individuals as youngsters, but eventually, reality caught up with them. Self-doubt, impracticality, and the fear of failure ultimately forced them to take a safer route, but it was far from rewarding. After playing it safe all their lives, Erin decided to take a leap of faith with Cameron; they had nothing to fear anymore. The ending of “Linoleum” is crucial, but at the same time, it can leave the audience a little confused. In this article, we answer every question related to the ending of the film and analyze the meaning behind the chaotic ending.

Who Was The Old Woman?

The old woman was a witness to the most important moments in Cameron’s life. She watched his clash with Kent, she observed the growing friendship between Cameron and Marc from a distance, she saw him fail during his initial rocket-making phase, and she closely admired his relationship with his son, Sam. Cameron was curious about her, but he never confronted her. She constantly reminded the audience that there was a lot more going on than the simplistic version we might tend to believe. In the end, we learn that the old woman was the older version of Erin Edwin. She was his constant reminder of the present as he delved more and more into the past. His reality was laid out on a flat surface, where his various versions collided with one another.

Marc was Cameron’s teenage version. He was not afraid to dream the impossible, and he boosted Cameron’s confidence when he doubted himself. Cameron imagined his present self in the form of his father, Mac, who suffered from dementia. At times, he struggled to recognize people and places, but he could identify parts of a rocket in a second. When he looked into the past, he reimagined it. Even though he was not an astronaut, in his head, he had built a rocket in his garage and was ready to take off in it. Erin had been Cameron’s constant support. She helped him remember his past by using objects and pictures. His daughter, Nora, was Erin during her teenage years. She and Cameron bonded over their quirks during their high school years, and it was the beginning of a lifetime of friendship and romance.

Nora was a young, carefree woman unafraid of consequences. She used to be a dreamer, but as she grew up, she became a version of herself with which she would have been in conflict as a teenager. After watching Cameron take a chance, she, too, decided to reconnect with her rebellious self. She presumably left her job at the museum and continued to make educational videos with Cameron. They did not do anything extraordinary, but they did what made them happy. Perhaps Erin tried to remind Cameron of the science videos they made together, and she showed him a cardboard cutout of a rocket that led to the entire rocket-building memory that Cameron had created. In his mind, his dream had become a reality.

Who Was Kent Armstrong? And Why Did The Red Car Crash?

Kent Armstrong embodies all that Cameron wanted to be. He can be defined as Cameron’s alter ego. He was an astronaut living a luxurious life and could effortlessly get whatever he wanted. He was Cameron’s ‘could have been.’ While Kent’s professional life was worthy of envy, he was an awful person. He was rude, self-absorbed, and often mistreated his son. Kent did not have an Erin in his life. He was a single father with a son who hated him. He never experienced love and was incapable of showing affection. Kent Armstrong also represents the memories Cameron has of his abusive father.

On Halloween night, Kent (his father) noticed Cameron (Marc) sneak out of his house to attend the party at Erin’s (Nora’s) place. He considered his son a disappointment, and the fact that he disobeyed him by leaving the house left him furious. He got in his red car and attempted to run over Cameron, but instead, he met with a fatal accident. As a young boy, Cameron looked up to his father and hoped to become like him someday. But all his father did was belittle him and make him doubt himself. He always considered himself weaker than his father, but now that he suffered from visual hallucinations, he imagined having the power to redirect his car, which ultimately led to the crash. Maybe, in reality, he was injured, but in his memory, he stood strong. Cameron’s memory cannot be trusted.  The first strange incident was the sudden car crash out of nowhere, and in the end, it becomes evident that it was another misplaced event since we were watching the world through Cameron’s memory.

Why Does Sam Never Speak?

One of the most intriguing characters was Cameron’s son, Sam. Played by five different child actors, Sam remains silent throughout the film. In the end, we get to know that “Sam” did not exist in reality. He was Cameron and Erin’s stillborn child, and in Cameron’s mind, he continued to exist. He was part of every conversation Cameron had with Erin, and he was there by his side when he felt his lowest. Since he did not know what his child would look like, his appearance changed constantly, and we did not get to hear his voice. Cameron never stopped thinking about their baby, and he eventually became a part of Cameron’s reality. As a result of Cameron’s mental condition, he struggled to bridge the gaps in his past, which led to the reimagining and creation of memories that originally did not exist.

‘Linoleum’ Ending Explained: What Happened To Cameron?

Erin brought Cameron to their old house, and he had been living in his basement study room for two weeks. She helped him rebuild his past memories with mementos. In the end, we witness Cameron lying on his bed in his astronaut’s suit, the same suit that he was wearing the day his father tried to run him over. Cameron realized that his life was coming to an end and that his past, present, and everything in between had merged together. Before leaving the world, he wanted to know what happened to the rocket he imagined building with Erin. Even though it never happened, Erin promised him that she would get the rocket ready for him to launch. All his life, he dreamed of flying to space in his rocket, and Erin did not wish to wake him from his dream. “Linoleum” ends with Cameron entering the ambulance, and he imagines it to be the rocket that they made. He climbed into the rocket with Erin by his side. Even though the nurse asked Erin to stay behind, she refused to do so and got in the ambulance with Cameron. In his mind, he lived his dream with Erin, and all that he regretted not doing was accomplished in the very end.

Cameron’s universe would have remained incomplete and bleak without the presence of Erin. She was his universe, and in every reality and timeline, she held his hands firmly. She admired his quirks as a teenager, she boosted his confidence when he suffered from a mid-life crisis, and she laughed with joy when he remembered her name in the end. She was part of every memory that Cameron vaguely remembered. At the end of the day, “Linoleum” is a heartwarming love story. Erin never gave up on Cameron, even when the road got tough. Not all dreams are fulfilled, but with the right person, there is no limit to one’s imagination.

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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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