The new action-drama film on Netflix, “Lou,” is an average watch at best, with predictable plot points, no exceptional acting performances, and dialogues so typical of the genre. Following the story of a retired woman helping her young neighbor look for her missing daughter, there is nothing new or unique to be found here. A tale of bitter relations from the past is cooked up and sewn with the thrills of spy action, but none of it ultimately makes the film a watch worth remembering.
‘Lou’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
The film’s protagonist, Lou, is an elderly woman living all by herself in her cabin near a forest on Orcas Island. A complete loner by choice, her only companion is a loyal dog named Jax, and it is with him by her side that Lou often goes out on hunts, even when it is not hunting season. She also has a neighbor, a young woman named Hannah, who stays as a tenant on Lou’s property along with her daughter Vee. Having been in an abusive marriage, Hannah now stays alone with Vee after parting ways with her husband Philip and seems interested in getting to know Lou better. However, it is Lou who chooses to keep her distance, talking to Hannah only to remind her about the due rent and completely ignoring Vee.
On the day the film’s plot starts to unfold, the Orcas Island residents await a treacherous storm to hit the area that evening, and that very morning, Lou is seen stacking up items. She visits the local bank and withdraws all the money from her account and takes it home. She is also seen digging up some papers and photographs, and the country of Iran already seems to be somehow tied up with Lou, as some of the papers even have Farsi writing on them. However, Lou does not want to indulge in any of these anymore; she burns all the papers and photographs and locks Jax in a room so that he does not get in the way of what she is about to do next. Leaving a letter addressed to Hannah on her table, Lou calmly sits down with her rifle and prepares to shoot herself dead.
On the other side, Hannah and Vee share a loving bond, but the young girl still waits for her father to return from a grand adventure that she believes him to be out on, for her mother has told her so. To everyone else in the neighborhood, Hannah had said that her husband Philip had died two or three years ago, as she herself knew so. Evening falls and the storm lashes onto the island, and the mother and daughter are about to go to bed when their house loses electricity. Hannah goes out to check on the situation and stumbles upon a van with a dead man inside. This man happens to be Chris, Hannah’s new lover, and she immediately realizes what is going on. She rushes to her house to find it empty and then to Lou’s, just as the latter prepares to kill herself. Intervening in the whole act and not even realizing it, Hannah pleads with Lou to help her save her daughter from her vengeful husband, who has returned, and Lou agrees.
Why Did Philip Kidnap His Own Daughter? What Is Lou’s Real Identity?
Despite Lou initially wanting to go out alone, Hannah refuses to stay back and joins her as she starts to track Philip’s movements. Being a regular hunter and also helped by the trained and intelligent Jax, Lou finds tracks on the ground, and the two women follow them into the woods and beyond. The next morning, they reach a small hut where Hannah identifies two men who used to work for her husband, but there is no sign of Vee. Lou decides to check out the place, and she makes use of her superb acting skills to pose as an old, helpless woman lost in the incessant rain and then ultimately takes the two men down. She interrogates one of them to find out where Philip is headed and then leads Hannah there. Earlier, Hannah had spoken of her husband, how he used to have fits of uncontrolled rage and anger in which he would terribly hurt his wife. Hannah would always have to cleverly send Vee away from the situation and save her from his anger. Philip had been part of the United States Army Special Forces and had been accused of torture and other war crimes during his service in Central America. However, a couple years ago, while he was still wanted by the authorities, his apartment blew up, and everyone believed him to have died in this explosion. Now that Vee was missing, and a postcard with a message and a picture of Vee with Philip had been left behind, Hannah was sure that her husband had faked his death and had now returned. Hearing all of this, Lou seems to gather more information than she is given as if she knows something more about this entire fiasco, which is gradually revealed by the film.
While the two women try to find the missing girl, Philip makes his way through the forest with Vee, and at first, he uses a small cart to safely carry his daughter. He gives her a music player to keep her engrossed, and Vee is also happy to see her father again, but she first finds it odd when she sees her father quash a butterfly to death in his palms. She does not think too much of it, though, and readily goes with her father, who has told her that they are going on an adventure and would be soon joined by her mother as well. Philip takes her to the coast, from where he was supposed to take a boat to the mainland, but the terrible weather stops his plans, and they have to take shelter at a nearby cave for the night. His exact intentions are made clear that very night, when Lou sneaks into the cave while Hannah tries to contact the local sheriff with the radio device she had earlier found. Inside the cave, Vee sleeps peacefully while Lou and Philip clash against each other, revealing their back story.
Before moving to Orcas Island and during her prime years, Lou had been a CIA agent and a rather good one too. As part of her job, she had to go undercover to get very close to a high-profile target in Iran during the years of the Islamic Revolution. Unlike perhaps the safest thing to do, though, she had decided to take her baby boy along with her to make her cover stronger and more convincing. Lou later also admits that she really was not the best mother and that neither did she want to be so and had always prioritized her work over motherhood. During her years undercover living in Iran, there happened to be some fallout between her and the men she was investigating, and as a response, her son was taken away from her when he was a young boy. Although Lou made sure that the boy was rescued from the terrorist camp, she herself never reached out to him or tried to contact him. This young boy, who happened to be Philip, grew up desperately waiting for his mother to return to him and then, as an adult, joined the US Army Special Forces. Meanwhile, Lou kept track of everything, and she knew how her son had grown up to be a toxic man, often physically hurting his wife, and she found it easier to help Hannah out of the situation than to meet Philip herself and talk to him. While this might seem strange or farfetched, it seems to be how Lou’s character has been written, as she still feels the responsibilities of being a mother are too overbearing and finds it easier to do spy stuff instead. She had ensured that Hannah moved to Orcas with her daughter Vee, and then she herself had moved in close to them to protect them from Philip, for she too knew that he would come back. However, Lou had also been duped by the news of Philip’s death, as she believed he was now dead and had therefore lost the will to carry on living her solitary life. Deciding to kill herself, she had left all her wealth and property to Hannah, her daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter, knowing that they were now finally safe, when Philip suddenly returned and kidnapped Vee.
No matter how surprising ‘Lou’ wants to make these revelations seem, the truth is that they could be predicted from a very early point in the film’s narrative. The sheer fact that a solitary person like Lou easily agreed to help Hannah, and then her constant collecting of the notes that Philip was leaving behind at every stage, added to her age in relation to the other characters, made it very obvious that she was Philip’s mother. Philip also makes his intention clear here—not only does he want to punish his wife for running away from him with his daughter, but he also yearns for revenge against his mother, as he now knows that both of them live in the same place. The film’s plot builds towards a final meeting between the three, while the local police are also informed by the CIA that the agency is looking for both Philip and Lou. While Philip was a fugitive wanted for his war crimes, Lou had in her personal possession documents (the papers and photos she burned at the beginning of the film) that would prove the CIA’s involvement in the revolution in Iran. The three characters meet at a lighthouse along with Vee, and Philip tries to blow up the entire place but learns that Lou has already defused the bomb. As Hannah, Lou, and Vee try to escape back into the forest with Philip still chasing them, a CIA helicopter hovers over the place, menacingly looking for its two targets.
‘Lou’ Ending Explained: Is Lou Dead?
Philip now catches up to the two women, and Lou decides to stay back and fight her son while Hannah and Vee make their safe exit from the place. As the mother and son have a grand fight, the CIA helicopter takes notice of them and gets closer. Philip breaks down and tearfully hugs his mother as Lou apologizes to him, and then he is shot in the back by the CIA agents. It seems that Lou is shot down, too, as the two fall into the sea and get washed up by the water. Sometime later, Hannah inherited Lou’s house and her money, and two government officials still ask her around if she knows what had happened to Lou or about her past. Hannah denies knowing anything, and she is then seen taking a ferry towards a new life in Seattle. She is, of course, accompanied by her daughter Vee and Lou’s dog Jax, who is now part of their family. It is Jax who first seems to look at someone on the ferry with a lot of intrigue, and then, in the final shots, an elderly woman is seen looking at Hannah and Vee through her binoculars. Although we do not see this woman frontally, the marks on her hands, the arthritis-ridden fingers, and a special bracelet on her wrist make it certain that this is Lou herself. After all, she happens to be Philip’s mother, who himself had faked his death once, and now Lou seems to have done the same to get the CIA off her back while following her daughter-in-law and granddaughter like a guardian angel.
“Lou” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Anna Foerster.