The Danish film “Loving Adults” is all about suspense and dark twists in order to keep a failed marriage intact. It shows Christian and Leonora, a long-married couple who have now lost all love and respect for each other, especially since Christian has been having an affair now. The film essentially presents how Leonora gets to know about it and the dark, unexpected things that follow. Overall, “Loving Adults” does succeed in creating suspense, even though its characters seem directly out of fiction and far from relatable.
‘Loving Adults’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
A police officer sits with his daughter on the day of her wedding, trying to tell her about the many dangers of love that people do not usually think of. As an example, he tells her about a case in which he knew for certain about the perpetrator but could never really catch him. Like most cases of violent murder, according to him, this case, too, had love as the reason behind it.
Christian, a successful engineer with his own construction company, had been married to his childhood lover, Leonora, for many years now, and the couple had a teenage son named Johan. However, Leonora could feel something was up with her husband, as the two had evidently been out of love for some time now. On one particular occasion, Christian received texts from someone late at night, and on one particular occasion, Leonora confronted him and asked him to show the text. While the husband kept insisting at first that it was his colleague, Leonora did not believe him and was about to snatch the phone away when Christian threw away his phone to break it. The next morning, the couple apologized to each other, but it was quite clear that none of them had forgotten about the previous night. As Christian drives to his workplace, a colleague named Xenia is introduced. The young woman is very quickly revealed to be Christian’s lover, as he really has been having an affair for some time, and Xenia has been persistently asking him to make their love official. Although she wants him to divorce Leonora and marry him so that they could have a family of their own, and Christian has been claiming that he would do it soon, the man still feels shaky about telling his wife about all this, and instead hides the whole affair from her.
On the other hand, Leonora had once been a very accomplished violinist who gave up her career in order to look after their son Johan, who had a serious ailment for which he still needed to use crutches to walk. Although Johan was now finally recovering, she did not imagine that the promises of togetherness that she and Christian had made would wane off, especially with the presence of some other person. She stalks Christian’s social media profile and finds out about the single woman working at his company, Xenia. That evening, as the couple goes over to a party hosted by Christian’s colleague, Leonora is determined to find out more about this younger woman. Finally, as she stealthily goes around the office, her doubts are confirmed right in front of her eyes, as she sees her husband and Xenia secretly making love.
What Follows In The Couple’s Life After The Affair Is Revealed?
Although Christian did not know that his wife had seen him in that state, he felt confused about what to do as he had to respond to Xenia’s wishes as well. When he asks a friend who had recently gotten divorced about what to do, the man advises that it is best to just come clean and tell Leonora about everything. Christian follows suit, and even lies when his wife asks whether he is seeing someone else, only to be confronted by what Leonora had seen. However, the wife was not someone to back down, as she now brings up a financial scam that Christian had pulled off. The man’s colleague had earlier mentioned to him how the IRS wanted to check their records, and this was because Christian had manipulated exchange rates to make more money, which he and Leonora used to get Johan treated in the United States. At first, Leonora mentions how she could be held as an accomplice to Christian if he was ever caught, and would therefore always be unsafe if her husband walked out on their marriage; and then, she uses this very scam to threaten Christian to stay, saying that if he left her, she would report the matter to the police.
Christian’s friend suggests that Leonora might be more ready to let him leave if some close friends of hers convinced her about quitting a failing relationship, and the man now tries to track down her friends. Having been caught up in looking after her son and family for so many years, Leonora had gotten out of touch with all her friends, and Christian met up with one of them. While she is unable to help in any direct way, the friend tells Christian how Leonora had a tainted past, as many in her native village believed her to have murdered someone during her teenage years. Before she met Christian, Leonora had been in a relationship with a boy named Mike, but he, too, was having an affair behind her back. However, Mike died sometime later when he fell from a cliff, and the girl he was having an affair with, Sonja, claimed at first that it was Leonora who had pushed him to his death. With all this information, he returns home to indirectly threaten his wife, but Leonora rightly calls him out for first cheating on her and then finding ways to demonize her. Terribly enraged by his words and actions, she forces Christian to leave their house and also warns him that she would surely go to the police with information about his scam.
Like an animal cornered and infuriated, Christian decided to take action into his own hands very quickly. He had also been constantly asked by Xenia to marry her, and had even met with her mother that weekend, and now decided to end his marriage with Leonora once and for all. Getting hold of a rented van, he drove down to an empty road stretch near his house where Leonora would go running every day. He then waited for the woman to appear and then ran over her multiple times, killing her on the spot.
Knowing that it was all over, Christian then calmly returned home to Johan and did not tell him anything. However, his worst fears come true when Leonora appears in front of him, in the same red hoodie that she was wearing when he had killed her, and asks whether he has ended his affair with Xenia. While it seems that the man is hallucinating at first, what becomes evident very quickly is that the reality is even scarier. Leonora had recently changed her running path, and it was someone else Christian had killed, as she too wore a similar red hoodie like his wife. Trying to get a grip on things, he lies to his wife that he has ended everything with Xenia, and stays on at the house. The police come around a day or two later, as they ask all the people in the neighborhood about any leads in the case. Out of sheer guilt, Christian goes over to the spot of the accident and realizes that the woman he had killed had three young children, and out of sheer guilt, he goes over to the police station to hand himself in. However, while waiting there, a photo of Johan on his phone makes him change his mind, as he knows his son’s life would be destroyed forever if his crime was found out, and he quickly leaves the place.
When Leonora had seen her husband act strangely to the police’s inquiry earlier and asked him about the same, he had told her that he had been with Xenia to end their affair and did not want the police to get her involved in it. However, the wife soon finds out about her husband’s actions that evening when she gets to see security camera footage of her husband taking a white van to a car wash facility that they often used. By this time, it was public knowledge that witnesses had claimed that the hit-and-run crime was most possibly committed by someone in a white van with Romanian number plates. Confronting Christian about all this, Leonora is terrified at the fact that her husband tried to kill her. She instantly calls the police, saying that she had information about the recent crime, but Christian snatches the phone away and lies that the information was that he had seen the van with Romanian number plates in their neighborhood. Leonora then leaves the house in her scared frenzy, still threatening to lead the law to her husband, and Christian feels that his time is indeed up.
When two police officers arrive at the house (one of whom is the same officer who is narrating this story to his daughter), he is ready to give up as he is sure that Leonora must have called them again and told them the real truth. However, the police instead ask him about when and where he had seen the van, which makes it clear that they still do not know it was he who did it. At the same time, Christian receives a text message from his wife, asking her to meet her at a restaurant that evening, and he knows that he has to play along with her commands now. When the two meet, perhaps the biggest twist that “Loving Adults” packs is revealed, as Leonora presents her demand to Christian. She says that she would never feel secure with Christian as he had once tried to kill her, and the root of all this was his love for Xenia. If Christian would do the same thing that he wanted to do to his wife, though, that is, kill her, then Leonora would have no problem in forgiving him and continuing their lives together. At first, Christian expresses his astonishment at the plan, and then asks about the sheer danger of being caught. But Leonora, though, tells him that she would help him do it, as she had past experience in creating a fake alibi.
She now admits to having killed her teenage boyfriend Mike, but the reason why Leonora could never be suspected was that she had a strong alibi of having practiced playing the violin at her teacher’s house that whole day. However, what she had done was that she had put on a record of a violin playing, sneaked out of the house through the window, pushed Mike to his death, and then returned to play her violin again. By the time the teacher came in to check on her, it was again young Leonora who was playing the music. With this expertise of faking an alibi through sound, she now plans the entire act of murdering Xenia with Christian, who now has no other option but to agree. The couple then selects a particular weekend and rents a spa in a nearby town as a sort of romantic getaway. While they are at the hotel, Christian sneaks out through the window, with nobody in the hotel knowing that he has left the place. While he goes to Xenia’s weekend cabin, Leonora pretends that her husband is still with her whenever she talks with the hotel’s employees. At one point, when a server brings up their dinner, she even walks into the bathroom and plays a voice note of Christian, which they had recorded earlier, creating an alibi for her husband, which the hotel server could confirm during the investigation.
Meanwhile, at Xenia’s cabin, Christian makes his way in and apologizes for not making any contact with her in the last few days. He and Leonora had planned that the wife would send a message to Xenia’s phone from his number that would say that Christian was ending his affair with Xenia once and for all, as his family mattered the most to him, and just when this message reaches Xenia’s phone, Christian distracts her away. He then makes love to her, and the two spend intimate hours together, even though Christian was supposed to kill her. Leonora had always had her doubts about whether Christian would actually be able to pull it off, and she now sneaks out of the hotel room and comes to Xenia’s house. Here, she murders the woman in cold blood, and then lets a shocked Christian know that she has done it.
‘Loving Adults’ Ending Explained: Did Christian Get Arrested? What Happened To Xenia’s Body?
Although Xenia’s neighbors report a burglary at her house to the police the next morning, the fact that she has been murdered remains unknown to them as her body is not found. Investigating the missing woman, the police find out that she used to work at Christian’s company, and they once again reach his house. The police officer who had been narrating this story so far had told his daughter earlier that they had a hunch that it was Christian who had something to do with the crimes because of how suspicious he acted, but they could not catch him without any proof or evidence. When they speak with Christian and Leonora now, the couple says that they had been at the spa in the nearby town at the weekend, and then they both clearly state how Xenia had been having an affair with Christian for almost a year, and that he had finally ended it on the very day when she went missing. Leaving their house, the police officers expressed their doubt to each other about why Xenia’s body had been missing, as they both felt she was murdered, and had the body been found in the house, a case of burglary would have perhaps made more sense. However, with the angle of Christian’s affair with the woman now known, it becomes clear to them that the only reason to remove the body would be if the perpetrator had sex with her recently (which Christian had), and traces of their DNA could be found in the dead body.
The police now know that they need to find the body to press charges against Christian, and they put in all efforts to do so. This entire plot has been taking place in the weeks leading up to the Midsummer festivities, during which the Danes have a tradition of burning a big stack of wood as a symbol of burning witches, and it is at the end that this finally plays a direct role. For all these days, Christian and his friend had been preparing their own stack of wood to burn on a platform in the middle of a small lake, and it was inside this stack that he and Leonora had hidden Xenia’s body. The police do manage to arrive at the scene before the festivities begin, as they are led to the place by their sniffer dogs, but the officers do not seem to understand where the body could be. By the time Christian puts fire on the whole stack, burning the dead body down, the police conclude that it must have been a false lead. In the end, the police officer and his daughter round up their discussion by saying how there must have been some bones that must have remained uncharred. As the man is seen walking with his daughter to the church where she is about to be married, Christian and Leonora are seen driving off to a lake far away from their house, where they throw away the remaining bones of Xenia that had survived her tragic cremation.
“Loving Adults” is a 2022 Drama Thriller Film directed by Barbara Topsøe-Rothenborg.