‘Once Upon A Star’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Does Kae Leave The Troupe?


There is so much about Once Upon a Star that hits home for people who love cinema. It is about the love for the craft and an actor that ends up shaping their lives and how it all comes together for some people when things are not madly commercial. We enjoyed seeing Weir Sukollawat on screen and the way he made Manit his own. We have always liked the actor, and since some of the works we have seen of him are his Lakorns, it feels good to see him play someone more empathetic and kind in a story like Once Upon a Star, and here is the summary and ending of the film.

Spoiler Alert 

Why Does Kae Join The Traveling Cinema Troupe?

The traveling cinema troupe by Kao, Manit, and Man is struggling since they are losing business to other troupes, and their product isn’t selling as much as it once used to. The other troupes have the advantage of using men and women for the different dubbing requirements, whereas this troupe only has Manit doing all the work. The other troupes under their company are being disbanded, and this one is likely to face the ax very soon, which would mean an end to the dreams and livelihood of the trio. Therefore, Manit decides that if the company doesn’t make efforts to rebrand and modernize, he will do it for them and then present the results to convince them to make it a long-term thing. They have to do it in secret since they don’t have the company’s permission for it, and they find the perfect candidate for the job in Raeungkae (Kae). Kae has experience with live dubbing, and since she is only doing the job for money, she doesn’t mind it being a secret. Kae wants to earn enough to learn typewriting and then work as a secretary for a company, and this job is perfect for her.

Who Does Kae End Up With Between Manit And Kao?

We are only talking about the love triangle first because it is the most unimpressive part of the story, and we are getting it out of the way. When Kae first meets the troupe, she tells them that she has just broken up with her husband. Taking into account some Thai terminology and the probability of wrong subtitles, we are assuming that she meant she just broke up with her boyfriend. Since she is traveling with three men in close quarters, she lies to them that she has syphilis, so that they wouldn’t make unwanted advances on her or try to take advantage of her. We know right away that it is not the truth, and the group also figures it out soon enough, though they only reveal that at the end of the film. Our point is that Kao and Manit fall in love with Kae, and they decide to approach her individually to see who she chooses. This is their ‘gentleman’s agreement’, so that there is no discord in the group as they fight for her. In our opinion, neither of them should have tried anything because it was clear that Kae was still hurting from her breakup and needed time to heal, which shouldn’t be interrupted by anybody’s romantic advances. But this doesn’t get through the men’s dense heads, and when Kae is teaching Kao how to dub, he gives her some flowers, which is the first advance he makes towards her. As for Manit, he gets Kae a typewriter that he had seen somewhere, and Kae is quite touched by this gift.

One day, when the group is stuck in an unfavorable area, the army personnel help them out, and in return, the troupe agrees to screen a movie there. Manit tells the army people that Kae is his wife. He does that for practical reasons, to ensure that she is protected amongst all the men around. He admits to Kao that he had spoken about it to Kae later to clarify his reasons for doing so, but Kao is jealous and angry, as he feels that Manit used his position as a boss to gain an advantage over him. Unfortunately for them, Kae hears this conversation, and she is upset at the men making such an agreement in disregard of her feelings. She was about to return the typewriter to Manit to avoid such misunderstandings in the group, but upon hearing them talk, she dropped it in anger. Everyone is angry with each other, but when Manit falls seriously ill, they put aside their differences and reconcile. Kao and Manit apologize to each other, and all is well, though neither of them apologize to Kae, and it is a detail that is conveniently missed.

What Are The Challenges Faced By The Group?

Other than personal tensions, one of the major challenges facing the group is their rickety truck, lack of proper equipment, and not enough trained artists to make the movie as interesting as it could be. That is the primary reason that they kept losing to the other troupe, and after a particularly humiliating defeat, Kae decided to help them since she had trained with their rivals before things went sour. The first thing is to use all the help on board, which means that they have to start teaching Kao how to dub. With time, he picks up on the craft and is a valuable addition to the vocal talent of the group. All of them also understand that it is not just about giving dialogue and voice modulation but also adding their own occasional spin to the dub to make the experience as enthralling as possible and gain an edge over the competition. As they continue their travels while practicing their lessons, they improve their current skill set and are ready for greater challenges.

Does Kae Leave The Troupe For Her Typewriting Job?

Mr. Wichian, who is Manit’s boss, is adamant that there should be no change in the workings of the group. That is why Manit hid Kae’s involvement for the longest time, but they ended up getting caught eventually. By this time, Manit takes a stand and tells Mr. Wichian that their method is the only way to save the troupe and their jobs, and he has the proof for it. Seeing the result and Manit’s determination, Mr. Wichian decides to support Manit in his presentation to the company. But before that, the entire country receives the shocking news that Mitr Chaibancha, the actor whose films the troupe covered, has passed away in a tragic accident. It is a loss like no other because the troupe considered the actor a fifth member of their group, and his loss felt personal to them.

Kae even says that this was the first time she ever saw Manit cry. It was a time when all felt lost, but like a true leader, Manit told everyone that they should go to a festival and play all of Mitr Chaibancha’s movies as a final send-off. That is what they set out to do, and once they are there, it becomes quite evident that they are the superior troupe, unlike the case so far. But it wasn’t just a matter of the acquired skill set. It was about the fact that they were actually acting from a place of love and not just business. Be it how they break into an impromptu song and dance in the middle of the film’s performance or complement the dialogues with a spin of their own, the love for the actor and the story is evident in Manit and his team’s performance. At one point, when Manit is saying a dialogue about how the character misses his loved one, it is quite clear that he is mourning the death of the actor, and the audience catches on to the emotion. It is not about competition or business anymore but about the people’s love for the art and the actor and how they cherished the relationship they had with the person they saw on screen.

During Once Upon a Star‘s ending, the troupe is most likely saved, and they see off Kae by giving her a typewriter. A year later, in 1971, Kae is back with Manit and dubbing for films because she has discovered that bringing stories to life is her real love, and she likes that life more than that of a secretary. Manit has also won the lottery, and Kao has become an actor like he wanted. Everyone has been able to fulfill their dreams, and it is a wonderful end to a charming chapter of their lives.

Final Thoughts

It is hard not to like Once Upon a Star. Despite our feelings about it being too long, we can see why it was all essential viewing. This sweet and charming actor has brought to life the fandom of another beloved actor, which is marvelously done. Once Upon a Star is certainly a watchable movie for any day.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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