‘One Fine Morning’ Ending, Explained: How Did Clement Affect Sandra’s Life?


Directed by Mia Hansen-Love, One Fine Morning is a tale of love and loss. Sandra, a single mother, suffered from an aching sense of loss when her father’s condition started to deteriorate rapidly. A philosophy professor by profession, Sandra’s father lost his sense of self as the rare degenerative condition majorly affected his brain. It started with the loss of sight, but gradually he started to lose touch with the world around him. The things that once defined Georg Kienzler no longer interest him. Even though her father was alive, he was not the man Sandra had known all her life. Hansen-Love beautifully captures the pain that Sandra experiences as a part of her life gradually ceases to exist.

Spoilers Alert

‘One Fine Morning’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

We get to know that Sandra’s husband, Julien, died five years ago, and she was not romantically involved with anyone from then on. Sandra was a translator and had to divide her time between taking care of her daughter, Linn, and her job. With her father suffering from a chronic disease, Sandra also had to regularly cater to his needs.

Sandra carefully listened to her grandmother complain about how the older one grew, the more people looked at them differently and thought they were worthy only of pity. She lamented about how one loses their independence as they grow older; it is almost as if they are perpetually locked in a cage. As long as she was alive, she wanted to be present and live and not be looked at with pity. The time spent with her father and her grandmother affected the way Sandra looked at old age. The fear of losing herself and only physically existing sometimes got to her. What is living if you no longer have your thoughts to give you company? What is existence if the things that mattered to you the most—the work that once defined you, the discussions that kept you awake at night—mean nothing but jargon?

Sandra’s father struggled to perform every-day tasks, and his ex-wife, Francoise, suggested that he be admitted to a facility where he would receive constant care. The decision to relocate her father to a nursing facility was one of the toughest decisions Sandra had to make. It was suddenly all too real for her, and the idea of selling his apartment and giving away his collection of books scared her. The distance was no longer intellectual; it was physical. Sandra sobbed as she packed her father’s suitcase. She knew that he would have never wanted to leave his apartment that sheltered his wide collection of books, but then again, he was not the person he once used to be.

‘One Fine Morning’ Ending Explained: How Did Clement Affect Sandra’s Life?

Sandra was introduced to Clement through her husband. Clement was Julien’s friend, and Sandra was always intrigued by his adventurous stories. Their chance encounter at a park was the beginning of their friendship. Clement was married and had a son, but he did not share a romantic relationship with his wife, Valerie. Their friendly meetings gradually turned romantic with a kiss Sandra shyly planted on Clement’s lips. Clement’s love and admiration for her helped her cope with the feeling of losing her father. But her relationship with Clement was not all that joyful; Sandra often felt neglected. She could not help but think that she was Clement’s mistress and that his loyalty was to his wife. Even though Clement wanted her to believe he loved her, she did not feel certain about it.

Valerie eventually found out about her husband’s affair, and he was asked to leave the house. For the next few days, Clement lived with Sandra and Linn. Sandra was glad to see the adorable friendship that Clement had developed with Linn. Linn started to accept him as a father figure and approved of her mother’s relationship with him. Just when Sandra started to feel content, Clement expressed that he was not yet ready to leave his wife and make his son suffer because of him. He hoped for Sandra to understand his situation, but Sandra could not look beyond her suffering. He was the first man she fell in love with after her husband, at a time when she was already tormented. Clement left her, and everything around her felt dull. A text from him after a few days engulfed Sandra with a multitude of emotions. Clement could not get over Sandra, and neither could she forget him. They were back together again. After shifting her father to a couple of nursing facilities, Sandra and her sister finally found the right one for him. Though for their father, it was all the same. Sandra kept most of her father’s books for herself. She believed his collection defined him better than the person he was reduced to due to his condition. The books made her feel closer to him than she ever did when she was with him in the same room. His vision was almost gone, his thoughts had become incoherent, and Sandra had started to accept that one day he would forget her. It pained Sandra when she saw her father cluelessly searching for his partner, Leila, at the facility. Her father once said that Leila’s presence reminded him that he was loved, or rather, worth loving. He always craved Leila’s comforting touch; perhaps her presence made him feel a little less alienated.

When Sandra received a text from Clement stating that he would not be able to meet her, she was crushed. In a way, the text confirmed that she was not what mattered most to him and that he could leave her high and dry any day. She questioned their relationship after she and Linn had to hide from people Clement knew at a park. Sandra clearly stated that she was not ready to be his mistress anymore. She wanted him to either be completely there for her or end their relationship. Clement decided it was better if they parted ways, but he promised to return the day he would separate from Valerie permanently. Sandra had given up hope; she did not expect him to return. With Sandra’s time divided between Clement, her father, and her job, it seemed Linn had started to feel neglected. She developed a fake limp (that she was convinced was genuine), and it appeared to be due to the lack of her mother’s attention and perhaps also the sudden absence of Clement.

Sandra found a few writings by her father in his diary. He documented his thoughts and observations during the onset of his condition. He tried to prevent his condition from worsening and adjusted accordingly. He regretted his inability to read, the one thing he enjoyed the most in life. He was overwhelmed by the thought that whatever was in front of his eyes would cease to exist at some point. His awareness of the loss made it all the more painful, but he hoped that by writing, he would rise above the disease. That he believed would truly be his victory. He eventually forgot to write. He did not experience the victory that he had once been hopeful about. Sandra learned that her father wanted to write an autobiography about his childhood in Vienna and his father’s suicide; he titled the book One Fine Morning.

At the end of One Fine Morning Sandra noticed two missed calls from Clement. She immediately contacted him, and once again, Clement was back in her life, but this time he did not intend to leave. After spending a few days in Italy, Sandra, Clement, and Linn visited Georg. He appeared better than before, but he could barely recall anything at all. He did not know where he was and failed to register what Sandra was trying to convey. He was living in an abyss, a fear that he once documented in his diary. Sandra, Clement, and Linn attended the recital organized by the nursing family with Georg. As the entire room burst into song, Sandra could not hold back her tears. It became unbearable for Sandra to watch her father in that condition, and she decided to leave.

The three walked to Sacre-Coeur and watched the cityscape. The soothing presence of Clement brought a smile to Sandra’s face. Perhaps the relationship Clement and Linn shared reminded her of her childhood. Francoise was mostly absent when Sandra was young, further explaining her anguish when her father started to lose his memory. It was almost as if Sandra’s childhood was becoming blurry. Sandra is a mother, a lover, and a daughter, and Mia Hansen-Love sincerely captured each of the relationships masterfully in One Fine Morning

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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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