Prisoner’s Daughter is a story with a depth and lightheartedness that we did not see coming. We were expecting to think that its two-hour runtime would be longer than it needed to be or that there would be an oversimplified narrative with some glaring holes, as is often the case with TV movies. But we were wrong on both counts and Prisoner’s Daughter ranks high in our esteem, so here is the recap of this.
How Do Maxine And Ezra’s Lives Change?
Max MacLeary has just found out that he only has a few more months left to live, and he is prepared to do that in the company of his friends, in prison, where he has been for the past several years of his life. However, he is getting a compassionate release, and if his daughter, who is his last remaining family member, agrees to it, he can go spend his last days with her. But Maxine is far from compliant with this idea. She is working two jobs, and she has lost one of them because of a scene created by Tyler, her son’s father. Tyler wants to see Ezra, but Maxine doesn’t allow it because he is a drug addict and wouldn’t be a good influence on her son. Tyler, instead of getting clean, just continues acting out. Meanwhile, Ezra is facing his own troubles at school. Since he has epilepsy, the children bully him constantly and call him a “twitcher” for his seizures. During a particular altercation, when Ezra is the one who ends up harmed, the incident goes on his record, even though he was the victim in this case. Initially, when Maxine gets the call for Max to live with her, she is furious and reluctant because he has always been an absentee father, and she hasn’t heard from him in 12 years. But when she finds the noose tightening around her neck due to the huge financial issues, she decides to let her father live with her, provided he has money and will pay her rent while taking care of his own food and other necessities. Max is more than happy with the arrangement, and he is dropped off at Maxine’s house by the officers, where he will spend the rest of his days on house arrest. There is a tracker on him, and the police need to be informed whenever he goes outside of a 50-meter radius of the house.
Maxine introduces Max as an uncle of hers since she has told Ezra that her father died long ago. The matter is that Maxine is not ready to forgive her father for being absent from her life this whole time. Because Max wasn’t there, it was up to Maxine to take care of her mother and deal with her addiction. This meant that she did not have a normal life, and the current state of her affairs was also due to the lack of a strong and caring parental figure in her life.
Max realizes this, and he wants to do what he can to help his daughter. He calls in a few favors from his ex-associates, Yarik and Hank, and they help him set things up. Max had lent Hank some money years ago, and he returned it to him as much as he could, even though Max asked him to forget about it. As for Yarik, we have a feeling that Max took the fall for his crimes or that he is associated with him and what made him go to jail in some way, which Max is keeping a secret. This matter is not brought up again except once, when Max says that he and Yarik are even. Max has a separate room constructed for him attached to the main house that he says Maxine can rent out later, and he also gives her the money that Hank has returned. This causes a fight between the two, with Maxine thinking that it is dirty money and her father assuring her that it isn’t. When Maxine talks about the hardships she had to go through due to his absence, he accepts his mistake and asks for a chance to set things right. Maxine agrees and takes the money, which helps her out a great deal in paying off the mortgage and a bunch of other expenses. Max also sets her up for a job that pays well, so a lot of her troubles are already dealt with. Ezra knows that Max is his grandfather and not his mother’s uncle. Maxine may not have completely hated her father because she told Ezra that he resembled his grandfather in the way he used to make her laugh. Ezra probably eavesdropped on some of his mother’s conversations, and that is how he knows the truth and takes it really well.
Since Ezra is having a hard time with the bullies at school, Max offers to teach him how to fight. Of course, he cannot do it directly or leave the house, so he takes Hank’s help for it. What do you know? It works, and the next time Ezra’s bullies pick on him, he is able to fight back. The entire bullying scenario is just proof of how, in most cases, it is a matter of unloading one’s own problems onto the other. The first time we saw a boy called Ezra “Twitcher”, he looked around to check whether others had found it funny or not, meaning that it was indeed an exercise in social bonding (the ugly kind) and thoughtless fun. As the three boys are waiting outside the Principal’s office, Ezra asks them why they hate him so much, and they don’t have an answer to that. However, now that he is as strong as them, they agree to bury the hatchet.
‘Prisoner’s Daughter’ Ending Explained: Why Does Max Give The Bat To Tyler?
The recurring problem in Maxine’s life is Tyler. Ezra loves him and wants to see more of him, but Maxine doesn’t like that because Tyler doesn’t stop taking drugs, even when he has to care for his son. When Ezra insists that Tyler come to his birthday party, Maxine gives in and asks him to stay off drugs for one day. But Tyler doesn’t do that and comes to the party inebriated, where he creates a scene in front of everyone. That is when Max steps in and beats up Tyler, warning him to stay away from his daughter and grandson.
Later, when Max goes to meet the doctor, he is told that he doesn’t have much time left. Max is dejected because, for the first time, he wants to live. When he initially got his diagnosis, he couldn’t care less, but now that he is living with Maxine and Ezra and is actually happy, he wants to live longer. However, when he goes back home, he finds his daughter with bruises on her face and neck, and she is in tears because Tyler had forced his way into the house and taken Ezra with him. Max promises her to set things right, and he drives to Tyler’s garage. He tells her that the moment Ezra comes out, she must drive away while he takes care of things. Max goes into Tyler’s place with a bat, and he makes sure that Ezra leaves. Once Max delivers a few hits, he hands over the bat to Tyler and asks him to do what he wants.
As expected, Tyler beats him to death, and at the end of Prisoner’s Daughter, Max passes away. Since he is out of his designated area, the police arrive at the scene and arrest Tyler when they witness what he has done. In jail, Max’s friends are waiting to exact their own revenge on the man who killed him. We believe that the reason Max handed over the bat to Tyler was that he predicted this very sequence of events. He knew that Tyler had to leave Maxine and Ezra’s lives for them to move on peacefully, and there couldn’t be a better solution than jail. Max also knew that he was going to die, so that is why he used Tyler’s anger to get the job done quickly instead of suffering for days to come, the price of which would have been paid by Maxine and Ezra. But the reason he chose such a violent death may have been because he was trying to atone for his own sins. The conversation he had with Hank right before everything went down, where he asked him how bad he had been, was an indication that something like this was about to come. In short, Max had settled his dues before he left the world for good, and the people he left behind were proud to be associated with him.
Frankly, Brian Cox will never stop being good-looking, charismatic, or relevant. The way he carries this story or any story for that matter, will always have us swooning over him. As for the movie itself, it is a good watch with a lot to unpack in its ending with regard to Max’s moral processes. We were not expecting that depth or that level of accountability in him, and that elevated a simple story to the next level. We would certainly recommend watching this movie.