Rebecca Miller’s 2023 romantic drama film, She Came to Me, is a refreshingly unpredictable tale. We have multiple characters dealing with personal crises, and in the end, the problems are resolved in an unexpected manner. Miller sketches quirky characters with varied backgrounds, adding more layers to the story.
A notable opera composer, Steven Lauddem, suffers from creative blockage, and his history of depression and anxiety makes it a tough case to crack. Steven hides away from people and struggles to make eye contact, knowing that he has lost the gift he was bestowed with—music. Helping Steven cope during his dark time was his wife, Patricia Jessup-Lauddem. She was a therapist, and they fell in love during the five years Steven received treatment for his mental health. While they chose to take their relationship beyond the therapist-patient dynamics, there was a clear lack of romantic affection. Steven needed someone to help him with his day-to-day activities, and Patricia, with her calm demeanor, assisted him as much as she could. We are also introduced to Patricia’s son, Julian, who is madly in love with Tereza, the daughter of an illegal immigrant, Magdalena, who works as a house helper at Patricia and Steven’s place.
How did Steven overcome his creative blockage?
Patricia advised Steven to take a walk to clear his mind. She was tired of having him complain every second of the day, and she was hopeful that he would find inspiration for the next opera outside. As much as Steven hated the idea, he obeyed and left with their dog. He followed the direction Levi chose and ended up in front of a pub. It was morning, and the pub was empty, but Steven decided he could use a drink. He started to interact with the bartender, but the questions ended up being a little intrusive. Realizing Steven was looking for someone to chat with, a woman at the bar took the seat next to him. They were the only customers there, and she explained that the reason behind the morning drink was that she had an off day at work. The tugboat operator intrigued Steven since she was not the kind of person he met in his regular life. She lived in her boat and traveled all around—a life far too different from Steven’s.
Opening up to the stranger came naturally to the opera composer, and Katrina ended up inviting him to her boat. Steven learned how Katrina had grown up on the boat, and she had to take over after her father met with an accident. Steven felt a little overwhelmed when he entered Katrina’s bedroom, and she spoke about her addiction to romance. Katrina was trying to become a better person after she was arrested for stalking, and Steven was not sure if he made the right decision by agreeing to take a look around her boat. Katrina had taken an interest in Steven, and as much as a red flag Katrina seemed to be, Steven could not resist her charms. After getting intimate with Katrina, Steven regretted his decision and left the boat in a hurry. While he did consider it a big mistake, Steven was inspired by Katrina and had successfully written an impactful opera. Unbeknownst to him, Katrina was present in the audience, and she walked up to Steven, asking him to admit that she, indeed, was his muse. Steven was left flustered, and he hurriedly escaped from the theater and settled in his bedroom. He did not wish to be reminded of the one time he cheated on Patricia, and he was scared of acknowledging his feelings.
Why did Patricia choose to become a nun?
Patricia was a compulsive cleaner, and when she heard her patients speak their minds, she often wanted to get inside their heads with a bottle of disinfectant and scrub their thoughts. In her free time, she enjoyed cleaning her house; perhaps it made her feel in control of her surroundings. Patricia was pregnant with Julian in her second year of medical school, and we can only imagine the struggle she went through to raise her son while studying to become a doctor. Maybe the severe lack of control during a phase in her life resulted in her compulsive behavior. While reminiscing about her past with Magdalena, she was reminded of her time at her Catholic boarding school. She had not given too much thought to her religious beliefs, but she remembered the unforgettable feeling of satisfaction when she peeped into the rooms of the Catholic nuns. The dream of having no clutter around had perhaps started then, and Patricia believed that cleanliness made her feel spiritually fulfilled.
From that day on, Patricia could never get past the thought of the calm she felt in the rooms of the nuns. She started to visit the nearby church and experienced a sense of fulfillment in helping others. When Patricia was pregnant, it was only her grandmother who helped her through the journey, and after all these years, maybe Patricia too wanted to be someone who could be relied upon. She wanted to give away the life she had built in exchange for a tiny, decluttered room with only her bare essentials. Patricia was on a spiritual journey, and she realized that devoting her life to the higher power was the only way for her to experience true joy.
How did Julian and Teresa decide to overcome their problem?
As young as they were, Julian and Teresa were confident about their relationship. They were also quite realistic, considering they often discussed how they might grow up not wanting to be with one another, but even if they parted ways, they knew they would always have each other in their thoughts. While the adults in their lives brought in the realistic aspects of things, Julian and Teresa believed in their love. They were both passionate about saving the environment through science, and their shared future goal made it easier for them to connect. It is impossible to predict whether a relationship will make it to the end, but in Julian and Teresa’s case, the fact that they were together at the moment was in itself fulfilling.
But not everyone thought the same way. Teresa’s mother was left speechless when she learned that her daughter was in love with Patricia’s son. Magdalena believed that their class differences would one day or another impact their relationship. Just like Patricia, Magdalena, too, got pregnant when she was young. The unplanned pregnancy resulted in her choosing to quit her studies, a decision that she regretted every day, and it was the reason why she wanted Teresa to succeed in life. She wanted to live through her daughter and had unknowingly burdened her with her expectations. When Magdalena came across explicit pictures of Teresa in Julian’s room, she did not know how to react. Her little girl was making her own decisions, and she wondered if she was failing as a mother. She showed the pictures to her partner, Trey. Teresa quite aptly described her adoptive father as a racist dictator who enjoyed recreating chapters from the Civil War with his group of fellow enthusiasts.
Trey always felt the need to prove that he was the head of the house and that education could never be a determining factor when it came to making wealth. He was a proud court reporter, and he firmly believed he had the knowledge and contacts to fight his own legal battles. When Magdalena showed him the Polaroids, Trey instantly decided he was going to file a rape charge against Julian. He did not care that their relationship was consensual, and the thought of punishing Julian gave him a sort of racist pleasure. Magdalena begged him to stop, but Trey was not ready to listen. At the end of She Came to Me, Magdalena decided she would do anything necessary for the happiness of her daughter. The only way to get past the rape charges was marriage, and Teresa was sixteen, making it impossible for them to get married in New York. So, after conducting some research, Julian and Teresa found out that they could be legally married in Delaware with parental consent.
Did Steven and Katrina unite in the end?
During She Came to Me‘s ending, Steven sought Katrina’s help for the sake of Julian and Teresa. After Patricia found out about his affair with the tugboat operator, Steven was forced to confront his feelings. As strange as it seemed to him, he knew that he was in love with Katrina. He all the more fell for her when he realized how she was ready to go the extra mile for the sake of a happy ending, even though it was not her story. She could have rejected Steven’s request, but she gulped down her ego and decided to help the young lovers. She Came to Me ends with Steven expressing his feelings for Katrina. Her lovesickness was not necessarily evil, and Steven realized that she inspired him in more than one way. After getting ordained online, Katrina officiated Julian and Teresa’s marriage in Delaware. Steven wrote another opera loosely based on Teresa and Julian’s love story. Katrina watched the opera in awe, and seated in the audience along with her was Patricia, who had taken her vows and become a nun. Even after recovering from a mental breakdown, Patricia’s desire to live a sacred life remained intact. She was finally at peace, and her decision did not impact her relationship with her family.
After overcoming what seemed like impossible hurdles, Julian and Teresa were finally together at the end of the film. Magdalena was proud of the decision she made, and she continues to support her daughter. The young couple work towards a greener environment, and they try out their experiment using solar panels on Katrina’s tugboat. Katrina continues to be the captain of the ship, and Steven has joined her boat crew. He still plays music on the boat, thanks to Aunt Moxie. Steven’s dog, Levi, who was in some way responsible for how things took shape in Steven’s life, has also joined the crew, and it seems he enjoys the view through the boat window.