‘Spirited’ Ending, Explained: Why Did Present Choose To Not Retire? Did Clint Redeem Himself?


The Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell-starring Christmas musical “Spirited” is all about redeeming oneself. Each year, the afterlife world chooses one perpetrator and transforms that person into a better version of themselves. The process is a collaborative work of the Ghost of Christmas past, present, and yet-to-come. They take the perps on a journey and show them how their past had influenced them to become the person they were and how their wrongful behavior affected those around them in the present and how the future could be catastrophic if they don’t change themselves. Behind the entire process works a team of spirits who plan the entire ordeal that ultimately leads to their success. They selected those people whose change in behavior could create ripples all over the world. While they planned to change an abusive, self-centered manager, Present believed that Clint Briggs was the ideal candidate. He was not just a self-obsessed, profit-making machine but also highly influential. While Present thought changing him could create ripples, his file stated that he was unredeemable. No one believed that changing Clint was a possibility, but Present was not ready to give up on him.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Spirited’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Clint Briggs was the founder of Briggs Media Group, a company that specialized in creating controversy. He lost his sister, Carrie, five years ago, and her daughter, Wren, was looked after by his brother, Owen. He was considered unredeemable because he did not believe that people could change. But for Present, this was an important project, and he had personal reasons to prove that an unredeemable man could be changed as well. And ultimately, he was able to convince the spirit world to consider Clint Briggs as their target, and they dedicated an entire year to researching him and creating his past, present, and future events that could guide him to be a better person.

When Wren approached Clint for guidance on how to become the Student Council President, he suggested that they dig up dirt on her opponent and post it on social media. Instead of asking her to choose an honest way to win the election, Clint taught the young girl that winning was more important than the process. Clint asked Kimberly to find something controversial about the boy running for the position. Kimberly, Clint’s assistant, was not someone who enjoyed doing what she did. She knew how problematic Clint’s business was and going through a kid’s social media to find dirt was the new low. Even though she wanted to leave her job, it was not an easy choice. Present felt a deep connection with Kimberly, and he appeared to her.

As Christmas approached, it was time for the three ghosts to guide Clint to the right path. But dealing with Clint was not easy at all. He lacked a sense of guilt and instantly started flirting with the ghost of Christmas past. Past realized that the haunt was nowhere near a success, so she bailed on it and asked Present to cover for her. Even when Present showed how his mother’s behavior affected him as a child, he laughed it off, saying that his mother taught him how to sell lies which, at the end of the day, helped him build his career. So, he had no complaints about his past. From the past, we get the idea that Clint was extremely close to his sister, Carrie, and she always went out of her way for her brother. But there was one memory that Clint struggled to relive, indicative of how he regretted a past mistake. Meanwhile, Present and Clint developed a friendly bond, and through their conversation, we got to know about Present’s life on Earth. “Spirited” is not just about Clint’s redemption journey but also about how Present learned to take a chance.

Who Was Present? Why Did He Choose Not to Retire?

To show how redemption was possible for someone who seemed unredeemable, Present showed Clint his past. Present was alive two centuries ago. He was the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’s novella “A Christmas Carol.” He was a despicable miser who ill-treated people and hated Christmas. He was visited by Marley’s ghost, who asked him to either redeem himself or be prepared to be trapped in heavy chains in his afterlife. He, too, was considered unredeemable, just like Clint, but in the end, he did become a changed man. This was the reason why Present could not accept that Clint was unredeemable; he believed that no matter what, a man could be changed.

After learning about his past, Clint asked him if he truly remained a changed man all his life, and Present agreed. But the catch was that he only survived for three and a half weeks after his transformation. Therefore, Present, aka Scrooge, did not know for sure if he truly was a good man. He feared becoming the person he used to be, and that was the reason he never retired to go back to Earth and live a mortal life. Clint helped Present realize how he needed to take a chance and live the life he deserved instead of fearing the worst. Present was in love with Kimberly, and that was the reason why she could see him. With the support of Clint and Marley, he finally accepted his retirement and decided to pursue his love for her in the mortal world.

‘Spirited’ Ending Explained: Was Clint Redeemed Finally?

Present showed Clint how his colleagues and friends thought less of him, but his brother, Owen, stood up for him. He explained how Clint was alone most of his childhood which was why he could not trust anyone else but himself. Present forced Clint to revisit a memory he always ran from. It was when Carrie was admitted to a hospital, and she knew that her days were numbered. She requested that Clint take care of Wren after her death, but Clint rejected her request. He stated that he was too selfish to be a father, and even though Carrie believed there was some good in him, he proved that day that he cared about no one else but himself. Clint felt guilty about not taking Wren’s responsibility that day, which is why he never revisited that memory.

Now that Wren asked him for guidance to win the Student Council presidential election, he taught her to be selfish and evil. When Josh Hubbins uploaded a picture of him serving food to the homeless, Wren felt an instant need to destroy his image. She uploaded a video of him in which he criticized the homeless people, and he was instantly canceled on social media. Josh Hubbins uploaded that video a long time ago, and he deleted it as well. He was a child, and whatever he did was out of immaturity. For the first time, Clint experienced inner turmoil. He tried to justify himself, but at the same time, he realized that what the kid had to go through was not what he deserved.

After Present left, the ghost of Christmas yet-to-come visited Clint. The grim reaper-looking ghost showed how the video uploaded by Wren could destroy Josh’s life. In the future, Josh committed suicide, and there was no way for Wren to correct her mistake. After returning to reality, Clint hurried to stop Wren from publishing the video. But as it turned out, Kimberly had discussed with Wren how her choices made her who she was. Therefore, Wren chose not to upload the video and instead fought the election fair and square. The fact that Clint ran to stop Wren from making a mistake that could ruin one’s life showed that Clint was no longer self-centered; he had started to care about others. But he was not yet declared redeemed by the spirits. Present was upset that Clint had not been declared a changed man, and he decided to give up on his mortal life to go back and understand what went wrong. But for Clint, the friendship he developed with Present was all that mattered. Clint asked Present to enjoy his life and relationship with Kimberly, but for Present, his friend’s redemption meant everything, and for that, he was ready to die. A bus was about to hit Present as he stood in the middle of the road, but Clint ran to save his life. He chose to put his life in danger and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his friend. This was an act of pure redemption. He was finally declared redeemed, but at the cost of his life.

Though all was not lost in the end, Clint was reunited with his sister, who expressed how proud she was of him. After failing her once, he was glad to have her by his side. She held his hand and calmed him down as he walked into the afterlife. Clint became a part of the spirit world. He headed the Christmas haunt planning and modernized the setup. He also seemed to have developed a romantic relationship with the ghost of Christmas Past. Meanwhile, Present lived his dream life with Kimberly. They had two children now, just like he had always imagined. Clint continued to visit them time and again and sought his help when the cases seemed difficult. “Spirited” ends with Clint showing the file of a woman to Present, and they figure out that her romantic life negatively affected her. The new case could be indicative of a second part. “Spirited” is a comedy musical that you can watch with your family for a good laugh.

“Spirited” is a 2022 Drama Family film directed by Sean Anders.

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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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