‘The Dive’ Ending, Explained & Film Summary: Did Drew Finally Save May?


The Dive is a new survival thriller drama film that would be quick to remind one of the similar 127 Hours. But unlike on any mountain or cliff, the drama in this film takes place deep underwater, where two sisters dive down on their reunion trip. A remarkable factor about the film right away is that it is eerily empty and devoid of characters, intentionally so, since the two sisters are in a place far away from human civilization and, therefore, far from any help if or when danger strikes. Although The Dive is essentially very simple and bare-bones structured as a film, the execution and the performances of the two actors are good enough to make it a nice watch.

Spoiler Alert

What is the Film About?

The Dive begins on windy, empty roads through which a single rented car travels towards its scenic destination. Inside this car are two women, sisters Drew and May, who are evidently meeting each other after quite some time. Neither of them knows details about the other’s life in recent times, and makes conversation about the same. It gradually becomes clear that the elder sister, May, is also generally detached from the entire family, for she had no idea that Drew was now living together with their mother. But May is not very inquisitive either, and it is mostly Drew who tries to know more about her sister’s current life.

Once the car arrives at the designated spot, it is revealed that Drew and May have come for a diving and swimming adventure in the sea—an activity that they have participated in since their very childhood days. Getting ready with all the right equipment, the sisters shelter their bags and remaining belongings inside a small cavern on the beach and then finally enter the water. The satisfaction of the act is immediately seen on their faces, and Drew and May appear the most comfortable and in their best forms while underwater.

Finding a small but hospitable cave underwater, the sisters come up to the surface for some air and some rest from the swimming. It is now that the younger sister, Drew, expresses herself more openly to her sister. It was Drew who had planned this adventure for the two of them, and every year, it would be she who would plan such outings and trips for themselves. The sisters clearly meet only once a year during these adventure trips, and so Drew genuinely wants to make the most of them. However, she is unable to understand whether May enjoys any of it anymore and is also confused about how the elder sister behaves and acts at present. Although Drew mentions all this in order to understand her sister better, such an expression does not go down well with May. The elder sister swims away from the cave, intending to return to the surface, and Drew has to follow.

Just at this moment, some natural disaster, like an earthquake or simply the falling of loose rocks, takes place on the beach, resulting in heavy stones falling directly into the water. Drew somehow manages to avoid the falling rocks, but shockingly finds out that May is now stuck under a big, heavy rock underwater, with the oxygen in her cylinder steadily running out.

What does Drew have to do in order to help her sister?

Drew’s initial scare is about not being able to find her sister underwater, but once the two sisters are able to reunite with each other, the real danger of the situation is revealed. May is found inside a crevice more than 100 meters below the water’s surface, as her leg is stuck under a huge, heavy rock that had fallen because of the impact of the disaster on land. Although the woman currently has a diving mask attached to an oxygen cylinder, this cylinder is about to run out within a span of twenty minutes. Therefore, Drew’s first mission is to go back to the surface, get hold of extra oxygen cylinders, fetch a jack from the car to be used to lift up the rock, and also get any help if possible. She must do all of this within twenty minutes.

After returning to the surface, Drew realizes that her task has become significantly more difficult owing to the fact that the earthquake has affected the land as well. The sisters had kept two spare cylinders with their bags inside the cavern on the beach, but this place had completely collapsed, making the cylinders no longer accessible. Drew now has to hike up to the place where they had parked their car and take two spare oxygen cylinders from the car. She tries to open up the boot space in order to get the jack, but this becomes almost impossible since the boot space cannot be opened without the car keys. Drew tries to hammer the compartment open but to no avail. Finally, she sacrifices the entire car by rolling it down the side of the hill in order to get the compartment open. But much to her horror, Drew does not find a jack inside but instead, a modern air pressure tool to fix punctures.

While Drew is able to get the oxygen cylinders back to May underwater, she still remains hopeful that she will be able to find some help. The first possible help appears in the form of a small boat that sails by the place, and Drew tries to grab its attention as hard as she can. At the same time, she also has to rush back under the sea in order to take the cylinders since May was waiting for the oxygen, and she could have died without it. Therefore, Drew has to jump in at one point, still hoping that the boat will wait for her back on the surface. However, when she returns once more, she sees that the boat is nowhere to be found. This must have meant that the boat had either not spotted her at all or that it had left, unwilling to wait around for her.

Drew then also goes in search of help at a different spot after she sees a building nearby on the map they had in their car. The woman frantically runs towards the place and finds the building, which is actually a small church. However, much to her dismay, the place is empty as well, and there are simply no human beings around them at all. She leaves messages asking for help at the building, too, hoping that if someone returns to the place sometime soon, they could find her message and head to the spot on the beach where May was stuck. Unfortunately, though, no such help comes their way at all, and there are simply no other human beings seen in The Dive other than the two sisters.

What had happened between the two sisters in the past?

Along with the grave danger at present, The Dive also regularly goes back to the sisters’ childhood and the unsaid grievances that they had. Despite these mentions, which come in the form of fleeting scenes of the two sisters in their much younger selves, what exactly had gone wrong between them or the family is not revealed. If we are to take a guess, then it seems like May had gradually grown apart from her sister and her family because of certain misunderstandings stemming from childhood. During their younger days, the girls’ father used to give them basic training and lessons about how to be underwater, and based on one scene from this time, it seemed like May was afraid of the depths of the sea.

Diving or swimming underwater did not come as naturally to May as it did to Drew, and this seemed to have an initial impact on the elder sister’s psyche. Later on, the father also left the girls and their mother within a few years after he had first started training the sisters. Whether the man actually passed away or simply left the marriage and separated from the family is also not clear. Either way, it seems like May always kept feeling responsible for the departure of their father, even though there was no logical reason for her to feel so. It could be that to her young mind, her inability to dive well enough or be underwater for long were reasons for her father’s departure, even though they did not actually have any such effect.

Stemming from this, May started growing resentful against her sister and also against her mother. She always started to feel as if everyone else would act all special and privileged while she alone had to bear the brunt of dark, difficult thoughts. At present, while stuck under the rock, May is swarmed by all these negative thoughts, even though she tries not to think about them since that would take away more energy from her and, in turn, lead to her using up more oxygen.

Did Drew finally Save May?

During The Dive’s ending, the situation becomes extremely grave for May since the oxygen supply is almost depleted, and the heavy rock has not been moved at all. Drew finally comes up with the plan of using her air cushion to blow it up and move the rock with it, but this is not easy to do either. At one point, Drew has to come to the surface, making it seem like May cannot be helped out of her crisis after all. But the younger sister once again returns to the underwater crevice, and ultimately, she does manage to knock the rock loose and get May’s leg out.

Once the two sisters are able to swim up, they return to the underwater cave, where May now takes the lead to save Drew, who still needs a lot of oxygen before being able to return to the surface. The elder sister is now able to find one of the previously lost oxygen cylinders and give oxygen to Drew just at the most crucial moment. Ultimately, both Drew and May are able to swim back to the surface and out of the water, and it is their sheer courage and will that save them on this occasion. Not only does the horrific incident serve as a great lesson for them, but it also solves all issues between them. May now opens up to her sister in an unprecedented manner and also promises to plan their yearly adventures for the following year, marking a true reunion between the two sisters.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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