‘The Moon & Back’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Does Lydia Complete The Space Chronicles? 


Every so often, we get an indie coming-of-age movie that’s both emotionally draining and rewarding at the same time. The Moon & Back is one of them. The film follows Lydia’s journey to find herself while simultaneously trying to deal with her father’s death. The Moon & Back is a pure film set in a time when we were more connected with reality and had time to dwell on the frivolous. So, for a person like Lydia, it’s difficult to find distractions when there isn’t much to really help with your reeling thoughts. Lydia’s story begins in 1985, when her parents get married. Her father, Peter, always had a love for the camera and recorded the family on every occasion he could. Peter, Diane, and Lydia lived a beautiful, loving life until one day Peter got sick and died. Devastated, Lydia starts to act up and distance herself from everyone who has ever cared for her. 

Spoiler Alert

Why does Lydia decide to make a movie? 

The Moon & Back begins with a montage of the family through video from Peter’s vintage camcorder. Lydia’s in her last year of high school, and it’s been one year since her father passed. She spends her lunches with the school counselor, and she’s got no friends. You’d imagine she’s one of those sad-looking girls, but she’s actually quite the opposite—a robust kind of personality, quite smiley too, and always ready to win an argument with her mother. The house they’ve been living in, Lydia’s childhood home, is too expensive for Diane to afford now, and she plans on moving them, but Lydia hates the idea. There’s a neighbor named Simon who used to be really close to Lydia back in the day, but they drifted apart. Simon’s parents are separated, and it seems he too is in a bit of a difficult position because his father’s recently left the house. Simon’s part of the AV group, and he asks Lydia to join him sometime, but she obviously regurgitates at the idea because it’s so uncool. 

Mr. Martin, the school counselor, can see potential in Lydia, so he wants to send her off to college on a scholarship. He lists down some big schools with scholarships, and her ears perk up at the sound of NYU. Her father was an alumnus, so Martin encourages her to pursue this idea. Additionally, to apply for the scholarship, one must send in their life story in any medium they please. So, a movie, for example (you know where this is going). Lydia’s also upset with Diane because she’s seeing a new guy, and he’s quite nosey when it comes to Lydia. He just wants to help her, but of course, she sees him as someone who is trying to replace her dad, and so, when he offers her a job, she immediately panics and tells him and Diane that she’s going to be making a movie. Lydia’s just recently found an old script her father wrote, and it really excited her, so she wants to make it into a film for her NYU application. 

Lydia really wants to feel close to her dad still, but her mother’s quite skeptical of the idea because her dad never finished the script, and she doesn’t want Lydia to end up living in a dream world as her dad did. The story is titled “Space Chronicles” and doesn’t have an ending, plus Lydia doesn’t know the A of filmmaking, except for the massive camera her dad left behind for her. Of course, there’s only one solution: Simon, her childhood best friend and member of the AV club. Simon reluctantly agrees to help Lydia. 

Does Lydia find an ending for the film? 

Lydia and Simon, with the help of an over-enthused Martin, hold auditions for the film and start the project. For a while, things are looking up, and Lydia finally has something to feel good about and to look forward to, but whenever things get hard, she wants to give up. Simon’s always supportive of her and helps push her to do better. When it comes time to finish the movie, Lydia goes into panic mode again and pushes everyone away. Despite Simon’s efforts to get close to Lydia and actually become friends, she’s so obsessed with her film that she doesn’t really understand how much she needs him. 

The reason Lydia pushes everyone away is because she doesn’t want to let go of this beautiful thing her father came up with. Writing her own ending would be tarnishing her father’s work. Plus, she has no clue how he’d have ended his story. Additionally, Diane’s words probably weigh down on Lydia because she doesn’t want to disappoint her mother. I suppose you could say Lydia felt like she lost a part of herself with her dad, which is why she’s trying so desperately to find herself through her dad’s work. She’s meant to tell her story through this body of work. After fighting with everybody and throwing a huge tantrum, Lydia finds herself alone again, but this time she knows it’s terrible to be lonely. Simon wants to share a meal with her and tell her that he got into his dream university. But Lydia just wants to work and forces him to blurt it out in a fit.  

Lydia admits to herself that she doesn’t know how to make this work and apologizes to Simon for hurting his feelings. She asks him to go with her to prom, and she promises to be a good friend to him. Ironically, she doesn’t even know that she has to edit the film, and this is when Diane’s boyfriend comes into the picture. Lydia apologizes to him and admits that she was being a foolish child because she thought she’d lose her mother too. He’s a great guy and has the right equipment to fix her movie up for her. Watching all the clips play, Lydia finally figures out how she wants to end the film, and she needs Simon and her mother to bring it to life. 

The end of The Moon & Back is Lydia’s little film, playing for her mom and everyone involved in the film. In all its glory, it’s a kid’s film made with a handheld video camera, papier mache props, intense musical sequences, and even a rap battle between aliens who eventually fall in love. That’s all fascinating, but the end of her film is about love, and it’s about her father. In the film, the king is saved thanks to the love of his life coming back to save him, played by Lydia’s mother. The story ends with Lydia’s birth and how the three of them planned their future and watched movies together, watching the galaxy from their little spaceship. The movie is called The Moon & Back because it’s something Peter used to say to Diane, as we see in the videos. I suppose since he was such a nerd, it only made sense that he would use such a statement to show his undying love for his family. It’s a heartfelt and sweet movie that will move you to tears by the end because everyone feels lost and confused, like Lydia, but sometimes there’s no one to help you find yourself. For Lydia, it was not just her dad; in fact, it was everybody around her since his passing. We don’t really know if Lydia makes it to university and what her future holds for her, but we do know that she finally knows how to deal with her sorrow and feel the love she receives, which is plenty better than the start of the film.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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