‘The Tearsmith’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Is Rigel Dead Or Alive?


Directed by Alessandro Genovesi, The Tearsmith revolves around the all-consuming love of Rigel and Nica. Hatred was the predominant emotion Nica felt toward Rigel initially, but she could not keep him out of her mind. Nica had lost her parents when she was young, and she was sent off to the Sunnycreek orphanage, where she met Rigel. As soon as she stepped into the orphanage, all the colors of her life were snatched away. Along with all of her belongings, the last remaining sign of her mother, a butterfly pendant, was also taken away from her. Life at the orphanage was harrowing, and after hoping to be adopted every year, she was finally chosen by a couple.

Spoiler Alert

How did Rigel end up at the Milligans’ house?

Nica was over the moon when she was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Milligan. For years, she had been dreaming about the day she would finally step out of the orphanage. Parting ways from her best friend, Adeline, was challenging, but staying back at the ‘grave’ (the orphanage) was not an option. Nica was well aware that the torture she was subjected to by Margaret would continue to haunt her even in the outside world, but she hoped to bury it and become the perfect daughter for the couple. The Milligans had recently lost their son, and adopting Nica was their attempt at coping with the loss by providing love and support to someone who desperately needed it.

While bringing Nica home from the orphanage, they heard Rigel play the piano. They were mesmerized by his talent, and he reminded them of their son, Alan, who was also passionate about music. Margaret warned them that the boy was not as easy to deal with, but the couple decided to adopt Rigel as well. Margaret was not happy with their decision; she physically tortured every child at the grave, but not Rigel. She did not expect him to leave, and she found it difficult to let him go. Nica was also not happy with the decision her adoptive parents had taken. Rigel had never been good to her, and he was the last person she wanted to live under the same roof with. Even though Rigel always pushed Nica away, there was sexual tension between the two. Nica tried to brush aside her thoughts, but Rigel’s possessiveness made her wonder if what they felt for each other was not hatred but love. She tried to convince herself that Rigel was the wolf in her fairytale, and he would ruin the life she was finally getting to build. Rigel too tried to distance himself from Nica, but it was not easy— they lived in the same house and crossed paths more often than he would have wanted.

Why did Rigel want to push Nica away?

While Nica tried to comprehend the emotions she experienced when she was with Rigel, Rigel preferred to shut her out completely. He was afraid of the way she made him feel. He wanted to be the cold-hearted man that Miss Margaret had groomed him to be, but every time he saw Nica, his heart raced. Rigel was convinced that he would never be the right man for Nica. She was the definition of perfection to him, and he believed she did not deserve to end up with a man like him. He was under the assumption that the darkness he carried within would destroy the fairytale life she hoped to live.

Moreover, the Milligans planned on making the adoption official after spending a few months with Rigel and Nica. They were unaware that Rigel and Nica were in love and that adopting them would legally turn them into brothers and sisters. Rigel knew how important it was for Nica to get adopted, and he did not believe their forbidden love was worth pursuing. But the thought of parting ways with Nica was painful for him. He could not bear to watch Nica with another man. Lionel had taken an interest in her, but Nica felt passionately for Rigel, making it impossible for her to be with another man. Rigel roughed him up, and he returned home with a busted lip and a fever. Nica looked after him that night, and they lost control of themselves and gave in to their emotions. After spending the night together, Nica knew that Rigel loved her, but their situation made it impossible for them to be together.

How did Lionel seek revenge?

Lionel was madly in love with Nica. She was unlike any girl in class, and he was determined to win her heart. But he soon realized that Rigel would pose a threat to his life as long as he was with Nica. Lionel was suspicious of the nature of Rigel and Nica’s relationship. While they were technically brothers and sisters, Lionel could sense that there was a romantic angle. Lionel continued to pursue Nica, even though she did not show any interest in him. During the school dance, Lionel took Nica to a room and forced himself on her. She tried to push him away, but he refused to let go of her. Rigel came to Nica’s rescue. That night, he told Anna that he wished to return to the orphanage and was not ready to become a part of her family. He did it for Nica, and he wanted to walk away from her, but he could not do so without bidding her goodbye. Thankfully, he came to the school party on time and rescued Nica from Lionel. They realized that they could not function without one another, and the two finally kissed. But the magical night came to a tragic end. Lionel was in a vengeful mood, and he chased Rigel and Nica in his car. Afraid of being run over, Rigel and Nica jumped off the bridge. Rigel protected Nica during the fall, and she ended up with minor injuries, but unfortunately, Rigel slipped into a state of coma. Nica was heartbroken and devastated; she wanted to spend all her time with Rigel at the hospital, but Margaret refused to allow her to see him. Since Rigel had expressed that he did not wish to go ahead with the adoption, Miss Margaret was granted the authority to make every decision on Rigel’s behalf. Nica realized that she had to take the matter to court and bring justice to Rigel.

Did Rigel and Nica end up together?

When Nica woke up in the hospital after the fall, she realized that the person who used to visit her every day in the dark cellar when she was kept locked in by Margaret was Rigel and not Adeline. It was love at first sight for Rigel, and he had secretly kept the pendant he was forced to snatch on Margaret’s order. He had always kept the butterfly pendant close to his heart because it was his only way of feeling close to Nica. He had risked himself to protect Nica several times without ever letting her know. When Adeline confronted him about his love for Nica, Rigel requested that she never let Nica know about it. He tried his best to hide the truth, but when they were together, the spark was impossible to contain.

Nica remembered her mother telling her that wolves were always villainized in fairytales, but that did not necessarily mean that they were evil. Rigel tried his best to be the wolf in her life, but Nica refused to believe that he had any bad intentions at heart. He had always loved her and tried to protect her from Margaret’s atrocities, and it was time that she did the same for him. A case was filed against Margaret, and the victims were brought to court for testimony. Some of the victims were still afraid of Margaret, and they provided false testimony in court, but Nica did not give up. When she felt overwhelmed, her adoptive mother, Anna, helped her build back her confidence. Nica stood before the court and accused Margaret of being an abuser and turning the orphanage into a hellhole. She had only recently realized that Margaret’s method of torture for Rigel was completely different. While they were physically abused, Margaret made Rigel watch the assaults. She wanted him to feel like a monster for not being able to help the victims, and she had convinced him that he had evil in him. Nica openly admitted in court that they were in love, and that was the reason why Rigel had turned down the adoption.

From the time that she had been enrolled at the orphanage, she heard the tale of the tearsmith. He belonged to a world where people were incapable of crying and lived like empty souls. He was a lonely man whom people visited in the hopes of being able to cry and experience some slight emotion. He used his tears to help those in need cry for the first time. After all these years, Nica realized that Rigel was her tearsmith—it was only because of him that she overcame the numbness she had learned to live with at the orphanage and experienced a wide range of emotions. To Rigel, Nica was his tearsmith because it was she who made him realize that he was not a monster and that he was capable of loving and taking care of her.

During The Tearsmith‘s ending, Rigel came out of the coma, and the happily ever after that Nica had always been searching for eventually came to life. Nica realized that even though living at the orphanage had left them broken as individuals, they too were capable and deserving of finding love and experiencing happiness. The final scene of The Tearsmith suggests that Rigel and Nica were living their fairytale, and their little daughter was a testament to the love they shared.

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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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