White Noise Ending Explained: What Happened at the End of the Film?

White Noise Ending Explained: Many people were taken aback by the oddity of the trailer for the Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, and Don Cheadle film, and the film itself is undoubtedly as eccentric and chaotic as the trailer led us to believe.

As a fellow critic, Harris Dang said: “Noah Baumbach took all that Netflix money and made White Noise, huh? Bra-f**king-vo, mate.” Congratulations, indeed. We rated the film four stars because of its balance of postmodernism and intimate character study and its captivating production design.

Of course, no film is universally praised, and we’ll be the first to admit that White Noise isn’t for everyone. So, if you’re curious about how it ended or how it differs from the source material, keep reading as we delve into what happened in White Noise.

White Noise Ending Explained

White Noise is divided into segments (which feel like symphonic movements), all of which deal with themes of mortality. The first section is an academic one, where we meet professor Jack Gadney (Driver), his wife Babette (Gerwig), and their family.

Gadney, a renowned professor, is preparing to teach his Hitler studies course at the College on the Hill for another year and is concerned about an upcoming conference because, to his great shame, he does not speak German.

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Murray Siskind (Cheadle), his coworker and friend, is equally concerned about garnering support for his own Elvis studies lecture and asks Gadney to drop by to draw attention. What follows is an academic chest-beating competition that Gadney appears to win, though their mutual admiration makes it feel more like a tie.

Meanwhile, the eldest Gadney child is spying on her mother Babette, whom she suspects of being addicted to drugs and thus forgetful.

White Noise Ending Explained
White Noise Ending Explained

A sudden ‘airborne toxic event’ disrupts their lives, sending them on a desperate journey to a quarantine station. When Jack realizes he was standing in the open air during the toxic rainstorm and his health may have been impacted, he is met by a team of ‘SIMUVAC’ responders (as in, simulated evacuation, which only confuses them as to whether the airborne toxic event was even actual).

They eventually return home for the next movement of the film, Babette has grown increasingly distant and finally confesses to enrolling in a study for a drug to combat death fear, but it is canceled.

Babette needed the medication and began exchanging s*ex with the mysterious Mr. Gray in exchange for the drug, Dylar. Still, she stopped taking it because it caused her to become confused and she couldn’t distinguish words from their objects.

When Jack discovers an ad for Dylar in their trash, he takes his father’s gun and searches for Mr. Gray (also prompted by Murray’s remark that taking a life might alleviate Jack’s fear of dying). Mr. Gray is high on his supply, and he, too, suffers from the inability to distinguish words from their meaning.

Jack takes advantage of this, saying things like “speeding bullet!” causing Mr. Gray to fall to the floor. He eventually corners Mr. Gray and shoots him, holding the gun in his hand to make the wound appear self-inflicted. Mr. Gray is the only survivor, and he shoots Jack and Babette, who has arrived on the scene.

Jack has overcome his fear of death due to this exchange, and he and Babette drive Mr. Gray to a hospital run by atheist German nuns. The irony is too much to bear, and it brings Babette and Jack back together.

The final scene occurs in the A&P supermarket, where they run into Murray and briefly, apparently happily, discuss the previous year. The credits begin to roll as they approach the tills, and everyone begins to dance.

White Noise Trailer

You can watch the White Noise trailer below:

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