Anatomy Of A Fall Ending Explained: Is Sandra Really Innocent?

Anatomy Of A Fall Ending gives us that Sandra was innocent and that she wasn’t the one who killed her husband. But is Sandra really innocent or did she manage the truth from everyone around her?

Now I have raised the question of whether Sandra is innocent or not. And I will give my reasons as to why she could not be innocent and why she killed her husband.

With that, I’ll do an Anatomy Of A Fall Ending Explained and break down all the important things that you need to know from this international film. I will also give my thoughts on what I thought about the movie’s direction and the performance of the actors.

Anatomy Of A Fall Movie Explained

Anatomy of a Fall is a gripping courtroom drama centered around a successful novelist called Sandra Voyter, played by Sandra Huller, who is standing trial for the possible murder of her husband, Samuel. He’s played by Samuel Thies.

The film starts off in an isolated chalet in the French Alps, where German novelist Sandra lives with her French husband Samuel was also an aspiring writer, but not quite successful. They live along with their 11-year-old boy Danny, who’s played by Milo Machado Graner.

Anatomy Of A Fall Ending Explained
Sandra and Daniel standing in front of Samuel’s body (Credits: France 2 Cinéma)

Sandra is being interviewed by a young grad student who is being a little aggressively flirty and domineering with her. They’re then interrupted by Samuel blasting loud music who’s upstairs renovating the attic. The song choice, not that it’s all that important, is the instrumental version of 50 Cents PIMP. This is an ironic clash of hostile energy given the song’s heavy usage of Caribbean drums, it’s anything but relaxing.

So they cut the interview short, the interviewer leaves, and Sandra goes upstairs for a nap. And then the focus switches to their visually impaired son, Danny, who takes his dog, Snoop, out for a walk. When Danny returns to the chalet, he finds his father lying dead in the snow, in a pool of blood, with a gash on his cranium. And the question becomes, what happened? Was it an accident? Did he fall? Was it suicide or was he pushed by a scorned wife?

The forensics don’t quite match up to indicate it was a suicide, so Sandra becomes the number one suspect in the investigation. The remainder of the film sees her standing trial and it is riveting with a barnstorm and a great performance from Sandra Huller. I’m actually shocked that she didn’t go on to win Best Actress at Cannes this year.

Guess what genre of novels Sandra is writing… that’s right, Crime. In the opening interview scene, we learn that she mixes truth with fiction, leaving us to figure out what’s real. The life is now imitating her art, so one has to ask, is she a criminal mastermind? I mean, the tabloids seem to think so, the headlines practically write themselves. And it is a grueling experience for both Sandra and her son, who are both cross-examining, caused by a bullish prosecutor.

Son Caught In Between

I also want to talk about their son, because their son is blind. I think it’s really fascinating that most of the supposed truth per se throughout the film comes from somebody who is blind. And I think that’s just a really interesting statement. Especially because he’s so connected with this dog, Snoop, who is the first and last thing that you see in the film. And guess what he is, he’s black and white.

Anatomy Of A Fall Ending
Milo Machado Graner as Daniel (Credits: France 2 Cinéma)

It was such an intentional choice from the director, which I think is just so brilliant. I mean it’s quite literally the first thing that we’re seeing is him drinking out of his water, which then becomes quite important later on. And then you see him with Sandra in the final shot and it’s like a representation of her and it’s like she’s been reunited with the the truth.

I felt especially bad for Danny because he really is stuck in a lose-lose situation because even his father killed himself and he has to live with that or his mother killed his dad. So there’s no ideal outcome here.

Anatomy Of A Fall Ending Explained

Speaking of the the ending of Anatomy Of A Fall, I think it’s very interesting that Sandra is deemed innocent and we’re never told whether or not she’s innocent. We as an audience don’t know if she is really innocent.

But it’s really fascinating to me because they’re like celebrating after Sandra is deemed innocent. And there’s a moment where I was waiting and she literally did what I wanted in the next scene. It’s like if you’re deemed innocent, it’s just like nothing happened but the person is still dead.

The only thing that felt good about being innocent was the threat loomed over your head that you could be guilty. But if you’re just innocent this was all for nothing and nothing actually happened. And then you’re essentially you’re celebrating for you know overcoming the possibility of something happening that didn’t and her husband is still dead. A year of her life was spent on this wasted. And whether she did kill him or she didn’t kill him does it even affect her? She was obviously still I think upset.

So the question is: Did Sandra kill her husband in the movie? I think she did kill her husband and I am saying this, especially after rewatching it. I mean again I still kind of really don’t know but the way that they described the potential way that he felt really seems like he would have had to thrust himself very forward for him to fall in that particular way.

Anatomy Of A Fall Explained
Sandra in court (Credits: France 2 Cinéma)

Two of her descriptions of what happened or what she said happened at the beginning of the movie are extremely unreliable. And I understand that part of that is reactionary due to how recent the event was and how much he had undergone within those first few days. Again, I still don’t know and the film caused me to be so conflicted.

I think that the film isn’t very specifically trying to set up conflicting points. Because I think the point of the film is that there is no truth behind this. And the fact that I’m trying to analyze it is probably ridiculous. But I also do think that she’s innocent because I think the point is that we shouldn’t know if she is innocent or not.

With the structure of the film, it felt like the director was very specifically structuring it so that way you couldn’t make a conclusive argument.

Anatomy Of A Fall Review

Anatomy of a Fall is well written, shot, and performed. The screenplay by Triet and Harari is expertly written, keeping the audience in the dark but allowing all possible scenarios to play out. It is a mystery, but it’s not like a murder mystery in the same sense as a head-scratching “Who done it” like Knives Out. This is more of a procedural examination of the facts and whose interpretation of the facts we believe to be true.

There’s a very telling shot in the courtroom where the camera ping ponges back and forth between Danny’s perspective like he’s watching a tennis match. It really tells the audience that he is stuck between a rock and a hard place. This was a wonderful performance from the child actor.

I think that the reason why I found Anatomy Of A Fall so compelling is because I really believe in the performance. The drama felt real, it is technically a courtroom drama, but it never felt like a soapy melodrama courtroom drama.

Anatomy Of A Fall Movie Explained
Sandra at her trial (Credits: France 2 Cinéma)

Sandra is having every nook and cranny of their lives exhumed, a full-on assassination of her character. No stone goes unturned, whether it’s her marriage, occupation, her love life. She’s subjected to all sorts of intrusive questions, like “As a writer did she poach some of the best ideas from her husband and put them into her own novels?” “As a mother, where she partially responsible for her son almost going blind?” And “as a wife, was she faithful?” 

There’s an excellent sequence where we hear a recording of Sandra and Samuel’s domestic squabblings in court. It plays out like a parallel flashback of events. It is a gripping scene, and it’s pretty much the only scene we actually get with Sandra and Samuel sharing the screen together. It works so well because this scene reveals so many layers of Sandra’s character, and Sandra Hueller really comes alive in this scene.

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