Simon (2023) ‘Netflix’ Movie Ending Explained: What Decision Does Simón Make About His Life?


‘Simon’ (original title: Simón), written and directed by Diego Vicentini, is one of the most depressing films of recent memory. Not because it is filled with graphic images or gore, but because it reflects a reality we are witnessing all over the world. So it hits just like Alex Garland’s ‘Civil War’ does. It follows a Venezuelan man who moves to Miami and seeks asylum after escaping a tyrannical regime in his home country. The film portrays young people fighting with the hope of freedom and trying to face reality. It shows their constant mental struggle to choose between two evils.

Spoilers ahead

Simon (2023) ‘Netflix’ plot summary and movie synopsis:

Diego Vicentini’s ‘Simon’ follows a Venezuelan freedom fighter dealing with PTSD and trauma after being exiled to the US. It largely follows his dilemma between starting a new life or fighting for a just cause he believes in. The film was part of several film festivals and was also nominated for a Goya Prize.

What happens in ‘Simon’?

Diego Vicentini’s ‘Simon’ follows a young man named Simón (Christian McGaffney) who flees his homeland in Venezuela for the United States. We see him struggle to make peace with his new reality while escaping the tragic past. After being exiled, he moves to Miami, Florida and begins his new life. As an asylum seeker in the US, he barely makes ends meet in his daily life. He works in the back-end team of a restaurant while sleeping anywhere with the help of his local helper, Helena (Prakriti Maduro). She offers him help with necessities such as mattresses, clothing and shelter.

Because Simón needs help with his asylum application, Helena introduces him to Melissa (Jana Nawartschi). Melissa lives in the US and hopes to use her law degree for humanitarian causes. She hears Simon’s story about how he and his colleagues resisted the tyrannical regime in their home country. Faced with injustice, Simón and his friends decided to take a stand, but they faced some obvious pitfalls. Simón previously studied engineering and wanted to work in civil engineering to improve the country’s infrastructure. However, he felt morally obliged to participate in the fight against their oppressive regime.

Simón’s traumatizing past

In Venezuela, Simón was a student with a loyal group of friends. The country was confronted with serious injustice at the time. After hearing about the death of one of their friends, Simón became passionate about fighting the righteous fight. With his outrage, he and his colleagues took to the streets to protest. But the regime decided to divide and conquer them. They arrested Simón and his friend Chucho (Roberto Jaramillo), along with some other young people. The officers responsible tortured them to weaken their revolutionary spirit and make them abandon their righteous mission. Unlike Simón and Chucho, other prisoners did not actively fight against the regime, most likely out of fear of the consequences. So they argued with Simón and Chucho for getting them into that mess.

Simon (2023) 'Netflix' movie ending explainedSimon (2023) 'Netflix' movie ending explained
A still from Simon (2023)

The officers subjected them all to torture, expecting that a confession would benefit the regime. They manipulated the youth by endangering their family members. Colonel Lugo (Franklin Vírgüez) expected Simón to sign a document that would invalidate his morals through a series of lies. Instead of giving in to the pressure, Simón refused to do as he was told and conveyed his spirit of protest. Meanwhile, Joaquín (Luis Silva) succumbed to the pressure of the officers and revealed the details of the protests. So he got out safely, leaving people like Simón stranded and struggling.

The idealistic drive of Melissa and Simón

For the American asylum application, Simón must share details about his past in Venezuela. He remembers how he pressured his comrades in the fight for justice and freedom. Simón wanted to fight against the lack of basic necessities in a country where more than 96% of the population lives in poverty. As he talks about it, he struggles to breathe. Mellisa realizes that he is still suffering from the effects of PTSD and calms him down. She asks him if anyone can confirm his stories to make his application strong. While speaking to them on a video call, he realizes that Adriana (Arianne Giron) is suffering from the lack of insulin supply in their country.

Melissa helps Simón get insulin injections for his friend. Her mother, Doctor Moore (Sallie Glaner), cannot provide it without a local prescription. She notes that she could lose her medical license if she helps. Melissa doesn’t like that her mother isn’t driven to help people despite her privilege. Unlike her mother, he is idealistic like Simón and hopes to bring about tangible change with her qualifications. Although there is little hope, Simón finds a way to obtain insulin from an under-the-radar source. With Melissa’s help, he escapes a likely fight and sends insulin home. Then he feels comfortable talking about his application. His friends agree to sign it.

Simon (2023) ‘Netflix’ movie ending explained:

What decision does Simón make about his life?

After Simón’s friends agree to help him with his application, they ask him to participate in a discussion about the next action for young people across Venezuela. Although Simón still believes in those ideals, he seems to be tired of the struggle after everything he has encountered. Regardless, he agrees to participate in their meeting. Later he goes dancing with Melissa at a local club. Suddenly he notices Joaquín entering and is overcome with anger. So he punches Joaquín in the face. Shortly afterwards, the police arrest Simón for assault. To help Simón, Melissa tries to find the cause of his anger. She searches Joaquín’s details on the internet and finds him in person.

Melissa asks Joaquín to take back his abuse case against Simón to avoid jeopardizing his asylum application. After her passionate plea, Joaquín agrees to help. However, in prison he gets into a heated argument with Simón. So the officers do not release Simón immediately. Nevertheless, Melissa continues her efforts, eventually allowing Simón to be released. As soon as he gets out of prison, he meets Joaquin and hugs him. They both decide to overcome their past differences and lead the path with compassion. Shortly afterwards, Simón is interviewed for his asylum application. While the officer expects him to explain his past, Simón finds himself in a state of uncertainty and still thinking.

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Simon (2023) Movie links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
Simon (2023) Film cast: Christian McFaffney, Jana Nawartschi, Roberto Jaramillo, Luis Silva, Prakriti Maduro, Franklin Virgüez, Pedro Pablo Porras, Sallie Glaner, Conlan Kisilewicz, Carlos Guerrero, Sofia Riba, Mike Boland, Gabriel Bonilla, José Ramón Barreto, Arianne Giron, Idanis Infante, Isairis, Kelliane Rae Jordan
Simon (2023) Film genre: Drama | Running time: 1 hour and 39 minutes
Where can you watch Simon?