Love Lies Bleeding Ending Explained: Unpacking The WTF Scenes And Why Perception Is Key

Katy O'Brian and Kristen Stewart in Love Lies Bleeding
(Image credit: A24)

Love Lies Bleeding pumps you full of adrenaline and leaves you scratching your head by the end. It’s a sexy, violent, and a little bit mad movie. It’s one of the great neo-noir crime flicks. Kristen Stewart gives another great performance in Love Lies Bleeding, and Katy M. O’Brian is equally enthralling in this breakout role. Love Lies Bleeding is hilarious at times with its surreal look at crime, love, and bodybuilding. The film has many WTF moments but the Love Lies Bleeding ending might be the biggest one. 

It borders the lines of reality and fantasy with an ending that escalates, cools down, escalates, and ends on a perfect final image. The Love Lies Bleeding ending ties up the movie but leaves a lot of questions that make you wonder what’s real and what’s fantasy.  Let’s dig into it.

Warning Love Lies Bleeding spoilers are ahead. Proceed with caution. 

Kristen Stewart and Katy O'Brian

(Image credit: A24)

What Happened At The End Of Love Lies Bleeding 

Lou Sr. (Ed Harris) kidnaps Jackie (Katy M. O’Brian) and plans to pin all the murders on her to free himself and Lou (Kristen Stewart) from facing any consequences. However, Lou warns him to let Jackie go or she’ll tell the police everything. He scolds her and hangs up. He sends one of his men to kill Lou. This leads to a shoot-out.

Lou manages to kill her father’s hired killer and heads to rescue Jackie. After a confrontation with Beth (Jena Malone), Lou saves Jackie. Jackie is not happy to see her because of the assumed affair with Daisy (Anna Baryshnikov). The women talk it out and then Lou goes to find Lou Sr. She tells Jackie to go the opposite way.

Lou Sr. shoots Lou in the leg. The two talk as Lou says the police are on their way. Lou Sr. tortures his daughter a bit by sticking his finger in her gun wound. Then plans to kill her. However, Jackie turns into a huge version of herself and picks him up.

Lou then places a gun in his mouth but doesn’t shoot. She and Jackie leave him for the police to handle. We then see Jackie and Lou on the road. Jackie falls asleep. Then Lou goes to check on Daisy’s body. Daisy is partly alive, so Lou strangles her. Then dumps her in the field and has a smoke. 

Giant Katy O'Brian in Love Lies Bleeding

(Image credit: A24)

How Perception Is Key To The Ending 

The Love Lies Bleeding ending can be taken at face value. Jackie suddenly transforms into a giant. However, it seems more complicated than just Jackie turning massive. The perception of Jackie offers some insight and clues into why she suddenly grows. 

Love Lies Bleeding is a love story and when people are in love, they often only see their partners as brilliant, beautiful creatures, at least at the start of the relationship. When Jackie returns to save Lou from her father, she is probably a normal size but Lou looks at her with such admiration, that she imagines her as this huge goddess-like creature. Some of the best romance movies also have an inflated gaze at the object of affection. 

In an interview with The Mary Sue, Love Lies Bleeding director, Rose Glass, kind of supports this theory of Lou having this elevated perception of Jackie in the end. 

Quite early on, I thought of Jackie as a little bit like a superhero. That’s certainly how Lou sees her, and I wanted the film to have that visceral feeling. So all the bulging, hulking muscles felt like quite a natural escalation to me.

The other way perception can work in this scene is that Jackie envisions herself becoming this goddess. She has always been obsessed with her strength and body. Jackie aims to push it beyond belief and may see herself achieving this when she saves Lou. The giant version is a physical manifestation of accomplishing the goal of using her strength in the best possible way. 

We also must remember that Jackie has kind of lost her mind. She’s been overdosing on steroids and dealing with the guilt and trauma of murdering several people. She could be fully imagining herself as a giant saving Lou. I believe most of the otherworldly stuff happening in Love Lies Bleeding is a metaphor for the characters’ perceptions or mental states. Therefore, I don’t believe Jackie actually turns into a giant. Someone is just projecting that idea of her in this heroic moment. 

Katy O'Brian and Kristen Stewart in Love Lies Bleeding

(Image credit: A24)

The Toxicity Of Love In Love Lies Bleeding 

Love Lies Bleeding is a great queer love story because it shows the complexities of falling in love. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine. It can reach levels of toxicity. Lou and Jackie’s romance follows similar patterns to other romance movies that end up in dark places. Like some of those films, Jackie and Lou reach dangerous levels of codependency and moral grayness. They do end up both killers after all, and kill for each other. 

Love Lies Bleeding showcases the extremes people go to for love. We also see this with Daisy’s obsession with Lou and how that ultimately leads to her death. Then we see this again with Beth and her willingness to endure because she loves and depends on JJ (Dave Franco). Lou also sacrifices some of her life because she loves Beth and doesn’t want to leave her alone with JJ and Lou Sr. 

In an interview with West Side Today, Glass mentions how films often oversimplify the idea of love. They only show it as a transformative thing in a positive way. They don’t show how it can push people to their most selfish and most destructive selves. 

Jackie and Lou are in the early stages of their relationship, so despite everything that has happened, they’re in a blissful haze. Once that clears, they may not be so happy with all the things they did for love and to be together. The Love Lies Bleeding ending shows this possibly sobering reality with how it starts with them running happily to travel the world and escape their crimes, then ends on a somber, harsh note. They still have to get rid of Daisy’s body.

Love can lift you up but also pull you down to the pits of hell.

Kristen Stewart in Love Lies Bleeding

(Image credit: A24)

The Fate Of Daisy And Why It’s Important To Lou’s Fate 

In an LA Times interview, Glass states that everyone eventually becomes their parents. This is the unfortunate fate of Lou. She may not become a ruthless kingpin criminal like Lou Sr. However, she has now inherited some of his attributes. Lou saw herself as more righteous and morally superior to her father, but killing Daisy, who was annoying but not deserving of death, shows she has his capacity for darkness and evil.

She can justify it to protect someone she loves. Lou Sr. may have started the same way. Lou Sr. even points out that she would like to believe she’s nothing like him, but she’s probably a lot like him. The film ending with Lou smoking is a funny nod to her trying to quit throughout Love Lies Bleeding. It also shows that she can’t escape bad patterns: smoking and murder. 

Because Love Lies Bleeding plays with reality, it’s unclear whether Daisy is really still alive. However, it doesn’t matter. Lou’s true colors are shown whether she really strangles a barely alive Daisy or just fantasizes about it. She has Lou Sr.’s darkness. In the same West Side Today interview, Glass explained how horrible deeds are all part of the film’s message.

Yeah. Selfishly, it’s kind of a love letter to humanity’s weaker, baser instincts. Maybe. But hopefully. It’s kind of like we think humans are terrible. All humans have the credentials to be terrible, but we’re also wonderful. We embrace the terribleness—some sort of love letter to it, I guess.

Love can be wonderful but it can also make you terrible. That’s one of the takeaways from the Love Lies Bleeding ending. Lou and Jackie’s love story is mesmerizing and romantic at times but it’s also chaotic and destructive. It’s the duality of love. 

Love Lies Bleeding is one of A24’s most interesting movies. It breaks the boundaries of reality and showcases all the bliss of falling in love with some gritty, dark aspects. We all go a little mad in love, just hopefully not to the extremes of Love Lies Bleeding.

Rent or buy Love Lies Bleeding on Amazon. 

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.