Warning: Spoilers for The Gift are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, and you totally should, please bookmark this page and wait until you’ve seen it before reading. Unless spoilers are your thing, in which case have at it.
With all of the makings of a sleeper end-of-summer hit, Joel Edgerton’s The Gift had a pretty good second week at the box office. Part of that is probably because of strong word of mouth, but a huge portion of its success should be attributed to Edgerton’s darkly beautiful efforts not only as a co-star of the film, but also as a writer and first time director of a film that explores bullying in a truly Hitchcockian fashion – right down to the devastating ending that clouds the film’s events in a shroud of ambiguity.
The Gift’s ending drops a huge question as to whether or not the baby born to Jason Bateman’s Simon and Rebecca Hall’s Robyn was fathered by Robyn’s husband, or by her would-be rapist, Gordo (Edgerton). While we’re shown extremely compelling evidence in favor of Gordo's possible status as the father, there are clues spread throughout the film’s narrative that suggest that the stalker is merely screwing with Simon’s head – as retribution for the rumors Simon had circulated years prior which lead to his many hardships. So who’s the baby daddy, and who’s gonna be mad? Prepare to unwrap the truth with us, as we open The Gift’s biggest mystery.
Scenario 1: It’s Gordo’s Baby
The case for Gordo’s surprise foray into fatherhood is what the film leans very heavily on in its third act, so let’s first break down the scenario that proves that he did the deed. In the gift package left for Simon as he returns home from the hospital, there are three items: a key to the house; an audio recording of Simon and Robyn’s conversation in Gordo’s "home," which lays out his supposed plan to steal Simon’s wife and get her pregnant; and the video recording of Gordo’s intrusion.
While Robyn was indeed drugged, and the footage shows Gordo entering the home – clad in a monkey mask, just to scare Simon even more – entering the house and climbing on top of Simon’s unconscious wife, the footage cuts out before any sort of sexual activity can occur. This leaves a lot of doubt in the case for Gordo’s parentage for the young one born in The Gift’s third act. However, if context clues are to be weighed as evidence, then Gordo’s conversation with Robyn could be the smoking gun, as he tells her "good things happen to good people."
If Gordo is as much of a creeper as Simon believes he is, then this line is meant to be an admission of guilt, and proof beyond reproach that Gordo took Robyn in an unconscious state and gave her the "gift" she and Simon had been struggling to achieve – that of a newborn child. But taking a look into Gordo’s character, another narrative begins to unravel throughout the entire film’s central mystery. Let's explore the alternatives.
Scenario 2: It’s Simon’s Baby
On the surface, The Gift paints Gordo as a raving psychopath. Yet, the film does as much work building a case for those who would defend him as it does for those who would condemn him. Most stories would paint the bullied as becoming the bully. Joel Edgerton’s writing doesn’t let the audience off that easily. A specific case in point is Gordo’s actions during the parking lot confrontation between himself and Simon, then the latter comes to "apologize."
While Simon characteristically bullies Gordo, and eventually causes physical harm upon him, Gordo does nothing to fight back against his assailant. Even throughout the preceding two acts of The Gift, we don’t see Gordo do anything out of sorts – except for the drugging of Robyn. Tabling that act for the moment though, the most Gordo ever does -- from a menacing standpoint -- is issue a foreboding warning to Simon that he should have thought before he acted. It all comes down to the fact that Gordo, while being victimized all of his life, never devolves into the total monster people would expect to see based on the trailers The Gift issued to promote its film.
If anything, Gordo seems like the type of person that perseveres through the slights dished out against him, and he does so with his faith in "good things" happening to "good people." Through this lens, his remarks in the hospital aren’t an admission of guilt, but rather a justification of faith. Robyn is a good person, so her wish for a child was granted; whereas Simon’s not-so good behavior has now saddled him with the thought that flesh and blood may not be just that.
With both sides of the equation out in the open, it’s time to evaluate the facts and reveal where we stand.
From where the current facts stand, as well some other questions the film leaves in its narrative, it’s a safe bet that Gordo is not the father to Simon and Robyn’s child. The argument hinges on one moment in the film’s overall narrative – and that is the supposed rape of Robyn. Again, viewing his outlook on life, as well as the pattern of behavior that he established throughout The Gift, Gordo is the type of person that believes in justice through superior moral standing. Which means he can be as good of a manipulator as he wants, but he’ll never influence a person’s actions with behavior as dirty as their own. In my opinion, anyway.
Now, as the film previously stated, the reason for Robyn and Simon moving to his old stomping grounds is that of Robyn’s history with substance abuse – which could be the assumed cause of her miscarriage. Which begs the question: if Robyn were drugged by Gordo, would that be enough of an event to screw with her body chemistry in order to prevent a successful pregnancy? Surely, the havoc caused by reintroducing such foreign substances into her body could have set her body chemistry back. More importantly, we previously saw Robyn taking drugs stolen from her neighbor’s medicine cabinet, and as she stated to Simon, she had an incident where she fell down.
Considering that Simon took this story as a common occurrence, and she was doping at the time, Gordo would have to have the aim of El Rey from Planet Terror and some sort of magical DNA to get past the pollutants in Robyn’s system at the time. Again, that’s if Gordo even violated Robyn in the first place, which I don't believe happened. But even if Gordo snuck into the house, drugged and had his way with Robyn, and she didn’t report him – it wasn’t until an undisclosed amount of time later that she had become pregnant. That doesn’t make his actions right, by any means. It just doesn’t make him the father.
Of course, a case can be made for either side of The Gift’s central mystery. Evidence can easily be refuted, and new evidence can be submitted to counter whatever is left standing. But considering Joel Edgerton’s hard work and lack of narrative shortcuts in The Gift, it feels like when all the facts are reported and accounted for, Gordo isn’t as much of a weirdo as Simon painted him to be. He’s just an odd soul who’s had his day against the bully that took his place in a chain of figures that tried to completely ruin his life.
Which means, it’s now time for us to turn the debate over to you guys: whose baby do you think Robyn gave birth to? Is Gordo a daddy-o, or is Simon the father? Deliver unto our comments section your own truthful gifts, and feel free to debate our claims. While you’re at it, feel free to revisit The Gift in theaters now – be it alone, or with a group of friends who haven’t seen it! Oh, and make sure that you’re squared with your friends in terms of anything you need to say sorry about. Remember, "you may be done with the past, but the past isn’t done with you."
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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