The Neon Demon Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Nicolas Winding Refn’s painting will first fascinate you, and then eat you. The film made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival.

Thanks to the amazing camera work and the musical accompaniment compatible across all frames, absolutely everything on the screen looks harmonious.


Young Elle Fanning, as an aspiring model named Jessie, arrives in Los Angeles from her small hometown. She manages to sleep fraudulently for a casting at a modeling agency. Where, thanks to her angelic appearance, she is chosen to participate in a prestigious show. The natural beauty of a young girl is admired by famous photographers, designers and fashion designers, and accomplished models are envious. Jessie is beautiful without plastic surgery, and without work on herself, and without starvation. All her competitors are endlessly angry at her. But none of them knows that the young model spends the night in a dirty hotel, and every day she faces different problems, even in the face of men.

The fashion world is slowly but surely pulling Jesse into its arms. As it does so, her pride grows. She becomes a living mannequin, admiring her unusually beautiful appearance. Jessie takes jobs from more experienced models Gigi, played by Bella Heathcote, and Sarah, played by Abby Lee. The final transformation happens when Jessie realizes that everyone around her admires her, when everyone wants to be her. The motto of the world around her calls to forget about morality, about values, about experiences and concentrate on beauty.


“Neon Demon” is full of gloomy aesthetics. From the very first frames, the film speaks in plain text about all the upcoming events in the life of the heroine. The photo shoot of the dead and bloodied Jessie is what sets the tone for the entire film. And yes, the model is alive at the art photo shoot. But with every step in the cruel world of fashion, she will lose a piece of herself, she will die until there is nothing left of her soul. And then the body follows. Frames of the fashion world, shows and castings are accompanied by cruelty and spilled blood.

“Neon Demon” is not about fashion and beauty in certain circles. This is a visual representation of the behavior of people in the modern world regarding beauty. How do those who do not fit modern ideals feel, how the feeling of their inferiority flourishes in them. And those who fully meet all the standards of beauty are overwhelmed with a sense of superiority. Winding Refn demonstrates beauty at its best, but utterly devastates it and deprives it of its soul. Because of what the whole picture is like a nightmare.

Characteristics of heroes

Male characters inspire fear and disgust. They look like serial killers.

The female characters in the film, in turn, are overwhelmed with pride or envy. They have individuality, insidiousness, ruthlessness.

The connection between Ruby and death is demonstrated throughout the film. The colors around her, the museum house, the scarecrows, the work in the morgue – everything suggests that Ruby has long been dead inside.

Gigi calls herself a “bionic woman”. The model is empty and artificial. Sarah, on the other hand, is deeper, she understands what is happening around her and experiences a lot of emotions about this. Jesse differs from them in his sincerity, which fades over the course of the film.


“Neon Demon” by Nicolas Winding Refn is a story about the dangers of the glamorous world. The cougar warns Jesse of the danger with his growl. But the model misses it when trying to succeed in the modeling business. The more she achieves, the higher she rises, the more she goes over the heads of others, the more she strives for fame, the more it seems to her that the whole world is at her feet. All the way it is accompanied by triangles, as symbols of secret societies. A demon awakens in Jessie as she approaches the pinnacle of fame.

In the film, the photo is portrayed as a murder. A lively and beautiful model freezes on film, it only seems to be alive. This is the same illusion as the rouge applied to the cheeks of the deceased by the beautician of the funeral agency.


This film will not leave anyone indifferent. The beautiful world of fashion is revealed to Jessie and the viewer in all its beauty, but then everything is overshadowed. Envy, violence, necrophilia, cannibalism. And the result of all that happened is eating a rival to gain her best qualities, in the style of the Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

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