In Absolute Beginners (2023), Niko and Lena find themselves in a complex relationship when a third person joins them while they are filming a movie for film school. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Childhood best friends Niko and Lena have grown up knowing each other better than anyone else. They are planning to get into a film school together. In order to get admission, they are filming a movie over the summer.
Lena has feelings for Niko, and during the shoot, several times, she attempts to come close to him. Niko rejects all of her advances, making her disappointed to the point where she wonders if she is attractive or not.
Lena wants no one else but Niko, who, at times, is warned by everyone not to keep Lena hanging. At the same time, Lena’s parents are moving away to Italy, which is another baggage that Lena is dealing with.
One early morning, Lena and Niko save a basketball player named Igor, who is here for a sports camp, from drowning. Lena captures a beautiful shot of Niko performing CPR on Igor and bringing him back to his senses.
Niko finds himself attracted to Igor, and Lena realizes that they need Igor in their film. Lena and Niko seek the help of Malwina, who knows Igor, to get into the party of the basketball players.
At first, Igor gives a bad impression of being a bully with his friends until it becomes too much for Niko, who has a heart condition. Igor quickly realizes his mistake and does his best to help Niko and Lena out.
While comforting Niko, Lena manages to charm Igor. The two click, and Lena convinces him to work in their film. Niko overhears all of their conversation. When Igor is handed the script, Niko makes sure to remove the part involving an intimate scene.
Lena is ready to have Igor replace Niko and sleep with Igor instead, as the intercourse is a crucial part of the film. Igor shoots for Niko and Lena and also handles the pressure of being on a basketball team.
Igor also has to deal with his no-nonsense coach, Marcin. To make sure that Coach Marcin pushes him to be part of a senior team, he blackmails Coach Marcin with a picture of him naked and wasted, which he had captured.
Igor shoots most of the film with Niko and Lena, but he refrains from being part of the intercourse scene. The tensions between his teammates make Igor think about this more.
Igor cools things down by taking the initiative, and once that part is done, he shows up to shoot once again. This time around, he shoots that intimate scene with Lena.
In the heat of the moment, Niko ends up joining them too, making it a threesome. Lena makes sure to shoot all of it. Later, when Igor is told that all of that scene will be part of the film, he leaves in disappointment.
Even Niko and Lena butt heads on whether they should keep that scene. Lena is adamant. Hence, they take turns convincing Igor to let them keep that scene.
Niko’s method works, where he builds trust by handing the clip of that scene on a memory card to Igor. Meanwhile, Igor receives the opportunity to play for a club. It comes at a cost. He won’t be able to see his family more often.
Igor agrees to let Lena and Niko keep the scene when he goes out with Niko on a date. Niko takes Igor to a secret spot, where Niko finds his mother with another man.
Lena later comforts a heartbroken Niko, who pours out his frustration on her the moment she asks about the film. Niko comes to the conclusion that she only cares about the film and calls her out for being his responsibility all his life.
Absolute Beginners (2023) ending explained in detail:
Do Niko and Lena reconcile?
Lena leaves with all of Niko’s gear. She shows her film to her mother. Lena’s mother says that art needs sacrifice when it comes to that intimate scene. After all, neither Igor nor Niko have given her permission to keep it so far.
Lena’s mother and her partner fail to understand her film, and they advise her to do another cut until it’s perfect. Unfortunately, it’s the last day to submit the film.
At a time like this, Niko manages to track Lena down. Niko apologizes to her and makes up with her. She tells Niko that she is not using that scene. Niko sees Lena’s film and hears her idea. He records her narration, which is brilliant, and instructs her to add this to her film.
Niko says that this film is Lena’s, not his; he has got to find his own thing. While Lena will be submitting this film, Niko will go to Igor’s game. As they part ways, they confess their love for each other. Also, Niko’s parents are splitting up, and Lena’s are not leaving for Italy.
What happens to Igor?
Igor plays his big basketball match with his team. After wrestling with his emotions and playing terribly, he makes a comeback, and his team wins the game.
However, he declines the offer of playing for a club now. He believes it will all work out by itself. Igor values the time he has now with his family, who have come to see him. Niko arrives late, but he gets to join Igor and his family as they celebrate the win.
Does Lena get into film school?
At the film school, Lena is asked tough questions about her film and why it needs explaining. Till the very last moment, Lena keeps doubting that the film is still missing something.
Lena expresses her love for making films when nothing works, and luck turns out in her favor as she gets admission into the film school.
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