‘Glitter’ is a series about three women trying to live their lives on their own terms in Poland in the year 1976. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
In 1976, in Sopot, sex work is a profession that women choose consciously. The series claims that this story could have been the story of a few of those women.
Helena is an independent woman, who works for the Security Services. She brings the men targeted by Security Services to the assigned room and sleeps with them, where they are photographed.
She has been able to earn enough money through this job. She exercises her choice in choosing the assignments; her contact in Security Services, Adam, cannot force her to do anything.
Helena is asked to bring a French journalist, Thomas, to her room at a hotel opening, where she also catches the attention of Staszek, a college student. She spends the night first with Thomas and then with Staszek.
Pola is a single mother who lives with her son, Józek, and her mother. She does not like working as a sex worker, so she makes shampoo at home. However, her license to run her own business is canceled by a government official who wants to take advantage of her.
She breaks the official’s nose when he demands sexual favors. She meets with Władek, another government official, to bribe him. He refuses to take the bribe, but he promises to get her license back if she sleeps with him.
Pola begrudgingly accepts his offer; she takes him to one of Helena’s rooms in the hotel and photographs him with herself.
Meanwhile, Marysia, a student, also comes to the party. She meets Jurek, who deals in illegal currency exchange. He refuses to pay her attention. However, he keeps watching her all night and then saves her when another man forces himself on her.
She spends the night with him. The next morning, she finds him gone, but he leaves her some money.
Pola blackmails Władek by showing him the photographs she took of them together. He still refuses to help her get her license back because if the photographs are leaked, it would do much more damage to her than to him.
She then approaches his wife with the photographs, but his wife tells her that they have an open relationship. However, when Pola shares her plight, she tells her about a Polish expat, Karmen, who is doing business with Władek.
Pola visits Karmen, who initially humiliates her and throws her out, but Pola returns and expresses her desire to do business with her. Karmen accepts Pola’s offer.
When Marysia fails to pay her rent, she goes to meet Jurek and spends the day with him. They go back to Marysia’s place to get her belongings. She even gets to meet his parents, and Jurek asks her to spend the summer with him.
Meanwhile, Helena approaches Thomas again while Pola asks Helena to get her in touch with Security Services. Adam meets Pola in the hotel room, and she realizes that he knows everything about her life.
He then locks her in that room for hours. They let her go when she tells Zbyszek, Adam’s colleague, that she is ready to cooperate with them.
Marysia and Jurek spend a lot of time with each other and seem to get closer.
Helena goes on a date with Thomas to the beach, but she brings along Bogdan, her friend. They have a good time together under the influence of drugs and alcohol. They are forced to escape in a hurry when Bogdan starts a fight at a local restaurant.
To her mother’s disapproval, Pola gets involved in Karmen’s perfume business with Władek, who wins over Józek and then sleeps with Pola.
Marysia tries to find a client at the hotel, but she fails. She goes back to Jurek, who denies arranging clients for sex workers at the hotel.
Helena and Thomas go on multiple dates. Helena starts developing feelings for him. At the same time, she uses a naive Staszek to keep her feelings in check by sleeping with him.
She also rejects Adam’s advances, who then makes Staszek hear a recording of Helena confessing to Bogdan that she is simply using Staszek and does not have feelings for him.
An angry Staszek interrupts her date with Thomas. Helena confesses that she has been sleeping with Staszek and leaves. She visits Adam the next day to tell him that she would not work for Security Services anymore.
Thomas comes to her house and takes her to a party. Bogdan is also at the party when Helena tells Thomas’ friends that she is a sex worker. Helena is jealous to see Thomas with another woman, but she keeps denying her feelings for him.
Helena meets Marysia and gets her in touch with Security Services. Marysia wants to choose her own clients, and when Adam denies her request, she refuses to work for them.
Władek’s father-in-law, a powerful man, meets Pola and threatens her to stay away from Władek. He tells her she can have her license back, but Pola does not want to go back to her old life.
When she goes home, she finds her mother and her son missing. She looks for them all night, and in the morning, she finds out that her mother took her son. She makes the decision to walk away from them.
Helena informs Adam that she is planning on leaving Poland. As Adam was not able to find any proof against Thomas, he offers to get her passport made if she agrees to get Thomas’ confession.
Glitter ending explained in detail:
What happens between Marysia and Jurek?
After refusing to work with Security Services, Marysia finds out that Jurek lied to her; he arranges girls and foreign currency for other men at the hotel.
She sleeps with Karmen for money. Later, she dresses up and catches him red-handed. She confronts him, and he tells her that she keeps looking for excuses to work as a sex worker.
A furious Marysia trashes his apartment and discovers his stack of money and gold. It is implied that she took his money.
Does Pola work with Karmen?
Pola refuses to work with Karmen after being threatened by Władek’s father-in-law. She goes out drinking with Wladek, and they call a truce of sorts.
Pola’s mother tells her she only meant to scare her by taking Józek away for a day. Władek’s wife finally leaves him.
She comes to meet Pola and offers to help her in exchange for shares in her perfume business, which would no longer include Władek.
Taking her advice, Pola meets with Zbyszek and asks him to be a partner in her perfume business.
Does Helena betray Thomas?
Keeping her feelings aside, Helena agrees to betray Thomas in exchange for the passport. She asks Thomas about his real job.
He tells her that he always knew that she was working for Security Services, but when she tells him that she no longer works for them, he confesses that he is not a harmless journalist.
She shows him the wire she has been wearing, and he runs away.
Do the three women succeed in getting what they wanted?
When Marysia sleeps with Karmen, she demands to get paid $100, which Karmen pays but not before telling her that no man would ever pay that much for her services.
After stealing Jurek’s money, she meets Adam again, who agrees to her terms. She then chooses her own target, who is none other than the man she refused to take earlier. She asks him to pay $100 for her services. He agrees, and Marysia gets everything that she wanted.
Although Zbyszek first refuses to be Pola’s partner, he eventually agrees. She gets the authority to make all the decisions, and he would employ someone to keep watch. She finally gets to start her own perfume business with new partners.
Helena compromised the mission, but Adam still gets her the passport she was promised. He hugs her and tells her to begin a new life somewhere else. She can now leave the country whenever she wants.
The three women get a new beginning; they can live their life freely the way they want.