Once Upon a Star summary and ending explained

Once Upon a Star follows a traveling pharma-cinema troupe to entertain villages and small towns throughout Thailand during the 1960s, live-dubbing films from different genres. The film is currently streaming on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

A traveling pharma-cinema troupe of Osottheppayada Company Limited, consisting of Manit, Man, and Kao, is struggling with poor collections since they lack the proper funds and equipment.

Their only live-dubbing artist and the head of the group, Manit has to deliver the female characters’ voices too, and that clearly tends to dissociate the viewers. They decide to get a new dubbing artist — a woman.

Rueangkae is their answer and she quickly proves to be just the addition they needed to turn around their sales. However, their rival cinema troupe, Kampanat, poses a challenge they find difficult to contend with.

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Meanwhile, both Manit and Kao fall for Rueangkae and agree to not fight over her. However, they do just that when Kao begins getting envious of Kae and Manit’s growing proximity.

Rueangkae finds out about it and is disappointed in the two. Manit falls ill which brings him and Kao closer again as they reconcile. However, they are dealt another blow as Thailand’s excellent revered movie star, Mitr Chaibancha passes away.

Manit, who idolized Chaibancha the most, is gutted, while the rest of the troupe is shaken up as well. This means they can’t meet the company’s target sales numbers, but since this could be their last tour, Manit decided to give it their all.

At the Ton Kra-toop festival, they have a rematch with Kampanat, and their genuine emotions for the movie star, coupled with the ones they’ve experienced later among them, surface to make for one moving screening.

Once Upon a Star ends with the group bidding farewell to each other as some stay and continue the troupe, while others move on to their individual pursuits.

Once Upon a Star ending explained in detail:

Who does Ruengkae end up with?

Ruengkae is the newest member of the traveling pharma-cinema troupe of the Osottheppayada Company Limited. She’s the only woman in a unit of four.

However, she lies to the other men in order to avoid any of the usual lustful or romantic trappings that come with working with men, telling others that she has had syphilis, thanks to her ex-husband.

While that is a lie, what’s not is that she was in a relationship before, with Sak, the head of the rival cinema troupe called Kampanat. She also becomes very distrustful of men after her separation.

Meanwhile, Manit and Kao still fall for her and come to an agreement that they’ll not fight over her but see who she falls for between the two of them.

However, Kao soon comes to observe Kae and Manit getting closer and grows envious, lashing out at Manit later and also asking Kae it she likes Manit.

She denies it and returns the typewriter Manit got for her, while Manit reminds him of their agreement. Kao claims Manit used his position as a boss to grow closer to Kae, who overhears them fighting and lashes out at both of them.

The experience embitters them all and both Kao and Kae decide to leave the troupe soon. However, before they do, they all reconcile and have a very successful last tour.

At the end of Once Upon a Star, Manit and Ruengkae are working together but nothing that suggests they’re romantically together as well is included.

Does Kao leave the troupe?

Yes, Kao does end up leaving the troupe. He has always had a dream of acting in the movies, but transitioning from dubbing troupe to movies is tough.

Thankfully, he has the guidance and teaching from Ruengkae and the support of his troupe to sharpen his line deliveries and work on expressions.

At the end of Once Upon a Star, Kao has become an actor and works as an extra in the movies. He’s thriving, frequently writes to Ruengkae, and keeps in touch with Man and Manit.

Meanwhile, Man wins a lottery and that helps him and Manit get a whole new truck. Additionally, their career in dubbing for films gears up for another spell.

Does Rueangkae become a secretary?

Ruengkae always wanted to become a secretary. If not that, she’d be happy to be an office clerk. She needs a typewriter to save money before she goes on to begin working on her dream.

With the typewriter gifted to her by Manit and other fellas, she begins to work at Phra Nakhon, mastering the typewriting skills.

However, her love for cinema and dubbing remains alive in her. At the end of Once Upon a Star, she is writing about her own experiences working and living with the pharma-cinema troupe.

As for work, she decides to find what she loves before chasing dreams. And so she works as a dubbing artist, and then the last shot of the movie zooms out on a cinema hall where the film Kai Na is being premiered, dubbed by Namit and Ruengkae.

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