Paradise (2023) summary and ending explained

Paradise follows Max, a man who is ready to go to extreme lengths to save his wife, who is forced to give up 40 years of her life to a biotech company. The film is now streaming on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

The events of the film take place in the near future. A biotech company called Aeon has developed a way for people to donate the years of their life to anyone whose DNA is compatible with theirs. In exchange for the years donated, they are paid a lot of money.

Aeon has time donation managers, whose job is to convince the donors to donate their lifetimes if they are a match for someone who needs a donation and can pay for it. Max Toma is one of the donation managers at Aeon, and he is so good at his job that he becomes the employee of the year.

While the CEO of Aeon, Sophie Theissen, plans to go further and find a way to control age and death completely, an organization called the Adam Group aims to stop them, as Aeon treats people’s lifetimes as a commodity. 

Furthermore, time donations perpetuate inequality. Only the rich can afford them. While the rich get younger, the poor, who live in slums and refugee camps and donate their lifetimes in the hope of improving their lives, die early. The Adam Group executes people who receive lifetimes from others.

Max does not see a problem with the system, as he benefits from it. He lives a happy life with his wife, Elena, and the two of them now wish to have children. However, their lives turn upside down when their apartment catches fire.

It is believed that the fire was caused due to negligence, so the insurance company will not pay for the damages. Max and Elena have still not paid off the loan they had taken to buy their luxurious apartment, and they lose everything else in the fire.

The bank will demand the mortgage that they owe, and since they do not have any money, the bank will claim collateral. Max then finds out that Elena had put 40 years of her life as collateral when they took the loan.

Max is ready to donate some of his lifetime to prevent Elena from giving all of her 40 years, but the person who was Max’s match recently passed away, so he cannot donate his lifetime. Max then approaches Sophie for help, but she does not help him.

40 years of Elena’s life are forcefully taken from her, and Max discovers that the person who received those years is none other than Sophie. Elena ages rapidly with every day. She was pregnant at the time of the donation, and now, she loses the baby.

Max still loves her and wants to be with her, but Elena does not know if he is with her for love or because he pities her. She decides that they cannot be together anymore, as Max is still young and she is much older. Elena then leaves Max.

However, Max refuses to give up. He finds out that there are other illegal ways to receive lifetime donations. He plans to kidnap Sophie and get the years back that she stole from Elena. 

He manages to kidnap Sophie successfully and then convinces Elena to get out of Germany with him. He is ready to risk everything because he believes that their lives are already over.

Sophie’s loyal bodyguard, Kaya, and Aeon’s new head of operations in Berlin, Nowak, track Max using their advanced technology, which is illegal. They find out that Max and Elena are taking Sophie to Lithuania. 

They fail to stop Max and Elena, as Max manages to find a way to get out of tricky situations, even if that means threatening innocent people. Finally, when the woman they kidnapped gets a chance to speak, she reveals that she is not Sophie but Sophie’s daughter, Marie.

Marie claims that she resembles Sophie a lot, and since Sophie took 40 years of Elena’s life and got younger, it is hard to tell if she is telling the truth or not. Sophie made sure to keep Marie out of the public eye, and that is why no one knows about her.

Max refuses to believe her. He continues waiting for Dr. Berg, who is going to perform the procedure on Elena and Marie illegally, to contact him. Elena starts having doubts about the whole thing because if Marie is telling the truth, then they would be stealing from an innocent woman.

Marie tries to escape, but Elena finds her eventually. She then notices that Marie does not have surgery scars, which means that she is Marie and not Sophie, but Max still refuses to accept the truth. 

That night, Kaya and Nowak find out Max and Elena’s location, but the Adam Group gets to the couple first. The leader of the Adam Group, Lilith, tells them that Elena is the only match that Sophie ever found. 

Max was supposed to be her donation manager and convince her to donate. Instead, he fell in love with her and married her. To get Elena to donate her lifetime, Sophie made a plan.

The bank gave Max and Elena a loan to buy the apartment, which was too expensive for the two of them to afford, only when Elena put up her lifetime as collateral. When Sophie needed the donation, she burned down their apartment and had Max’s match killed to prevent him from donating some of his years.  

Lilith believes that Max and Elena are doing the same thing to Marie that Sophie did to them. She forces Elena to kill Marie or be killed, but Elena chooses not to kill Marie. 

Lilith points out that when people are forced to take lives themselves, they turn into pacifists, but they have no problem allowing doctors to do the same on their behalf. Lilith is now going to use Max and Elena to get to Sophie, the woman who started all this.

Paradise ending explained in detail:

Does the Adam Group capture Sophie?

Kaya and Nowak, along with a lot of armed men, reach the place where Marie, Max, and Elena were taken by the Adam Group, not knowing that it is a trap. Max has no choice but to do whatever Lilith says, as her group is holding Elena and Marie captive.

Max demands to speak to Sophie personally. When Sophie steps out of her car, he convinces her to go inside with him to see Marie. At the last second, Kaya questions Max about knowing that Sophie had accompanied them. When Max fails to answer, she realizes that it is a trap.

It turns out that Nowak works for the Adam Group. He tries to kill Sophie when the group’s plan to capture her fails. He shoots Sophie before he is killed by Kaya. This starts a gunfight between the Adam Group and Kaya’s team, and Lilith is killed in this fight.

Does Elena get her lifetime back?

When the two sides are shooting at each other, Max manages to go back inside the building. He has to fight people to get to Elena and Marie. He tries to escape with the two women, but Marie is not willing to go with them. 

She points a gun at Elena and even pulls the trigger. However, the gun does not have bullets. Elena hurts Marie until she loses consciousness. Max and Elena then escape with Marie.

This time, Max is the one who has qualms about going ahead with the donation, while Elena wants her lifetime back at any cost. Max points out that Marie is innocent, and she is not the one who stole from Elena. 

Since Marie is Sophie’s daughter, her DNA will also be compatible with Elena’s, and Elena wants her lifetime back, even though she knows that Marie will not be able to get her years back from her mother, as Sophie is now dead.

When Max tells Elena that he cannot do this to Marie, Elena asks him to leave. She threatens to kill herself if he does not listen. Max has no choice but to watch helplessly, as Elena gets away with Marie.

Elena takes Marie to Dr. Berg and sees her scream and struggle the way she herself did when her lifetime was forcefully taken from her. Elena undergoes the surgery and receives 40 years of Marie’s life.

What happens after Marie’s lifetime donation? 

Elena sees refugee children being brought to Dr. Berg to have their lifetimes taken from them illegally and leaves the place as fast as she can. Meanwhile, Max reaches a refugee camp in Lithuania, and an injured Marie is found walking on the road alone.

It turns out that Sophie did not die, as she was wearing a bulletproof jacket when Nowak shot her. Marie is brought to her mother. Now that Kaya knows that she is safe, she quits her job, as she no longer wants to do Sophie’s dirty work.

As Elena stole 40 years of her life, Marie starts ageing rapidly. Marie and Sophie are a match, but Sophie refuses to donate 40 years to her daughter. It is Marie who has to pay the price for her mother’s misdeeds.

Sometime later, Max sees Elena on a beach with another man. She is young again as well as pregnant. Max, on the other hand, is now a vigilante. He is a part of the Adam Group and aims to end the injustice that is a result of lifetime donations.

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