The Perfect Mother (2022) summary and ending explained

The Perfect Mother (2022) is a crime mystery thriller that follows the life of Helene trying to uncover the truth behind a murder that her daughter, Anya, was involved in. The episodes are now streaming on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

Anya is a 20-year-old student who hails from Berlin but lives in Paris, where she attends college. Her family members- her father Mattias, mother Helene, and brother Lukas live in Berlin. 

While the family is celebrating Helene’s birthday, Anya falls into serious trouble. 

The following day Anya calls her mother. She says that “something happened, someone died.” Upon hearing this, both Helene and Mattias are confused and ask Anya what has happened.

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Anya informs her parents that she went clubbing with two of her friends the previous night and met a boy there. She went back to the boy’s residence with him, but she fell asleep. When she woke up and found the boy, Damien Carnau lying dead in a pool of blood.

Anya says that she is scared and is walking toward the police station. Helene and Mattias assure her that everything will be fine and that they are coming to get her. Anya is arrested for the murder of Damien Carnau.

Helene decides to take a flight alone to Paris and suggested Mattias stay with Lukas and take care of his patient. However, she leaves a voice message to Lukas.

When Helene reaches Paris, she rushes to the police station to see Anya but could only get a glance at her. Helpless, Helene goes to meet Vincent Duc, a college sweetheart who also is a lawyer.

Helene tells Vincent about the situation. When they meet Anya in the police station, she tells them what happened last night.

In the first version of Anya’s story, she says that she along with her friends had a few drinks in a club. Here she mistakenly spilt the drink on Damien but he was unaffected and they started hanging out together. A few moments later, they decided to go to Damien’s place.

At Damien Carnau’s residence, Damien does some coke but Anya doesn’t. But while they were having sex, Damien’s drug dealer shows up and they get involved in a fight. The fight gets violent and Anya hides in the bathroom.

Scared and drunk, Anya falls asleep in the bathroom. When she wakes up and gets out, she sees that Damien was lying dead in a pool of blood. At the same time, she heard a noise and thought that the drug dealer was still there and rushed out of his house.

After hearing this, Vincent assures Helene that the police will release her as soon as they confirm Anya’s version of the story.

But Helene insists on finding the drug dealer because Vincent said that they need to divert the point of focus from Anya to this drug dealer. Vincent warns Helene that this is wrong and against the law, but Helene, being a mother, still pursues this idea.

Upon several investigations, Helene finds out that Anya has sublet her room to a woman called Soumiya and is living in a shelter for battered women, where she volunteers for the safety of women who have faced sexual harassment.

Helene also finds a picture of Anya with a guy resembling the features of the drug dealer who was supposedly the murderer of Damien, according to Anya’s first version of the incident. However, things get complicated after the crime department identifies DNA reports of Anya with the ones found on the knife used to stab Damien.

Vincent meets Anya alone and asks her the “truth.” After enough hesitation, Anya narrates a second version of the incident. In this version, Anya says that after doing coke, Damien became violent with her and eventually raped her. 

To save herself, she runs to the bathroom and locks herself. She also hears Damien fighting with another man. But, she passes out. After a while when she hears no noise, she gets out of the bathroom and finds Damien dead in a pool of blood.

Upon asking why she didn’t say anything about this before, she says that she was ashamed and thought that it was all her fault. The crime department ran rape kit tests over her and she is also sent for counselling with the police therapist.

Whereas in Berlin, Mattias and Lukas are themselves dealing with the fact of being away from Anya. But, Lukas also reveals that Anya was raped by her high school boyfriend Leo several times and that Lukas had pictures of the wounds. 

This further shook Mattias and he confronts Leo. Lukas being unable to deal with his sister’s trauma misses his exams. 

In Paris, Helene and Vincent are trying hard to analyze what is the truth. 

After several other reports, Anya is released from detention but she cannot leave the country. With a hovering media, Anya and Helene go to Elisabeth, Helene’s mom’s apartment. Here, Anya and Helene further have an argument where Anya says bitter things to her mother.

Upset, Helene leaves home to get some clothes for Anya. While Anya texts Kamal, the man from the picture in Anya’s wardrobe and CCTV footage, from Helene’s phone and asks the person to meet her in the park. Soon, Anya too leaves the house and goes towards the park.

In the park, while she meets Kamal, a journalist captures them and immediately sends the picture to the police department. This causes huge disruption and the police say that if Anya is not found at the precinct, she will be arrested.

If you still have doubts about the ending, here is a detailed breakdown.

The Perfect Mother (2022) ending explained in detail:

Anya’s next version 

After Anya runs away from the park, she returns home, takes her mom’s credit card, and rushes toward a taxi just when Vincent and Helene reach there and stop her from escaping.

Now, Anya narrates a third version of the incident. She says that after Damien became violent with his actions and raped her, she ran to the bathroom and locked herself. She then calls Kamal and asks him to rescue her.

When Kamal reaches Damien’s residence, Anya comes out of the bathroom. Unfortunately, while trying to escape the situation, Damien sees both of them, and Kamal stabs Damien by mistake.

Thus, according to this version, Anya and Kamal killed Damien in self-defence. However, Anya is trying to save Kamal because he is an illegal immigrant and has no documents.

Anya says that she has to escape the country but Vincent takes her to the police station for a statement. 

Kamal’s identity

On the other side, Helene goes to find Kamal in his studio outside Paris. There she learns that Kamal is married and has a baby. He lives away from them for safety.

However, Kamal brings food to the table and brings money whenever possible. But now, Kamal has not returned home for four days.

Helene tells this to Anya, but she denies all of it. Upon realizing that she has been a stupid girl, she agrees to help the police find Kamal’s location.

She calls Kamal and tells him that she knows he is married. She asks about his location, and the police immediately alert their local colleagues.

Soon, the local policemen find Kamal, but he jumps off a footbridge to avoid arrest and dies.

Later on, a watch and a wallet that was missing from Damien’s residence are found in Kamal’s belongings.

The truth

After knowing about Kamal’s death, Julie, who was also in the club with Anya on the incident night, reaches out to Vincent.

Julie paints the real picture of Anya. She tells Vincent that Anya had dropped out of school and was determined to help the needy. She was closely working with women who have faced sexual harassment.

As a part of bringing the women justice, Anya planned to make the harassers pay, quite literally. According to Anya’s plan, every harasser was targeted through bait and then he was made to pay or face the police.

She had also planned the same out of Damien’s case as he was a religious harasser. But this time, Julie refused to be the bait, and thus, Anya took things into her hands. 

But Anya lost control over the situation, and Damien did rape her. Following this, Anya stabbed Damien and killed him in self-defence.

She then called Kamal to rescue her and gave him Damien’s watch and wallet.

Upon hearing all this, Helene is shocked and can’t understand what the right thing to do is. However, she asks Vincent to fight for the release of her daughter.

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