MovieChat Forums > Hardcore (1979) Discussion > Observations about the sad climax and my...

Observations about the sad climax and my more hopeful epilogue


Despite the vast differences in their worlds, Jake and Niki had -- surprisingly -- formed a father/daughter type of relationship and friendship. In a perfect world Jake would've asked Niki to go back to Michigan with him and his daughter, but numerous factors prevented him, like: What kind of effect would this total prostitute have on his daughter's own reentry into proper society? Could a hardened prostitute like Niki leave that world behind without seriously relapsing a number of times? And when she has an exceptionally bad relapse, would she rip him off and head back to Southern Cal?

The best course of action would've been to take her back with him and get her into a rehabilitation program ASAP and keep the relationship going from there; maybe get her a job in his business when she's stable enough. But Jake was too flustered after everything that happened at the end of the film. His daughter had just called him a CS for crying out loud and almost didn't even go back with him. He wept; he was seriously humbled; and he wasn't thinking clear enough to reach out to Niki at that moment.

My epilogue to the film would be: After Jake gets settled with her daughter back in Grand Rapids he contacts Niki and asks if she'd like to take a vacation to Michigan, paid by him. They could then resume their father/daughter relationship and he could feel her out, so to speak, as to the best course of action from there, like get her some rehabilitation and hopefully offer her a job. Even if this failed he would at least have the peace of mind that he sincerely tried his best to deliver someone he cared about from the life of a prostitute.

What do you think?


My 150 (or so) favorite movies:
http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070122364/

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The scenario you describe would be ideal. However, I am not certain that Jake would be willing or able to reach out to her. He would probably want to put his experience in the adult underworld as far behind him as possible, if not for the sake of his own peace of mind then for his daughter's sake.

As for Nicki, Jake's treatment of her is likely to have reaffirmed her cynical view that men are only interested in her as long as she can be of use to them. She was initially drawn to Jake because of his lack of sexual interest in her and therefore fancied him as a paternal figure. But the fact that he slapped her to make her tell where his daughter was, instead of reassuring her that he would continue to take care of her after he found his daughter, made her lose faith in him. She slipped into the belief that Jake was too wrapped up in his own self-righteous world to genuinely care for a woman "of vice". She would be too proud to approach Jake for help.

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What you say about Niki is true, but Jake was seriously humbled after the entire grueling episode in Southern Cal, which can be seen in his breaking down and crying at the end. This coupled with his being a devout Christian, even though a staunch Calvinist, he would likely grapple with his spiritual responsibility to this lost prostitute after he got his daughter settled back in Michigan. If his faith is genuine he would hopefully be moved to at least try to help Niki with the many resources at his disposal, especially since he really did have a father/daughter connection with her and the corresponding paternal care.

That's just my hopeful epilogue to the film because the movie did make me care about the character of Niki and I hope she escapes that dark pit. The film shows that she definitely wanted out and looked to Jake for succor, but he let her down because saving his daughter was #1 on his itinerary, to say the least. However, once that item's crossed off his list he hopefully looked to #2, helping Niki escape the darkness, which just so happens to correspond to the Christian's call and mission.


My 150 (or so) favorite movies:
http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070122364/

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You make an interesting point about the impact of Jake's religion on his beliefs and actions. He told Niki earlier that Calvinists believe in unconditional election, which is the idea that God predetermines a select few who attain salvation. One result of this belief could be that Jake convinces himself that Niki is one of the "unelected" and therefore it is beyond his capacity to rehabilitate her when God has predetermined that she will not be saved.

Conversely, Jake's Calvinist convictions may have been shaken by Kirsten's running away. He might question whether God could really have meant his poor daughter to have to undergo such a traumatic experience. While this may not make him reject his religious beliefs altogether, it might cause him to question whether much of human suffering is the result of human evil as opposed to God's will. In such a case, he would be more willing to reach out to Niki and help rehabilitate her.

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Excellent insights.

What you point out in the first paragraph is why I referred to Jake's belief system in terms of "even though a staunch Calvinist". I left it at that because, as you show, Calvinist doctrine can be a ridiculous tangled web that's hard to put into words and actually de-motivates believers from fulfilling their Christian mandate (no offense to Calvinists because I know they're not all extremists, as you indirectly point out). You put it in better words I than ever could.

I'm convinced that Jake would've been motivated to contact Niki after he got his daughter settled back in Michigan and offer her a hand out of the pit of prostitution and everything that goes with it. Whether she would accept his help would depend on her, but the movie shows that she wanted out and needed a deliverer. Jake was that "deliverer."


My 150 (or so) favorite movies:
http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070122364/

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The aspect of the ending that really makes me wonder is Kristen's motivations. I understand that she meant to run away from Jake but did she really plan to end up in the adult industry, or was she forced into it by someone who had promised to help her? The script for the film indicates that she was kidnapped and exploited, but it never contained the confrontation between Kristen and Jake at the end. The only scene in the movie that suggests she was forced to act in adult films was the comment by Jim that she behaved violently during the filming of the short film and injured him in the process. However, did Kristen really mean it when she told Jake that she's now with people who love her? Or was she simply spiting Jake out of years of anger?

I think Jake's "humbling", as you express it, is not so much from his humiliating experiences in the adult underworld, as from the realisation that his daughter chose to enter the industry rather than live with him. The fact that he's still desperate to have her back shows that he has lost his self-righteousness and believes that people can make gravely flawed decisions without deserving to be permanently condemned. I don't think he would be as self-certain in the future as he has been in the past.

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Hey, Jake already had a daughter. She needed a woman.

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Good point, if I catch your drift.


My 175 (or so) Favorite Movies:
http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070122364/

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