THEN WHO WAS PHONE


There's just one thing I haven't figured out. What was with the phone ringing? Was it Harry Connick Jr?

reply

The fact that the light on the phone never lit up when it supposedly "rang" was the key to the whole thing and an indicator of the larger goings on in the film.

The light never lit up because it was never ringing in the first place. It was in her head the entire time. She had been driven to the brink of insanity by the fact that her son went missing and she never found out what happened to him and that "phone call" was a representative metaphor for him and his mysterious disappearance: it rings but nobody is ever there.

(On a quick side note, I think the disappearance of a child would drive any parent crazy. It's much worse than the child simply dying -- at least with death you get some closure, rather than spending the rest of your life wondering what happened or where your child is and if they are okay)

Combine that enormous baggage with her crappy, claustrophobic residence and the fact that she only has one actual friend in her life, that makes for a bad recipe of someone in desperate mental straights and the ringing phone that's not really ringing is the primary indicator or how unstable she is from the opening frame.

This film is also about how two people who are unstable can easily influence one another and plunge into a "groupthink" mentality and the interesting thing is that not only does Peter influence her with his paranoia, but she influences him, too. Notice that the phone never rings while someone else is there in the motel room? The one exception to this is after she and Peter have sex (which is another metaphor for their characters "joining" each other on not just a physical level, but an emotional, spiritual and pyschological one as well) the phone rings and Peter answers it and he gets the same silence.

This is the story indicating that the two of them have just connected on the same crazy level. We know that the phone was a working phone, because R.C. uses it to make a REAL phone call early on in the story, so if it weren't ringing and the picked it up to answer it anyway, they would at least get a dial tone in their ear. But they don't hear a dial tone -- they only hear silence, which is another indicator that these characters are conjoined on the same crazy wavelength and are only hearing and seeing things that they want to hear. This obviously paves the way for the rest of their decent into madness for the remainder of the story.

The fact that the phone ringing in the credits over the toys and clothes of Lloyd, the missing son, is a dead giveaway that the ringing phone with nobody there is directly related to her son having gone missing and the insanity that it caused for her.

reply

I disagree. The phone was ringing. She says "I just hear breathing." Where would that come from if there wasn't a phone call? The phone light not lighting up was only a premeditated expectation. It was ringing in her head the last time because it had been continuous all night, which is why she never picked the phone up the last time we hear it ring. It was Loyd trying to warn her of the experiments. However, they used him for the DNA, he couldn't use his voice anymore or maybe his mouth was duck-taped or whatever but somehow got a hold of a phone.

-TURN ON TUNE IN DROP OUT-

reply

However, they used him for the DNA, he couldn't use his voice anymore or maybe his mouth was duck-taped or whatever but somehow got a hold of a phone.


Huh?




More science, less fiction.

reply

I think the "breathing" she heard was her own.

http://www.tshirthell.com/shirts/products/a1066/a1066_bm.gif

reply

reply

i agree with this. i think you're spot on

reply

Perfect analysis of what this film was about! No, the phone was never ringing people. End of story. *bows in awe of BigTimeMovieDude*

reply

[deleted]

[deleted]

I thought that the light on the phone was visibly broken (the bulb anyways).

reply

the fact that she only has one actual friend in her life

That's one more than I have and I don't hear phones ringing when they're not.

reply

That's one more than I have and I don't hear phones ringing when they're not.
Maybe not, but your loneliness is causing you to project that a statement on a message board was a direct comment for you to address.

Awww.

reply

[deleted]

Great explanation. I think you hit a lot of things right on the nose.

reply

[deleted]

Wow dude if you figured all that on your own, that's pretty good. Also if u you wait till the credits are over, your analysis is confirmed when they depict the phone ringing and the kids toys and clothes simultaneously

reply

I think an argument could be made for both sides, but personally, i think it was the people who were watching the hotel.

It makes sense, because think about it: they kept calling Agnes (which confirmed SHE was there), but continued calling until Peter picked up the phone. After that, the calls stopped. This is because they had confirmed that Peter had arrived and was definitely in the hotel with Agnes.

I didn't even realize that til just now.

reply

I disagree. They are paranoid and delusional. Note on another thread, they supposedly keep hearing helicopters towards the end, yet when her ex-husband is trying to get in the motel room, there is silence. We can't hear the helicopters from his end. Why? Because there are no helicopters, there is no conspiracy, there are no bugs. It's what makes their situation all the more tragic. Agnes needs a reason why her son goes missing and she never finds out what happens to him. Peter's story is unknown really (we can't be sure whether the things he tells Agnes are real or part of his delusion). He stops taking his meds and his grip on reality falls apart. He drags Agnes into his madness with him. Ever heard of the phrase "the madness of two"? It applies here. It means that one person who is unhinged but quite dominant can very easily influence another person who is perfectly sane. Agnes is vulnerable and feels isolated. Here she meets a man who supposedly has all the answers. It's a tragedy waiting to happen.

reply

That's what I would have posted andromache3, well said.

"Hailie, bring daddy his Oscar, I'm gonna shove it up Ja Rule's @ss"

reply

[deleted]

I agree, well said.

"I am the ultimate badass, you do not wanna `*beep*` wit' me!" Hudson in Aliens.

reply

There were people watching? Scientologists maybe?

reply

"It makes sense, because think about it: they kept calling Agnes (which confirmed SHE was there), but continued calling until Peter picked up the phone. After that, the calls stopped. This is because they had confirmed that Peter had arrived and was definitely in the hotel with Agnes."

I didn't even notice this, thanks. Well said.

reply

OP wins for thread title alone.

-------------------------
"It's better not to know so much about what things mean." David Lynch

reply

Haha, agree for OP winning for the title of this thread. I'm kind of surprised when some people ask this question, because it seemed pretty clear. But I believe it's pretty clear that the phone ringing is definitely a metaphor for the characters insanity as it's been stated a million times.

Also, one major thing I haven't seen mentioned is that these two characters by the end of the movie were complete Meth Addicts, and it was pretty explicitly implied they were smoking it quite a bit. I'm not sure how much ya'll know about Meth addiction, but that is scary *beep* and these characters are literally staying up for days and days at a row smoking meth and being feeding each others insanity and paranoia. It's really not far fetched at all that she would have paranoid delusions happening.

It was shown pretty early on in the movie too that she was smoking meth, as evidence of the crack pipe being out on her dresser.

reply

Hmmm. I was so busy trying not to freak out during some of the more disturbing scenes that I missed some of the subtle details. When the doctor finally enters the room near the end he asks her "how often she's been hitting it" - meaning the pipe. Then he picks it up to use it himself. Weird.
Anyway, the phone thing- she was definitely ripe for a swirling descent into insanity even before Peter showed up.

reply

I think she either heard R.C. but R.C. couldn't bring herself to say anything on the phone. Peter was crazy as hell and completely paranoid at the time. There probably wasn't anyone on the phone at all, they also saw helicopter coming down over them but when you see Jerry outside, it's quiet and calm. They were having hallucinations. Agnes did the worst thing she could have in listening and believing Peter. He was too far gone.

"I am the ultimate badass, you do not wanna `*beep*` wit me!"- Hudson in Aliens.

reply

OP wins for thread title alone.


ROFL So true. There was no character in this movie named "Phone".

---
"Into every life a little coffee must spill."

reply

If the phone ringing was a metaphor for her insanity. Then how did they both hear the ring.

reply

they both hear the phone for the same reason that they both see and feel the bugs

reply

if you pick up a phone that didn't ring, there'd be a dial tone. There was one part that Michael Shannon answered on her behalf. Unless she somehow conveyed that it was ringing, he wouldnt' have been sharing the same delusion.

I think the phone was ringing because i don't think she was crazy at the beginning of the film. It was her desire to be with a man, which made her start accept paranoid delusions, our of fear of losing him. None of that was happening prior to his arrival.

reply