Humane ending explained: What happens to the York family?

After they're faced with an unimaginable decision, the York siblings must choose one among them to die.
HUMANE - Courtesy of Steve Wilkie. An IFC Film
HUMANE - Courtesy of Steve Wilkie. An IFC Film /

Set in a darkly dystopian future, Humane marks the directorial debut of Caitlin Cronenberg. Humane involves a world where overpopulation is a serious problem due to rapid resource depletion so the government comes up with a euthanasia program where people can enlist to die in exchange for money and security for their families.

SPOILERS ahead for the ending of Humane

Head of the wealthy York family, Charles York, signs up for the program with his wife Dawn. But when the agency D.O.C.S. who carries out the procedures comes calling, Dawn flees. Once Charles undergoes his own procedure, the D.O.C.S. leader Bob reveals that they won't be leaving until they get another body, someone to replace Dawn.

HUMANE - Still 11
HUMANE - Courtesy of Steve Wilkie. An IFC Film /

Which York family member ends up taking Dawn's place?

The main conflict in the York family involves the four siblings, Jared, Rachel, Noah, and Ashley. After learning their step-mom Dawn has fled, they learn they'll have to choose one among themselves to take her place in the euthanasia program.

Because Noah has been adopted and the group learns that he secretly already received several million dollars due to their father helping get out of a court case after he killed a woman in an accident, the siblings turn on him. It doesn't take much because clearly these guys weren't close to begin with, but viewers might be shocked by how it ends.

Rachel, Ashley, and Jared team up to kill Noah when he refuses to go quietly. Bob from D.O.C.S. says all they need is a body, doesn't have to go through the procedure, though that's the easier way obviously. But then Noah's girlfriend Grace shows up and Bob has his people kill her. Noah is furious and blames his siblings, so he starts fighting back and even stabs Ashley.

Still, he can't bring himself to kill his siblings and they finally come to a new conclusion to attack Bob. Ashley fakes her death so pring a trap on Bob and his armed staff. They get Bob in the euthanasia chair intending to do the procedure on him. But Bob has one more card to play.

HUMANE - Still 6
HUMANE - Courtesy of Steve Wilkie. An IFC Film /

What happens to Dawn York?

Around half-way through the movie, we learn that the D.O.C.S. guys have tracked down Dawn and Bob demands they take her to their headquarters instead of bringing her back for the procedure. At this point Bob is just revealed as a shady guy who doesn't care about the Yorks and thinks the world would be better off with less of them in it, hence why he's prepared to have one of the siblings die and probably Dawn, too.

Of course, once the tables turn on him and the York siblings get the upperhand, Bob reveals that Dawn is alive. That makes matters even worse since Bob is basically saying he was messing with them the entire time.

You get the vibe that the family is going to kill him anyway, but then it cuts to a piano recital and Jared, Rachel, and Dawn are all in the audience watching Noah perform. Bob is show on a broadcast revealing that week's enlistment volunteers and says Grace and Ashley were long-time friends who chose to enlist together.

Since Ashley was already dead, or at least dying, the last time we saw her, it looks like the York family chose to save their own skin and protect their family inheritance by making a deal with Bob to give him Ashley as the second York body.

Humane is available to rent or buy on demand.

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