Who is in control of the fantasies?
The film’s “twist” – punctuated by Babydoll’s realization that the film’s story actually belongs to Sweet Pea, has left many viewers grasping at the notion that it was Sweet Pea who was fantasizing the entire time – not Babydoll. While some viewers will certainly disagree, aside from the aforementioned line of dialogue, there’s no tangible evidence to support this theory.
The first level of the fantasy world is introduced in conjunction with Babydoll’s arrival at the asylum and dissolves at the time of her lobotomy. Similarly, Babydoll is always the featured ass-kicker in each fantasy – with the other girls playing supporting roles in both the dancer-reality and the fantasy worlds.
While it may have ultimately been Sweet Pea’s story of “empowerment,” the fantasies belonged to Babydoll.
Did Babydoll kill her sister?
This is a quick one but seems to be confusing a lot of people. In the opening sequence of the film, the stepfather attacks the girls and it’s strongly implied that he intends to sexually abuse Babydoll and/or her sister. He first tears at Babydoll’s shirt before locking himself in her younger sister’s room. However, when Babydoll breaks into the room and fires a gun at him, she accidentally hits a lightbulb – causing the bullet to ricochet and hit her sister. It’s this misfortune that enables the stepfather to frame her for the death – and send her to the mental institution.
What happened to the Stepfather?
The earlier moments of the film seemed to position Babydoll’s stepfather as the chief villain – with Blue emerging as the main antagonist as events unfold. That said, some viewers seemed to think that, as a result of the lobotomy, the Stepfather would be getting off scott-free. However, as Blue is being taken into custody, we hear his confession and subsequent incrimination of the step-father – implying that while Babydoll may never get to personally inflict vengeance on her original oppressor, her actions will inevitably lead him to a similar fate – life behind bars.
Who was the cliche’ spouting “Guardian Angel?”
The appearance of the Guardian Angel in the bus station of the asylum reality might cause some viewers to think that, much like Life on Mars (or possibly Inception), “it was all a dream.” While it’s certainly one of the more fantastical elements of the film (since it’s grounded in reality – as opposed to the fantasy sequences), the Guardian Angel was prophesied in the early narration of the film – and, in this case, the appearance of the character one last time merely brings the fantasy/reality world full circle. The character’s appearance at the bus station offers a proverbial red herring – one final moment that makes the audience question what they think they’ve seen.
While not as poetic, or effective, as the spinning top in Inception, the appearance of the Guardian Angel merely diverts our attention from the primary narrative – a story of a girl who has been freed from the shackles of emotional and physical oppression. Much like the top, a Guardian Angel could, in theory, appear in any of the realities (since it was teased early on in the real world narration) – and doesn’t mean that Sweet Pea is still in the asylum (and, subsequently, trapped in Babydoll’s fantasy).
That said, if you want a more concrete answer than that – the appearance of the Guardian Angel in the real world cannot mean that Sweet Pea is actually still trapped in the asylum – since it was never her dream in the first place. Additionally, at the point where Sweet Pea encounters the Guardian Angel, Babydoll has already been lobotomized – and is incapable of fantasizing.
We’ll leave things there – hope you enjoyed our explanation and we look forward to hearing the discussion continue in the comments.
If you’re posting comments here, assume that anyone in the conversation has seen the movie – if you haven’t seen the movie, I would recommend you don’t read these comments here until you have.