‘Spirited’ Ending Explained: Does Clint Become a Better Person?

Welcome to the Ending Explained for Spirited, a new Christmas comedy musical that has arrived on Apple+ this weekend. The film is directed by Sean Anders and stars Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, and Octavia Spencer in a new version of the classic, A Christmas Carol tale by Charles Dickens. However, to make things a bit different this time, the story is told in modern times and from the perspective of the ghosts, who are on a mission to turn a new, nonredeemable person into the good side of life.

The film is a musical, and this might from the get-go ruffle some feathers. The genre is really a love or hate-thing, but even those who hate musicals might find something to like here. All three actors bring their usual flavors, and while that might sound repetitive, their charisma really moves the story forward. However, the musical numbers are many, and they really extend the movie more than they have to. This is a 90-minute film stretched to fill two full hours, including credits.

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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Spirited. Read at your own risk.

How Do The Ghosts of the Past, Present, And Future Change People?

The film starts as we see the ghosts of Christmas future showing a woman in her grave, she begs for forgiveness, and as the tomb eats her, she wakes up in her bed as a changed woman. The ghosts appear and celebrate that they changed a bad woman for the best. It is revealed that the ghosts are just a small part of a bigger enterprise, with tons of workers and researchers who once a year pick up one person to change for the better. They celebrate their victory this year, but Ghost Present seems to think he isn’t making a difference anymore, and he is thinking about retiring.

The cycle starts anew and the chosen person is the manager of a hotel. However, at that moment Present sees Clint, a PR manager with no morals who is willing to do anything to do his job. Present proposes to make Clint their new project. Not everyone is convinced, especially when it is revealed that Clint is considered to be nonredeemable. Present states that a nonredeemable has only been changed once, but it can happen again. They start their research and get ready to change Clint.

During the research, we discover that Clint has a dead sister, who left her daughter in Clint’s care. However, Clint has given the responsibility to his younger brother, Owen. Wren, Clint’s niece, wants to run for class president, and Clint digs up dirt on the other candidate; he advises her to post an embarrassing video of the other kid when the time is right. Kimberly, Clint’s vice-president, feels ashamed to do this to a kid. Present gets attracted to Kim, and he allows him to be seen by her. Just like Present, Kim was to leave her job and do something more fulfilling.

Present is having a bad time, he wishes he could have a family and a partner. He forgets about that, and the ghosts get ready to start the haunting on Christmas night. Jacob, the chained one, starts the play and warns Clint that three ghosts are coming for him. Clint seems freaked out at first, but the theatrics have no effect on him. Jacob leaves disappointed and warns Present that Clint is totally nonredeemable. Present hype up everyone and wishes Past good luck as she gets ready to visit Clint.

Does Clint Become A Better Person?

Past arrives, and she is ready to show Clint the moments that define him and made him the person he is in the present. However, things go wrong. Past is clearly attracted to Clint, and they start flirting with each other. The result is that they have sex, and Past returns to the office, unable to continue her job because it would be awkward for both of them. Present takes charge and arrives, he shows Clint some terrible memories of his past, but Clint is unfazed. He claims those moments were the best because they showed him how people truly are.

Clint turns things upside down as he starts asking questions about Present. Present dismisses the intent and shows Clint how he has made Kimberly miserable and how he has been giving bad advice to his niece. He also shows Clint a memory of his sister at the hospital, the moment when she knew she was going to die and left Wren in Clint’s care. Clint is unable to face it and confronts Present. Present sees that Clint might be a lost case and show him a time when Present was alive. It is revealed that Present in life was the original Ebenezer Scrooge, the first and only nonredeemable successfully changed.

Present admits that he believes he is still nonredeemable. This is the reason he doesn’t want to retire and live life on Earth again. Clint and Present have become friends on their journey, and Clint pushes Present to retire because he is a good person and no one is completely nonredeemable. Present comes back to Earth, and Clint pushes him to talk to Kim. It works, and Present and Kim even kiss as they walk through the city. Clint gets a visit from the future, and the ghost shows him how Wren posting the video could ruin her entire life.

Clint and Present run to Wren to stop her from posting the video, but she doesn’t do it anyway. Kim talked to her before, and Wren decided not to do it. Present thinks this is the moment of change, but the celebration doesn’t come, so he escapes. He believes if Clint can’t be redeemed, then neither is he. Present jumps in front of a bus to die and go back to the afterlife, but Clint jumps in front of him to save him. This is the moment, Clint has sacrificed himself to save Present. The celebration arrives, but once it is over, the bus hits Clint and kills him.

The film ends with Present and Kim together with kids, and Clint taking the role of the Ghost of Present Christmas. He is changing the institution and expanding to take many cases at once. The film ends with the forgotten hotel manager getting into his personal haunting.

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.