Welcome to the Ending Explained for ‘The Meyerowitz Stories,’ a Netflix film written and directed by Noah Baumbach, a director who has mostly focused on low-key family dramas. This work has made him a household name in the indie scene, bringing him prestige and even nominations and wins for many important awards, including the Oscars. However, right now, Baumbach is going through the best times as one of his movies, Barbie, which he co-wrote alongside his wife, director Greta Gerwig, is about to cross the 1 billion mark, making it the most successful project he has ever worked on.
‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ sees Baumbach working with his usual troop of actors, including Ben Stiller and Adam Driver, Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel, Emma Thompson, and Grace Van Patten. The film focuses on the lives of the Meyerowitz family, which is going through a transitional period as its patriarch, Howard Meyerowitz, enters his twilight years.
The movie feels like a collection of short stories put together, which can be a bit jarring for some viewers. We jump back and forth constantly between characters and see these small glimpses of interactions. It makes the movie feel more like real life, for sure, but it also feels very scattered as well.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’. Read at your own risk.
What is happening with the Meyerowitz family?
‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ focuses on the Meyerowitz family, especially the three children of Howard Meyerowitz. To understand the crux of the movie, first, we need to understand the character of Harold, the father and patriarch of the family. Howard is an artist, a sculptor, to be more precise, and he is quite proud of his work. In fact, he was once a very famous art professor at Bard College, and his work as an artist has also been quite well-regarded.
However, these are things of the past. Howard hasn’t been making art for a while, so most people have forgotten him. There are new trends, new works, and it seems like everyone has moved on from him.
Howard’s work seems to be the most important thing in his life. He loves art and defends it. So much so that it seems that he has managed to influence the lives of his children in such a way that he got the opposite results. He wanted everyone in his family to be an artist.
We learn that Howard pushed each of his children towards art when they were kids, but none became an artist. In fact, their current situations are the complete opposite of an artist’s. His granddaughter, Eliza, wants to be a filmmaker who will probably keep the family’s artistic legacy alive.
Considering that this is a man who loves his family but doesn’t really show it, at least not in the way that he does with his work, it is understandable that his children ended up the way they are. Danny, for example, the oldest kid, is unemployed and, right now, is separating from his wife. He goes to stay with Howard and his new wife, Maureen.
Eliza is Danny’s daughter, and they are very close, as Danny dedicated all of his life to raising her. Jean, the youngest daughter, works at Xerox. No one knows what she does in the company, and nobody seems to care, especially her father.
Meanwhile, we have the middle child, Matthew, who is the only one in the family who has achieved relatively monetary success. He works as a wealth consultant for rich people, and the business is good. Matthew is a half-brother to Danny and Jean. At some point during their teenage years, the three spent a lot of time together, but with time, they became more and more distant. One day, when Matthew goes to have lunch with his dad, the day goes horribly wrong, and they end up fighting. Howard escapes in his car, but the relationship between both seems not to be saved.
Does Howard Meyerowitz die?
The movie’s second half sees all the siblings uniting once again over a common tragedy. Due to previous trauma, Howard had increased pressure generated on the left side of his brain. This caused him to go unconscious. Thankfully, the doctors recognized what was happening and hospitalized him immediately.
However, this is where the problems start to arise. For the first time in decades, the three siblings gather. They are very different people, and they must start having a conversation surrounding what will happen if their father just dies any day now.
The siblings start learning how to care for Howard while he is in the hospital. It is a rough process, but this forces them to spend more and more time together, which results in them becoming closer. Having all the conversations they couldn’t have when they were children.
It seems like emotions start to come out constantly at every second. When Howard gets a visit from an old friend of his, Jean reveals that the man exposed and masturbated in front of her when she was just a kid. Danny and Matthew never knew about this. They get all protective and mess with the old man’s car, which ultimately does nothing for Jean.
Howard wakes up, but his mental state is fragile. He goes in and out of clarity for several days. Sometimes he knows who he is talking to; sometimes he does not. Maureen appears every once in a while, but it is Danny, Matthew, and Jean who really take care of Harold during these bad times.
Howard’s show at the Museum of Modern Arts is set up to happen, but Danny and Howard have a fight. It seems Danny has always been jealous of Matthew for being his favorite son. After the fight, Matthew speaks at the show in his father’s name. It is very emotional for him, but Danny supports him. The event bonds the two brothers even closer.
As the movie ends, it seems like the experience has united the family more than ever. The siblings realize that they should have never expected more from their father; he is just a flawed man, the same way they are now that they are adults. The siblings sell the house, and Howard and Maureen move to a smaller place. However, the siblings are constantly in contact with each other and with them.
Matthew also learns that Howard’s favorite sculpture, “Matthew,” was done with his brother Danny’s help and not by himself as he had always thought. The movie ends with Eliza checking out the museum’s archive for one of Howard’s sculptures. There seems to be one more sculpture in the family, just like Howard wanted.