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A Cure For Wellness Explained

Updated on February 18, 2017
Hannah submerged in water.
Hannah submerged in water.

The History

A long time ago, there lived a Baron and a Baroness who lived in a castle up top a huge cliff that overlooked the Swiss Alps. The Baron in an attempt to keep the bloodline pure married his sister. However, the Baroness was infertile. Therefore, the Baron took the peasants of the land and against their will conducted fiendish experiments. Eventually, the peasants rebelled and burned down the castle. The Baroness was caught the rebellion and tied up. The people then cut the baby out from the womb and tossed into a neighboring aquaduct. Centuries later, the Baron (Jason Isaacs) and the baby whom survived (Mia Goth) are living in the facility.

Mr. Lockhart at the wellness center.
Mr. Lockhart at the wellness center.

The Wellness Center

A vast amount of people local and foreign, come to live at the wellness center. While there they receive various hydrotherapy treatments. They are hosed down with the water, submerged in tanks, and do water aerobics. Dr. Volmer and the staff claim to know how to cure the human illness and believe the water is their cure. Most of the residents are elderly and live a happy life in the facility. They play putt-putt, fly kites and do other activities that involve water. However, this is all a fa├žade. Dr. Volmer knows that the water isn't curing anything. Instead it is making the residents sick. Lockhart goes into town and finds out the water is dehydrating the residents (causing their teeth to fall out) and their bodies to wither away. But, because of the treatments, the people are effectively brainwashed into thinking they are sick and the only way to get better is to stay.

Mr. Lockhart as he inspects the water from the glass he drank from.
Mr. Lockhart as he inspects the water from the glass he drank from.

What's In The Water?

The water that Dr. Volmer claims to have medicinal properties is actually contaminated with eels and baby eels. There is a scene in the third act where Lockhart comes across a underground lab. It is explained that the eels are what give the water its special properties. In addition, the eels are forced into the patients bodies. What comes out of the bodies as a result is produced as the cure. Dr. Volmer tries to persuade Mr. Lockhart that the eels are hallucinations (side effects of toxins leaving the body). However, nevertheless the eels are there. The eels are in the water in small ( or huge amounts). They deprive the water somehow of oxygen and alters its state. This part I am not too clear on but what thing is certain and that the eels are altering the water. The water somehow changes the brain and body chemistry of people over time. Eventually, they are sedated.

Dr. Volmer feeds Hannah the cure.
Dr. Volmer feeds Hannah the cure.

What's In That Cobalt Blue Bottle?

The blue bottle shown on the poster is actually the cure that Dr. Volmer has developed. The cure came about from the experiments the Baron conducted all those years ago. The cure allows someone to stay alive longer for a period of time as long as the person continues to take it. The Baron (Dr. Volmer) is actually 2 centuries years old surviving off of the cure. His daughter Hannah, whom is extremely old as well as aged but not as much as she should. Besides, Dr. Volmer and his daughter only the staff take the cure. Which is why the residents continue to die.

Mr. Lockhart sees the men and women in hydrotherapy.
Mr. Lockhart sees the men and women in hydrotherapy.

Ending Explained

By the end, Mr. Lockhart realizes his leg was never injured. Also, after smashing a portrait in the doctor's office he discovers that Volmer is the Baron and that Hannah is his daughter. Dr. Volmer true intentions were to use the facility and the residents inside to manufacture his cure in order for him and his daughter to continue to live. More sinister, he was grooming Hannah to be his bride. The staff are actually his servants (and apart of his cult). Mr. Lockhart saves Hannah in time before the marriage can be consummated. The final battle is a fight between Mr. Lockhart and Dr. Volmer (who reveals his true hideous face). Hannah kills Dr. Volmer when his back is turned and the facility is burned down, again. Mr Lockhart runs into his associates from the company and declines their offer saying, " I'm feeling much better now." When he rides the bicycle away, he has a lunatic smile and laugh. His expression although is up for interpretation. One is that he is truly happy now knowing that he doesn't have to return to his old life. Free from the demons of his fast. Another of which can be interpreted as Lockhart finally going insane.

Bottom Line

Though I may have figured out the mystery, I may have left out some more of the finer details. However, for now this explanation will have to do. If there's anything I've missed, please sound off in the comments below.

A Cure For Wellness is Rated R, 146 minutes and currently in theaters.


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      Bill 6 weeks ago

      Nice review. Just watched it and it was weird but cool. I think the urine from the patients is in the bottle. The pee cups?? Just a speculation.