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The Boy (2016) Ending Explained – Is the doll really alive?

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The Boy Plot Synopsis

Greta Evans, a troubled American girl, is in Britain to work as a nanny for a wealthy couple’s son, Brahms. However, she is bewildered to find the boy is actually a doll. Thinking it will be much easier, Greta happily takes the job.

The Boy (2016)
The Boy (2016)

However, much to her horror the secret of Brahms starts to unravel, and it is much weirder than it seems at first.

What happens upon Greta’s arrival?

Greta is greeted by Brahm’s elderly parents, the Heelshires, who seem anything but happy. They introduce her to their child, Brahms – a life-sized porcelain child doll.

Before leaving for a holiday, Heelshires give clear instructions to her on how to take care of him. Greta’s work includes everything a nanny needs, including feeding, cleaning, and even reading.

Greta doesn’t pay attention to Heelshires’ instructions, instead, she treats the doll like a doll. She is frequently on the call with her sister who she tells about the eerie atmosphere she is working in. Meanwhile, Malcolm, a grocery deliverer, develops a good friendship with Greta.

What’s the secret of Heelshires?

When Greta asks about Brahms, Malcolm informs her that Brahms died in a fire on his 8th birthday some twenty years back. The family is just trying to keep his memory alive by pampering a doll.

The real tension for Greta begins after Malcolm asks her out on a date. Her jewellery and clothes disappear while she takes a shower. She goes into the attic to inspect the frightening noises she heard, and an invisible force locks her in and lets her out the following morning.

Uncanny events continue

Greta starts sensing a sinister presence in the house, but she continues to show courage. Strange noises keep haunting her. She even hears a child’s voice – possibly Brahms. She receives a call – apparently from Brahm’s spirit – to take care of the doll as she was supposed to.

She finds her favourite peanut butter and jelly sandwich outside her room. Sure of the spirit’s presence in the doll, she begins taking her job seriously and follows the instructions she was given by Heelshires.

Feeling Brahms is not dangerous if handled with love and care, Greta starts having a sort of fun with him. When she talks about that with Malcolm, he tells her that she needs to be careful – as a girl who Brahms was friends with was found dead with her head crushed. He himself died in the fire soon after that.

Greta, however, having suffered a miscarriage at the hands of her abusive boyfriend, Cole, continues to babysit Brahms. At an unknown location, the Heelshires commit suicide after writing a letter to Brahms.

What’s Brahms’ real truth?

Cole, Greta’s abusive boyfriend, comes to take her back to the US. Aware of Cole’s violent tendencies, Malcolm stays with Greta. Cole receives a note written in blood warning him to go back. Angry, he smashes the doll to pieces.

Immediately, the walls start trembling, and the mirror shatters. Out comes through the wall hole, Brahms, now an adult, covering his face in a porcelain mask. Without wasting a moment, he kills Cole. Brahms has been living underground since his face got disfigured in the fire.

While trying to escape, Greta discovers a doll made of her dress, hair, and jewellery. She also discovers the letter from Brahm’s parents which states they were aware of everything, and they deliberately called Greta to be Brahms’ mate – or victim.

In order to save Malcolm, Greta returns to the house and commands him like a nanny, to which he appears to be responding positively.

However, when he tries to kiss her Greta stabs him and escapes with Malcolm. In the last scene, Brahms is seen fixing the doll.

So in the end the doll was not moving about by itself, it was Brahms all along.