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What does the Netflix movie say about motherhood?

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Fever Dream, called Distancia de Rescate or Rescue Distance for the Spanish release, is a psychological drama now exclusively on Netflix centered around the relationship of two mothers in a small town.

This suspenseful film comes from award-winning Peruvian director Claudia Llosa and is based on the critically acclaimed novel by Argentinian author Samanta Schweblin.

Fever Dream is one of those movies that starts you off disoriented and leaves you with a heavy heart of understanding. While the movie is definitely a suspenseful thriller with a harrowing mystery, it isn’t about a ghost or a murderer. It’s about the horrors humanity is set on enduring.

Here’s a thorough synopsis of the movie, plus its intense themes of environmental disaster and motherhood explained.

What happens in the movie Fever Dream?

The movie begins from Amanda’s confused perspective, being dragged through the woods with no recollection of how she got there. The voice of a boy, David, speaks to Amanda through her visions. She has to stay awake and understand what’s important.

David guides Amanda to her recent past. She narrates what she sees much like a book, with David prompting what’s important and what’s not, serving as a secondary narrator.

According to David, the details are a necessity to understand the whole story. Aggressive dogs. The garden. A dead bird in a puddle. Strange children. A slowly growing sense of dread and fatigue.

The pacing of the film revolves around the “important” parts of the story. It isn’t about Amanda, Nina, David or Carola. It’s about the town, what happened there, and why. Amanda’s story is merely a vessel for the truth.

Amanda brings her daughter Nina on a summer trip to a small town, settling in at a little house surrounded by nature. Their neighbor Carola, David’s mother, brings two buckets of water for the visitors, noting that sometimes you can’t drink the tap water. They become fast friends fascinated with each other, their spiritual connection undeniable.

Sometime later, Carola reveals to Amanda that her son isn’t normal. Seven years prior, both her husband’s prized stallion and her beloved son became poisoned when they drank the same water deep in the woods.

When David’s symptoms worsened, Carola took him to “the green house,” where a woman who can supposedly manipulate energy attempts to heal those in pain. The spiritual worker said the only way to save David was through a spiritual migration that would split the effects of the poison between two bodies. Although David survived, he is not the same boy Carola loves, and he starts to obsessively bury the dead animals he finds in the river.

After hearing Carola’s story, Amanda becomes suspicious of her and does everything she can to convince herself the tale isn’t true. David is now older and has become even more withdrawn, the effects of the poison and apparent migration clear in the way he composes himself. Despite this, Amanda reaches out to him and attempts to be the mother figure that Carola has failed to be.

The two mothers become closer, and Carola expresses that she wishes she had a daughter like Nina… if not Nina herself. She continues to show distrust and even resentment towards her son David, who besides being withdrawn, has not shown himself to be the terrible child Carola claims he is.

However, the situation changes when David lets himself into Amanda’s house twice, causing her to fear for Nina’s safety. Amanda plans to leave the house and town for good, but instead returns to apologize to Carola.

After returning to the town, Amanda suffers bouts of debilitating fatigue. She attempts to leave again with Nina at the pleas of David but collapses in the road.

Amanda wakes up in the clinic that’s been hinted at throughout the movie. She can’t move and is hooked up to IVs. Carola comes to her side to tell her Nina is sick and won’t survive unless she goes through the migration process David went through at the green house. Convinced that Carola wants to take Nina from her, Amanda manages to leave the clinic and makes her way to the green house with the help of David.

Here’s where the opening of the film connects. David drags Amanda to his boat and rows towards the green house to try and stop the migration, but mostly because Amanda wants to keep Nina close as they both lay dying. David cries as Amanda passes away at the bottom of his boat. He was unable to stop the tragedy from happening.

A year later, Amanda’s husband returns to the town with news that Nina is recovering, but something’s wrong with her. No one has answers for him on what happened to her. David watches sadly as Marco drives away from the town, never to return.

Fever Dream ending explained

Fever Dream is one of those movies that wants you to discover the truth for yourself. Not much is explicitly stated in the film, only suggested by David’s direction in Amanda’s memories. Fever Dream is a mystifying film about the environmental disaster taking place in Argentina, as well as the lesser-touched struggles of motherhood.

When Nina’s father Marco returns to the small town a year after Amanda’s death, he hopes to find answers about his daughter’s current state. Omar, David’s single parent since Carola left them, says he knows nothing of what happened to Nina.

David excitedly gets into Marco’s car, who promptly shoos him out, and drives away with the boy in his rear-view mirror. David follows the car for a moment, confused and sad.

Although his methods aren’t understood, David’s goal is to save others from his own fate and mourn the souls lost to pesticide poisoning. The adults in the town who survived the poisoned water are silent and accept the consequences of pesticide use despite it causing more harm than good. Most of the children in the town are born with abnormalities, and those who survive are likely to be exposed to poison later on.

When Marco returns to ask about the changes Nina went through, it gives David some hope. Nina survived, and survived the migration. He jumps into Marco’s car hoping to finally be taken away from the town and treated like a real child with Nina, who went through the same traumatic experience that he did. David believes that if Nina went through the same event and is still cared for by her father, he could receive the same level of love.

Instead, Marco drives off, and David will be forever burdened by the deaths in his town and the knowledge that it will never change.

What does Fever Dream say about the environment?

This final event solidifies the tragedy of the small town and many other places around the world. The environmental disaster in the pesticide contamination of an entire town will never be talked about, never fixed, and the residents will forever be subject to the terrible effects.

The resolve to accept the atrocities of poisoning mirrors a tragic view on climate change and environmental disaster: There’s nothing that can be done, and no one cares enough to change it. The overuse of pesticides is an environmental issue that has been prevalent in Argentina for decades.

The aggressive use of pesticides started in 1996 when regulators in Argentina approved Monsanto’s genetically engineered soybean seeds. The seeds were incredibly resistant to herbicides, which meant that farmers could use as much as they wanted to prevent weeds while growing fields of crops. A rise in health problems, including birth defects and cancers, were detected as early as 2002 in rural soybean-growing areas.

Unfortunately, there has been minimal effort to scale back the use of pesticides and protect the people affected by agrochemical spraying. Fever Dream is a cry for help that attempts to shed light on the horrors of pesticide poisoning from a mystical angle.

What does Fever Dream say about motherhood?

Amanda is constantly assessing any danger that could befall her daughter Nina. She notes her method, “the rescue distance,” where she calculates the amount of time it would take for her to reach Nina if something dangerous happened to her. This invisible thread that ties her to her daughter generates anxiety that follows Amanda everywhere, but her method acts as a safety net to keep Nina safe. Imagining the worst possible scenario is a strategy to keep her child from harm, but it’s not always what you pay attention to that’s what you should be wary of.

Amanda and Carola, while fascinated by each other, also struggle to see the other’s perspective. They’re both mothers but have had polarized experiences with their experience. Carola prioritizes her emotional wellbeing above her husband and son, while Amanda fails to see her own wants as a priority. Carola found joy in motherhood, but when her son did not reciprocate love in the same way, Carola only wished for someone to let her care for them. Carola has no regrets in saving David from death, though he is a different child because of it.

Fever Dream begs the question: What does it mean to be a good mother?

Is motherhood a two-way street, or is it unconditional? If a mother is unable to protect her child from harm, has she failed as a parent, or is it how she handles the aftermath that matters most?

Fever Dream is definitely a movie that will be different during a second watch through, especially after knowing more about the agrochemical disaster so prevalent in Argentina. Hopefully this film will spur change not just in Argentina, but for environmental activism worldwide.


Fever Dream, called Distancia de Rescate or Rescue Distance for the Spanish release, is a psychological drama now exclusively on Netflix centered around the relationship of two mothers in a small town.

This suspenseful film comes from award-winning Peruvian director Claudia Llosa and is based on the critically acclaimed novel by Argentinian author Samanta Schweblin.

Fever Dream is one of those movies that starts you off disoriented and leaves you with a heavy heart of understanding. While the movie is definitely a suspenseful thriller with a harrowing mystery, it isn’t about a ghost or a murderer. It’s about the horrors humanity is set on enduring.

Here’s a thorough synopsis of the movie, plus its intense themes of environmental disaster and motherhood explained.

What happens in the movie Fever Dream?

The movie begins from Amanda’s confused perspective, being dragged through the woods with no recollection of how she got there. The voice of a boy, David, speaks to Amanda through her visions. She has to stay awake and understand what’s important.

David guides Amanda to her recent past. She narrates what she sees much like a book, with David prompting what’s important and what’s not, serving as a secondary narrator.

According to David, the details are a necessity to understand the whole story. Aggressive dogs. The garden. A dead bird in a puddle. Strange children. A slowly growing sense of dread and fatigue.

The pacing of the film revolves around the “important” parts of the story. It isn’t about Amanda, Nina, David or Carola. It’s about the town, what happened there, and why. Amanda’s story is merely a vessel for the truth.

Amanda brings her daughter Nina on a summer trip to a small town, settling in at a little house surrounded by nature. Their neighbor Carola, David’s mother, brings two buckets of water for the visitors, noting that sometimes you can’t drink the tap water. They become fast friends fascinated with each other, their spiritual connection undeniable.

Sometime later, Carola reveals to Amanda that her son isn’t normal. Seven years prior, both her husband’s prized stallion and her beloved son became poisoned when they drank the same water deep in the woods.

When David’s symptoms worsened, Carola took him to “the green house,” where a woman who can supposedly manipulate energy attempts to heal those in pain. The spiritual worker said the only way to save David was through a spiritual migration that would split the effects of the poison between two bodies. Although David survived, he is not the same boy Carola loves, and he starts to obsessively bury the dead animals he finds in the river.

After hearing Carola’s story, Amanda becomes suspicious of her and does everything she can to convince herself the tale isn’t true. David is now older and has become even more withdrawn, the effects of the poison and apparent migration clear in the way he composes himself. Despite this, Amanda reaches out to him and attempts to be the mother figure that Carola has failed to be.

The two mothers become closer, and Carola expresses that she wishes she had a daughter like Nina… if not Nina herself. She continues to show distrust and even resentment towards her son David, who besides being withdrawn, has not shown himself to be the terrible child Carola claims he is.

However, the situation changes when David lets himself into Amanda’s house twice, causing her to fear for Nina’s safety. Amanda plans to leave the house and town for good, but instead returns to apologize to Carola.

After returning to the town, Amanda suffers bouts of debilitating fatigue. She attempts to leave again with Nina at the pleas of David but collapses in the road.

Amanda wakes up in the clinic that’s been hinted at throughout the movie. She can’t move and is hooked up to IVs. Carola comes to her side to tell her Nina is sick and won’t survive unless she goes through the migration process David went through at the green house. Convinced that Carola wants to take Nina from her, Amanda manages to leave the clinic and makes her way to the green house with the help of David.

Here’s where the opening of the film connects. David drags Amanda to his boat and rows towards the green house to try and stop the migration, but mostly because Amanda wants to keep Nina close as they both lay dying. David cries as Amanda passes away at the bottom of his boat. He was unable to stop the tragedy from happening.

A year later, Amanda’s husband returns to the town with news that Nina is recovering, but something’s wrong with her. No one has answers for him on what happened to her. David watches sadly as Marco drives away from the town, never to return.

Fever Dream ending explained

Fever Dream is one of those movies that wants you to discover the truth for yourself. Not much is explicitly stated in the film, only suggested by David’s direction in Amanda’s memories. Fever Dream is a mystifying film about the environmental disaster taking place in Argentina, as well as the lesser-touched struggles of motherhood.

When Nina’s father Marco returns to the small town a year after Amanda’s death, he hopes to find answers about his daughter’s current state. Omar, David’s single parent since Carola left them, says he knows nothing of what happened to Nina.

David excitedly gets into Marco’s car, who promptly shoos him out, and drives away with the boy in his rear-view mirror. David follows the car for a moment, confused and sad.

Although his methods aren’t understood, David’s goal is to save others from his own fate and mourn the souls lost to pesticide poisoning. The adults in the town who survived the poisoned water are silent and accept the consequences of pesticide use despite it causing more harm than good. Most of the children in the town are born with abnormalities, and those who survive are likely to be exposed to poison later on.

When Marco returns to ask about the changes Nina went through, it gives David some hope. Nina survived, and survived the migration. He jumps into Marco’s car hoping to finally be taken away from the town and treated like a real child with Nina, who went through the same traumatic experience that he did. David believes that if Nina went through the same event and is still cared for by her father, he could receive the same level of love.

Instead, Marco drives off, and David will be forever burdened by the deaths in his town and the knowledge that it will never change.

What does Fever Dream say about the environment?

This final event solidifies the tragedy of the small town and many other places around the world. The environmental disaster in the pesticide contamination of an entire town will never be talked about, never fixed, and the residents will forever be subject to the terrible effects.

The resolve to accept the atrocities of poisoning mirrors a tragic view on climate change and environmental disaster: There’s nothing that can be done, and no one cares enough to change it. The overuse of pesticides is an environmental issue that has been prevalent in Argentina for decades.

The aggressive use of pesticides started in 1996 when regulators in Argentina approved Monsanto’s genetically engineered soybean seeds. The seeds were incredibly resistant to herbicides, which meant that farmers could use as much as they wanted to prevent weeds while growing fields of crops. A rise in health problems, including birth defects and cancers, were detected as early as 2002 in rural soybean-growing areas.

Unfortunately, there has been minimal effort to scale back the use of pesticides and protect the people affected by agrochemical spraying. Fever Dream is a cry for help that attempts to shed light on the horrors of pesticide poisoning from a mystical angle.

What does Fever Dream say about motherhood?

Amanda is constantly assessing any danger that could befall her daughter Nina. She notes her method, “the rescue distance,” where she calculates the amount of time it would take for her to reach Nina if something dangerous happened to her. This invisible thread that ties her to her daughter generates anxiety that follows Amanda everywhere, but her method acts as a safety net to keep Nina safe. Imagining the worst possible scenario is a strategy to keep her child from harm, but it’s not always what you pay attention to that’s what you should be wary of.

Amanda and Carola, while fascinated by each other, also struggle to see the other’s perspective. They’re both mothers but have had polarized experiences with their experience. Carola prioritizes her emotional wellbeing above her husband and son, while Amanda fails to see her own wants as a priority. Carola found joy in motherhood, but when her son did not reciprocate love in the same way, Carola only wished for someone to let her care for them. Carola has no regrets in saving David from death, though he is a different child because of it.

Fever Dream begs the question: What does it mean to be a good mother?

Is motherhood a two-way street, or is it unconditional? If a mother is unable to protect her child from harm, has she failed as a parent, or is it how she handles the aftermath that matters most?

Fever Dream is definitely a movie that will be different during a second watch through, especially after knowing more about the agrochemical disaster so prevalent in Argentina. Hopefully this film will spur change not just in Argentina, but for environmental activism worldwide.

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