Shutter Island Ending Explained: Who Is There, Teddy or Andrew?

Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island is a psychological thriller based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name. This film follows the story of Deputy Marshall US, Edward “Teddy” Daniels, who along with his new partner Chuck Aule, come to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient, Rachel Solando, who went missing. Here in this psychological film, we witness two cases which are intertwined with each other. They are played in such a way that it is difficult to tell what is true and what is not. However, that’s not the only part, as someone is even struggling to identify our protagonist’s identity. The only sight we really have is his appearance, while his past appears blurry before us. But, who do we trust? So, in this article, we are going to get an Explanation of Shutter Island Closure.

The film for the main part sees Leonardo DiCaprio playing the role of US Deputy Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels. But in turn, we are exposed to alternative identities. Mark Ruffalo plays Teddy and another US partner Teddy and Marshall Chuck Aule. He was also revealed to have an alternative identity. Ben Kingsley serves as Chief Psychiatrist at Ashecliffe Hospital, Dr. John Cawley. Max von Sydow plays the German Doctor, Dr. Jeremiah Naehring. Michelle Williams played Teddy’s wife, Dolores Chanel, while we saw two Rachel Solandos played by Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson. The film, which was released more than a decade ago on February 19, 2010, still leaves people scratching their heads about the ending. And in this article, we will give our own opinion on Martin Scorsese’s neo-noir psychological film.

Shutter Island plot

Shutter Island Ending Explained: Who Is There, Teddy or Andrew?

Teddy and Chuck

Teddy and Chuck are trapped on the island due to a big storm, so they have to stay on the island. Here they encountered some uncooperative staff, while Chief Psychiatrist Cawley refused to show any records. Here, even Doctor Solando, Sheehan has disappeared from the scene. They were told how Ward C along with a lighthouse were provided for the most disturbed patients so that it was forbidden. And when he interviewed several patients, one of them wrote in Teddy’s notebook for “Run.” Teddy then started having migraines because he had a vision of his time to go to war. He even saw the memories of his wife when she was burned by Andrew Laeddis.

Teddy met a man from Ward C named George Noyce. She told him how the hospital had researched lobotomization, and they used their patients to do it at the lighthouse. He even warns Teddy how the whole island is a tricky game prepared for Teddy. Not knowing what he means, Teddy reunites with Chuck to reach the lighthouse. During this time, he lost track of Chuck only to find a woman named Rachel Solando in a cave. He claimed to be a psychiatrist who had known about the bad behavior of the hospital before he was forced as a patient to the hospital. Teddy returns to the hospital and finds no sign of Chuck.

The Reveal

Shutter Island Ending Explained: Who Is There, Teddy or Andrew?

Teddy is Andrew?

To find Chuck, Teddy goes to the lighthouse to find Cawley waiting for him. Cawley claims how Teddy is actually Andrew, the man who imprisoned his wife after she went crazy and drowned their three children. The names Andrew Laeddis and Dolores Chanel are actually an anagrams for Edward Daniels and Rachel Solando. And the girl he saw in his dreams was his daughter, Rachel. Even Chuck, his partner is also a Doctor (Sheehan), who plays his part in the role play. All of this was done so that the doctors could intervene for Teddy who finally realized he was Andrew Laeddis. Overwhelmed by all the information given to him, Teddy passes out.

What Happens at the Shutter Island Ending?

Andrew and Dr. Sheehan

At Shutter Island Ending, Teddy / Andrew awakens in the hospital because he has been placed under Dr. Cawley. Here he met Sheehan, the warden, and the nurse who played Rachel Solando. Now that Cawley has revealed to Teddy that he was part of a big role-playing game to get him back to sanity, Andrew seems to have accepted it. The reply he gave was one that felt satisfying if Andrew finally accepted himself. Thus, the doctor’s experiment seemed to be successful, only for the problem that it seemed they had reached this stage earlier. And even then Andrew came back to Teddy. If at this point Andrew couldn’t stay “sane,” he would have to be lobotomized.

Sometime later, we saw Andrew relaxing near the hospital grounds when Sheehan came to chat with him. Here, while talking to her, Andrew referred to Sheehan as Chuck. He exclaims how something was wrong, on the island and they have to escape somehow. Identifying that Andrew appeared to have retreated back to Edward Daniels, Sheehan shook his head at Cawley in a manner that indicated that Andrew had returned to being Teddy. So, in an inaudible way, Cawley asked Naehring to take Andrew to the lighthouse for him to be lobotomized.

When the guards came for him, Andrew / Teddy asked Sheehan, “Which is worse: Living as a monster, or dying as a good person?” This made Sheehan doubt his judgment when she addressed him as Teddy, but received no reaction. As he walked towards the guard, he looked at Cawley in a way that indicated that something deeper was being worked on.

Shutter Island Ending Explained

Andrew mourned the death of his wife.

One thing is for sure Scorsese leaves plenty of room for interpretation for us viewers. Shutter Island Ending leaves viewers on an ambiguous note where each viewer can have their own ending. The most credible or generally agreed ideas suggest two possibilities, the first being that Andrew Laeddis did exist. Even though he might be completely insane. He was traumatized after the death of his children after which he shot his wife down. The fact that her children are drowning causes her to completely take away the visualization of the water. There is a scene with an old woman where Andrew is interrogating several patients. Although there are obvious threatening signs to Andrew, because of his “Run” record. We see that Andrew can’t see the glass of water the woman is drinking. What’s more, when he put it back on the table, it was in the wrong hands.

So, perhaps knowing that he had become a monster from time to time, he wanted to reset himself. Because of that, he pretended to back off to be lobotomized. In addition, the interpretation goes, the protagonist is not the US Deputy Marshall considering he forgot who he answered with. Also, the fact that he was unable to identify a fake weapon from a real one, hardly helped his case.

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Alternative Theory

Teddy learns that his children died from drowning

Another theory states how Andrew never existed, and it’s all a hoax fabricated by doctors. Teddy is actually an old soldier who then may or may not turn into a pyromaniac who killed his wife. After all, he was there to thoroughly investigate the case of his wife who died from memory loss caused by PTSD. But because he was in the hospital, the staff had to hide their internal affairs from him, so they announced some rules to impose on Teddy. However, what is questioning is how Cawley claims that the storm is just a ruse to keep Teddy from leaving the island. While theoretically, Teddy finds some clues about the hospital’s misdeeds only to be illuminated by a group of conspirators who are fueled by the government. Lastly, Teddy only remembers one of the three children he seems to have had, from a lingering dream.

Also Read: 6 Psychological Thrillers On Netflix You Stream Today – TV Show Recommendations

Where to Watch Shutter Island?

You can watch Shutter Island at Netflix, Amazon Prime video, Apple TV, Now TV, Sky, Most important, and StarzPlay. If you don’t want to subscribe to any of the streaming platforms above, you can buy or rent movies on YouTube TV, Amazon Prime video, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft Store, and iTunes. You can also watch movies on live streaming websites such as DirecTV, Xfinity, and FuboTV.

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