If you just watched Horse Girl on Netflix and are a bit confused, we’re not surprised. From its alien-esque ending, to everything in between, there’s a lot of questions that demand answers. Or do they?
Horse Girl is all about putting you in the mind of someone having a mental episode and living with a serious mental condition. While we don’t know the exact nature of Sarah’s (Alison Brie) psychosis, our best guess is schizophrenia, a mental condition with strong hereditary links that Oxford disctionary describes as a long-term mental disorder involving:
a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.
Since we follow Sarah’s character for the entire film, it’s fair to assume that the majority of things we see are from her perspective and understanding.
When we see people in Sarah’s dreams, like the HVAC man, whom she then meets in real life, this isn’t proof that she can see the future. Rather, this proves to the audience that she truly believes she has seen this man before.
Sarah is convinced this man is from her dreams, and of course so is the audience, since we see him played by the same actor. This doesn’t mean, however, Sarah has actually seen this man before. It means that, without a shadow of a doubt, Sarah believes she has seen this man, and as an audience living inside her head, we believe her too.
When Sarah hears what her co-worker Joan (Molly Shannon) is about to say on the phone before she even says it, again this is not a depiction of reality, but a depiction of Sarah’s perception.
The confusion and randomness brought on by dream sequences throughout the film are intended to make you feel those exact same feelings of disconnect and confusion felt by Sarah.
We know the final scene of the movie, when Sarah steals her beloved horse Willow, is at least partially real, thanks to the quick glimpse Joan gets of Willow passing the craft store, not to mention a little wink and a nod from the director, who has Willlow audibly chew on some leaves after the film’s dramatic final scene.
Don’t worry Willow, we get it. You’re real.
While Sarah does actually steal the horse, her UFO abduction is again the product of psychosis. In this case, it shows how completely entrenched she is in her new reality, one where she’s ready to be beamed up for her cloning process.
We think there might be some symbolism in this film open to interpretation, but for the most part, it’s all about intentionally seeing things that don’t make sense and believing in connections that don’t exist, to try and put viewers inside Sarah’s mind in the most relatable way possible.
Check out our short review of Horse Girl if you want to know our general opinion on this psychedelic horse drama.