‘The Good Mother’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Marissa & Toby?

Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s compelling film, “The Good Mother,” delves into the intricate narrative of a mother, Marissa, confronted with a heart-wrenching decision that tests the boundaries of love, grief, and morality.

As the film navigates the complexities of Marissa’s life, the ending leaves viewers grappling with the consequences of her choices and the fate of her family.

Marissa’s World Unveiled: A Life Shrouded in Grief

Marissa, a once-prominent journalist, found herself ensnared in the throes of grief, numbed by the tragedies that life had thrust upon her. The film artfully portrays her internal struggles as she grapples with the haunting memories of her deceased son, Michael, and the relentless weight of sorrow that shadows her every move.

A Mother’s Unyielding Grief

Marissa’s journalistic prowess, acknowledged by her boss at the Times Union, had long been overshadowed by her personal tribulations. The loss of Michael, coupled with the haunting specter of addiction, rendered Marissa a mere semblance of her former self. The film captures her hungover demeanor, a poignant reflection of a life marred by tragedy.

The Unveiling of Michael’s Fate: Tragedy Begets Tragedy

The revelation of Michael’s demise, a victim of a mysterious murder in Arbour Hill, becomes the fulcrum on which Marissa’s world pivots. The film adeptly navigates the aftermath of Michael’s death, exposing the tendrils of grief that entwine Marissa’s existence.

Paige’s Revelation and a Mother’s Fury

During Michael’s funeral, Marissa’s grief takes an unexpected turn when she encounters Paige, Michael’s girlfriend. In a moment of visceral anger, Marissa confronts Paige, blaming her for Michael’s death. Unbeknownst to Marissa, Paige harbors a secret – she is carrying Michael’s child. The revelation sets the stage for an uneasy alliance between the two women.

Paige’s Tale of Redemption

As Paige becomes an integral part of Marissa’s life, her narrative unfolds, revealing Michael’s aspirations for a fresh start. The trio, including their friend Ducky, aimed to escape the clutches of addiction by purchasing a farm. However, Michael’s tragic end shatters these dreams, leading Paige to uncover the dark underbelly of his demise.

Ducky’s Revelation: Unraveling the Web of Deceit

Ducky, Michael’s confidant, becomes a pivotal character as he unveils the circumstances surrounding Michael’s death. His revelation, delivered in the aftermath of an assault by an unknown assailant, points towards a larger conspiracy.

A Friend’s Defiance and Loyalty

Ducky vehemently denies any involvement in Michael’s murder, asserting that a mysterious man with a tattoo and a white truck orchestrated the fatal encounter. Marissa, torn between skepticism and trust, grapples with the veracity of Ducky’s claims.

Toby’s Dark Secret

The narrative takes an unforeseen turn as Toby, Marissa’s other son and a police officer, emerges as a central figure in the web of deception. His revelation that Ducky was the prime suspect deepens the intrigue, leading Marissa to question the loyalty of those closest to her.

The Depths of Toby’s Betrayal: A Mother’s Shattered Trust

As the film peels back the layers of deception, Toby’s involvement in Michael’s fate comes to light. The revelation that Toby orchestrated Michael’s meeting with drug dealers, leading to his demise, sends shockwaves through Marissa’s world.

Toby’s Confession and Marissa’s Anguish

Confronted by Marissa, Toby unravels the truth – Michael’s refusal to partake in a drug deal sealed his fate. Toby’s admission thrusts Marissa into a maelstrom of emotions, forcing her to grapple with the shocking betrayal perpetrated by her own son.

The Weight of a Mother’s Decision

Marissa stands at the precipice of a decision that transcends familial loyalty. The film leaves the audience on the cusp of Marissa’s choice – to expose Toby’s involvement through an article or to shield him, sacrificing justice for the sake of preserving her family.


In the poignant denouement of “The Good Mother,” Marissa’s internal turmoil remains unresolved. The film masterfully captures the dichotomy of a mother torn between love and justice, grief and betrayal.

The ambiguity of Marissa’s final decision, hinted at by the lit cigarette, leaves the audience pondering the implications of choices unmade.

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