The film follows the efforts made to tackle climate change and Al Gore’s attempts to persuade governmental leaders to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016, as well as attempting to de-bunk the de-bunkers of Gore, his film and global warming in general.
Gene is an emoji that lives in Textopolis, a digital city inside the phone of his user, a teenager named Alex. He is the son of two meh emojis named Mel and Mary and is able to make multiple expressions despite his parents’ upbringing. His parents are hesitant about him going to work, but Gene insists so that he can feel useful. Upon receiving a text from his love interest Addie McCallister, Alex decides to send her an emoji. When Gene is selected, he panics, makes a panicked expression, and wrecks the text center. Gene is called in by Smiler, a smiley emoji and leader of the text center, who concludes that Gene is a “malfunction” and therefore must be deleted. Gene is chased by bots but is rescued by Hi-5, a once-popular emoji who has since lost his fame due to lack of use. He tells Gene that he can be fixed if they find a hacker, and Hi-5 accompanies him so that he can reclaim his fame.
Smiler sends more bots to look for Gene when she finds out that he has left Textopolis, as his actions have caused Alex to think that his phone needs to be fixed. Gene and Hi-5 come to a piracy app where they meet a hacker emoji named Jailbreak, who wants to reach Dropbox so that she can live in the cloud. The trio is attacked by Smiler’s bots, but manage to escape into the game Candy Crush. Jailbreak reveals that Gene can be fixed in the cloud, and the group goes off into the Just Dance app. While there, Jailbreak is revealed to be a princess emoji who fled home after tiring of being stereotyped. They are once again attacked by bots, and their actions cause Alex to delete the Just Dance app. Gene and Jailbreak escape, but Hi-5 is taken along with the app and ends up in the trash.
Mel and Mary go searching for Gene and have a very lethargic argument. They make up in the Instagram app when Mel reveals that he, too, is a malfunction, explaining Gene’s behavior. While traveling through Spotify, Jailbreak admits that she likes Gene just the way he is and that he should not be ashamed of his malfunction. The two start to fall in love and Gene silently debates his choice to change himself. They make it to the trash and rescue Hi-5, but are soon attacked by a bot upgraded with illegal malware. They evade it by entangling its arms and enter Dropbox, where they encounter a firewall. After many tries, the gang gets past it with a password being Addie’s name and make it to the cloud, where Jailbreak prepares to reprogram Gene. Gene admits his feelings for Jailbreak, but she wishes to stick to her plan of venturing into the cloud, unintentionally causing Gene to revert to his apathetic programming out of heartbreak. Suddenly, the upgraded bot sneaks into the cloud and captures Gene, prompting Hi-5 and Jailbreak to go after him with a Twitter bird summoned by Jailbreak in her princess form.
As Smiler prepares to delete Gene, Mel and Mary arrive. Mel reveals to everyone that he is also a malfunction, prompting Smiler to threaten to delete him as well. Jailbreak and Hi-5 arrive and disable the bot, which falls on top of Smiler. Alex has since taken his phone to a store in hopes that a factory reset performed by technical support would restore his phone’s functionality, which would entail total destruction of Gene’s world should such operation complete. Out of desperation, Gene prepares to have himself texted to Addie, making numerous faces to express himself. Realizing that Addie received a text from him, Alex cancels the factory reset just as it nearly finishes, saving the emoji and finally getting to speak with Addie, who likes the emoji Alex sent. Gene accepts himself for who he is and is celebrated by all of the emojis.
In a mid-credits scene, Smiler has been relegated to the “loser lounge” with the other unused and forgotten emojis for her crimes, wearing numerous braces due to her teeth being chipped by the bot, and playing and losing a game of Go Fish.
In November 1989, days prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, MI6 agent James Gascoigne is shot and killed by KGB agent Yuri Bakhtin, who steals The List, a microfilm document concealed in Gascoigne’s wristwatch containing the names of every intelligence agent (on both sides) active in Berlin. Ten days later, Lorraine Broughton, a top-level MI6 spy, is brought in to be debriefed by MI6 executive Eric Gray and CIA agent Emmett Kurzfeld about her just-finished mission to Berlin. The plot jumps between the debriefing room and flashbacks to Lorraine’s time in Berlin.
The day after Gascoigne’s death, Lorraine is dispatched to recover The List and is told to keep an eye out for Satchel, a double agent for the KGB who has been a problem for MI6 for years. Arriving in Berlin, she is immediately ambushed by KGB agents who deliver a message from their boss, Aleksander Bremovych. She is able to escape and meet up with her contact, maverick MI6 station head, David Percival. Lorraine searches Gascoigne’s apartment and discovers a picture of him and Percival. In the debriefing, she tells Gray and Kurzfeld Percival had previously denied knowing Gascoigne and she suspects Percival was behind the West Berlin police ambushing her while she searched Gascoigne’s apartment. When Lorraine visits a restaurant mentioned by the KGB agents she encounters Bremovych, but is “saved” by Delphine Lasalle, a novice French agent. Although Lorraine is initially suspicious of Lasalle, they eventually enter into a romantic relationship.
Percival, having tailed Lorraine, surveils a watchmaker she visited. He spots Bakhtin entering the same shop. Bakhtin tells the watchmaker he has a watch full of secrets he will sell to the highest bidder. Kurzfeld meets with Lorraine in Berlin, handing her a newspaper containing a number which, when called, informs her Satchel has been compromised. Percival lures Bakhtin to an alley, kills him, and takes the wristwatch from which he discovers who Satchel is. Lorraine, who does not know Percival has The List, finds out that the Stasi officer codenamed Spyglass, who gave The List to Gascoigne, also memorized the names on it. Lorraine and Percival make plans to escort him across the border to West Berlin. Percival meets with Bremovych, who suspects Percival has The List, but Percival offers only the second best thing — the identity and operations of Satchel “to keep the balance”, also tipping him off about the plan to extricate Spyglass from East Berlin. Lasalle covertly photographs the meeting.
During the extrication of Spyglass, Percival secretly shoots him when the KGB agents are unable to. Lorraine battles multiple KGB agents while rescuing the wounded Spyglass, however, he drowns when their car plunges into a river. Lorraine makes it to West Berlin and realizes Percival has planted a bug in her coat. She tells Lasalle, who calls Percival and threatens him with her knowledge of his Bremovych meeting. Percival goes to Lasalle’s apartment and kills her, fleeing as Lorraine arrives moments later. Lorraine discovers the photographs taken by Lasalle and realizes Percival has read The List. Percival burns his safehouse and attempts to flee, but Lorraine arrives, kills him, avenging Lasalle, and takes The List.
In the MI6 debriefing, Lorraine discovers Percival had told Gray he had The List and he was “very close to Satchel”. She presents Lasalle’s photographs and doctored audio recordings, which paint Percival as Satchel. She denies knowing The List’s whereabouts, leaving MI6 no choice but to close the case.
Three days later in Paris, Lorraine, now speaking in Russian, meets with Bremovych, who addresses her as “Comrade Satchel”. Bremovych, having learned from Percival there is more to Satchel than he had previously known, orders his men to kill her. Lorraine kills his henchmen. Then, speaking with an American accent, she tells Bremovych she always fed him misinformation to manipulate the KGB. She kills Bremovych. She and Kurzfeld (CIA) return to the United States with The List. In their friendly conversation, it is implyed Lorraine is a triple agent and had been working for the CIA all along.
Wall Street broker Will Beeman (Hayden Christensen) has been struggling with being present for his wife Laura (Megan Leonard) and son Danny (Ty Shelton). Shortly after hearing of Danny being bullied at school, Will decides to take his family to his hometown, Granville, Ohio in order to bond with Danny. Upon entering Granville, Will is reacquainted with Police Chief Marvin Howell (Bruce Willis), a family friend who knew Will’s father and at one point dated his aunt, Dottie (Deb G. Girdler). Howell advises Will on taking precaution after informing him of a recent bank robbery where a couple of million dollars was stolen. While teaching Danny how to hunt with a rifle, Will and Danny witness a heated exchange between two men, one of them holding the other at gunpoint, inquiring after money drop-off not going according to plan. The unarmed man (Gethin Anthony) is shot in the shoulder after throwing a key near Will’s position at a shooting station; Danny’s shocked gasp at the shooting attracts the gunman’s attention. The gunman opens fire on Will’s location, prompting Will, fearing for his son’s safety, to shoot him with his hunting rifle in self-defense. Upon inspecting the dead gunman, he’s surprised to discover a concealed badge – that the gunman was a police officer who failed to identify himself. Distraught, Will brings the wounded man to the family cabin in order for Laura, a surgeon, to provide first aid and hopefully save the only other witness to the proceedings.
Shortly after being treated and bandaged-up, on regaining consciousness the man takes Danny hostage at knife-point, demanding that Will help him retrieve the discarded key in exchange for Danny’s freedom. While attempting to retrieve the key back at the shooting shack, they’re surprised by a uniformed officer, Richie Stechel (William DeMeo), who opens fire on Will and the gunman. The gunman tells Will to meet him at a bulletin board after retrieving the key, then absconds with Will’s car and son as hostage. After a failed attempt at pursuing his son, Will learns of the gunman’s name from Howell as Levi Barrett, and that the deceased officer was Richie’s brother, Charlie (Shea Buckner). Will waits until nightfall to retrieve the key, only to be confronted by Richie. Will successfully subdues Richie, left hand-cuffed to a tree, then heads to the bulletin board for further instructions. Meanwhile, Danny bonds with Levi and learns the reasons behind the bank robbery. Howell and the Stechel brothers engineered the heist and intended to use Levi as the fall guy. Levi agreed to the heist in order to financially support Mabel Fantion (Christine Dye), his girlfriend Adele’s (Magi Avila) cancer-ridden mother. Levi was supposed to drop off the stolen money at a drop-site, but suspecting the cops would likely betray him, did not arrive due to fear of the site being compromised with a potential assassin. Howell also deduces Levi’s predicament after a uniformed officer investigates Barrett’s apartment.
Howell and Will converge on Mabel’s hospital bed, with Howell questioning Will’s motivation for being there. While Howell is distracted with a radio call by an officer, Will receives a map from Mabel revealing the location of the post office where the stolen money was stashed and the location of an underground bunker at which to make the exchange for his son. The key is used to unlock the mailbox containing the stolen cash. Will briefly eludes Howell but is caught again after retrieving the money. Seemingly sympathetic to Will’s situation, Howell provides Will transport to the bunker in order to apprehend Levi. Will gives the money to Levi and is reunited with Danny. Simultaneous to this reunion, Richie kidnaps Laura from the family cabin and drives her to Howell’s location for a leverage of their own.
While attempting to flee, Adele is murdered by Howell. Left with nothing to lose, Levi attacks Howell and Richie only to be wounded. Will takes Danny to a hunter’s watchtower, where Danny soon after pushes a pursuing Richie off a high ladder to knock him out (due to following good anti-bullying advice Levi imparted to him previously while bonding over computer games). Howell holds Laura at gunpoint, threatening to shoot her if Will doesn’t hand over the money. Desperate to help his parents, Danny retrieves a pistol from the unconscious Richie and attempts to shoot Howell, only for Will to stop him. In an attempt to taunt Will, Howell reveals himself as the person that murdered Will’s father years earlier. Levi distracts Howell, while Laura ducks providing Will the opportunity to shoot Howell in the head.
During the aftermath, Levi dies of his injuries, much to Danny’s sadness. Richie is questioned by the rest of the police department, and Mabel is found dead on the hospital bed, murdered by Howell previously by removing her life support system. As the remaining non-corrupt officers boast on news media over the recovered loot, the Beeman family relinquish their hunting rifle and decide to return home to deal with their daily lives.
In an attempt to reconnect with her friends from college, lifestyle guru Ryan Pierce, dubbed “the next Oprah,” decides to invite her friends on a girls’ trip to Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, where she will be the keynote speaker. Known as the “Flossy Posse,” the group includes Sasha, an ex-journalist from Time magazine who now owns a floundering gossip site and is struggling financially; Lisa, a nurse and uptight single mother who has not had a boyfriend since her divorce years earlier; and Dina, a happy-go-lucky, impulsive party animal who was fired after harming a co-worker who accidentally ate her lunch.
Shortly after arriving, Sasha receives a photo of Ryan’s husband Stewart kissing another woman. The friends are reluctant to tell Ryan initially, but Ryan admits she is already aware of the situation and informs her friends that the two are in couple’s therapy to address Stewart’s infidelity. After Dina confronts Stewart at their hotel with a broken bottle, the Flossy Posse are ejected and settles into a one-star motel instead. At the Essence Fest later that night, they run into an old friend Julian, a musician performing at the festival who Ryan flirts with. He later gives up his hotel suite so that the women have somewhere decent to stay.
The next day, Ryan and Stewart host a cooking demonstration together at the music festival that goes awry when Stewart’s mistress, Simone, shows up. A potential investor is impressed, however, and a business meeting is set up for Ryan and Stewart with their agent, Elizabeth, who then introduces Ryan and Stewart to Bethany Marshall. Dina serves the women absinthe right before the meeting, causing them to hallucinate. At her meeting, Ryan thinks the waitress is Stewart’s mistress; Lisa thinks her kids are at the club with her; Dina thinks she is flying; and Sasha thinks she is making out with an attractive man who is actually a lamp. The girls eventually pull Ryan out of the meeting and decide to go to a club to dance the absinthe off. They run into Simone and her friends and engage in a dance off before getting in a bar fight. Julian picks them up before they can get arrested and takes them back to their hotel.
Ryan and Stewart are offered a massive deal from the chain store Best Mart, whose representative wants to hire them as spokespeople. Ryan goes out to celebrate with the girls at one of Julian’s shows. Simone shows up and tells Sasha that she is pregnant. She offers to give Sasha’s blog exclusive content to her affair with pictures as well. Stewart once again goes to Ryan to convince her to stay with him to finalize their deal. Simone goes public with the affair, and Ryan accuses Sasha of being the one who leaked the pictures. The fight spills out into the relationship of all the women and they all part on bad terms.
Dina and Lisa make up quickly. After Sasha decides to take down her blog, disgusted with the celebrity gossip racket, Dina and Lisa reunite with her. As Ryan begins to give her keynote speech on the last day of the music festival and denies that the picture of Stewart and Simone is real, she sees her friends walk into the room. Ryan eventually admits the picture and affair are real. The speech is a success and when the women reunite after the show, Ryan apologizes to Sasha. Ryan’s agent arrives and tells Ryan that the deal with Best Mart is still on but with her alone. Ryan decides to take Sasha as her business partner the way they planned to be years ago. A series of events shows the girls happily reunited and Ryan beginning a relationship with Julian.
In 1940, during the Battle of France, Allied soldiers have retreated to Dunkirk. Tommy, a young British private, is the sole survivor of a German ambush. At the beach, he finds thousands of troops awaiting evacuation and meets Gibson, who is burying a body. After a Luftwaffe dive bomber attack, they attempt to get aboard a hospital ship, but are ordered off. The ship is sunk by dive bombers; Tommy saves another soldier, Alex. They get aboard a destroyer, only to have it torpedoed and sunk before it can depart.
With a single, vulnerable mole available for embarking on deep-draft ships, the Royal Navy requisitions civilian vessels in Great Britain that can get to the beach. In Weymouth, a civilian sailor Dawson, with his son Peter, sets out on his boat Moonstone, rather than let the Navy commandeer her. Their teenage hand George impulsively joins them. At sea, they rescue a shivering shell-shocked soldier from a wrecked ship. When he realizes that Dawson is sailing for Dunkirk, the soldier demands that they turn back and tries to wrest control of the boat; in the scuffle, George suffers a head injury that renders him blind. Elsewhere, three Spitfires, tasked with defending the evacuation, cross the English Channel. After their leader is shot down in a dogfight, one of the pilots, Farrier, assumes command, but the other Spitfire is hit and ditches. Its pilot, Collins, is rescued by Moonstone.
Tommy, Alex and Gibson join some soldiers of a Highlanders regiment and hide inside a beached trawler in the intertidal zone outside the Allied perimeter, waiting for the rising tide to refloat it. During the wait, German troops start shooting at the boat for target practice, and water enters through the bullet holes. Alex, hoping to lighten the boat, accuses Gibson, who has stayed silent, of being a German spy. Gibson reveals he is French; he stole the identity of the dead British soldier he buried, hoping to be evacuated with the British. The group abandons the boat when it begins to sink, but Gibson is entangled in a chain and drowns. When a nearby minesweeper is sunk by a bomber, Moonstone maneuvers to take on those in the water, including Tommy and Alex. Peter discovers that George is dead. Asked by the shell-shocked soldier, he lies and says that George will be fine.
Farrier reaches Dunkirk just as his fuel runs out. Gliding over the beach, he shoots down a dive-bomber, saving ships and troops, and lands beyond the perimeter. He sets fire to his plane before being taken prisoner by the Germans. In all, over 300,000 men are evacuated. Royal Navy Commander Bolton stays to oversee the evacuation of the French. Arriving back in Weymouth, the shell-shocked soldier sees George’s body being carried away. Tommy and Alex board a train, and receive a hero’s welcome when the train arrives in Woking. Tommy reads Churchill’s address to the House of Commons citing the “miracle of deliverance” in Dunkirk.
Claire Shannon, a seventeen-year-old high school student who is not part of the popular crowd, is haunted by the memory of her mother’s suicide by hanging, which she witnessed as a young child. Her father, Jonathan, a former musician and compulsive hoarder who dumpster dives as a hobby, finds a Chinese music box and gives it to her as an early birthday gift. Claire deciphers one of the numerous inscriptions on the box as “Seven Wishes,” and absentmindedly wishes for Darcie, her tormentor and school bully, to “rot,” at which point Darcie develops necrotizing fasciitis and is admitted into the ICU. That same day, Claire’s dog Max dies in her house’s crawlspace after seemingly being eaten alive by rats. Claire realizes that the box grants wishes, but does not understand that her wishes come with consequences.
Claire makes a second wish that a popular boy named Paul falls in love with her. As a result, her wealthy uncle dies. Upon hearing the news of his death, Claire then wishes she will be in the will. The relative leaves everything to Claire. Consequently Mrs. Deluca, a friendly neighbor, suffers a fatal accident. Claire enlists the help of her classmate Ryan Hui to decipher the symbols. Ryan’s cousin Gina helps Claire decipher the meaning of the symbols saying that each of the seven wishes upon wished, comes with consequences and that the rules have to be followed. Claire’s fourth wish is for her father to stop being a dumpster diver and he immediately has a personality shift. Soon after, Gina deciphers the meaning of the phrase which says “When the music ends, the blood price is paid.” After she warns Ryan, she dies. Ryan finds Gina’s body and confronts Claire about making wishes on the music box, which she denies.
Claire makes a fifth wish that she is popular, but Claire is soon unhappy with the consequent attention and that she loses her relationship with her friends. As a consequence of the wish, Meredith gets stuck in an elevator and, when the cable snaps, falls to her death.
Ryan reveals that after the seventh wish is granted, the music box will claim the soul of the owner. Attempts to destroy the box are unsuccessful. Furthermore, because June, a friend, has stolen the box, Claire loses her popularity and everything else she wished for. Claire recovers the box, but June is injured after falling down a staircase. Nevertheless, Claire’s sixth wish is that her mother never committed suicide. Claire’s mom knocks on her bedroom door along with two younger sisters. Claire later rummages through her mom’s paintings and sees a picture of the music box. She concludes that her mom was one of the previous owners of the music box and that it must have led to her original suicide.
When Claire realizes her dad pays the price for the sixth wish, Claire’s seventh wish is to go back to the day her father found the box, erasing all that has happened. This allows her to find the box before her dad does, she then asks Ryan to bury the box. Claire believes all is well, but she is killed when Darcie accidentally hits her with her car, in order to pay the final blood price. The music box can be heard after Claire’s death, indicating that the seventh wish to reverse time would be balanced by her own death and that the music box had indeed claimed her soul in the end.
In a mid-credits scene, Ryan prepares to bury the music box, but becomes intrigued by the inscription about the seven wishes and decides against burying the box, hence starting the vicious death cycle that Claire went through again.
Carrie Pilby is a 19-year-old child prodigy living alone in New York City. After attending Harvard University, she has spent the following years largely hiding in her apartment and visiting Dr. Petrov, a therapist and a close friend of her absent father. Dr. Petrov decides to write Carrie a to-do list of tasks in order for her to become more comfortable with social interaction. The list includes making a friend, getting a job, have a pet to take care of, and going on a date. As Carrie starts to fulfill the list, her views on sex, romance and the world begin to change her judgment on relationships and humanity.
An interviewer (Mary Steenburgen) questions Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford), the man who scientifically proved the existence of an afterlife, a discovery that has led to an extremely high suicide rate. The interviewer asks Harbor if he feels responsible, and he says no. Directly after, a member of the crew kills himself on air.
On the second anniversary of the discovery, Harbor’s son Will (Jason Segel) travels on a ferry where he meets Isla (Rooney Mara). They have a conversation and Will notes Isla looks very familiar. He says he is upset that people keep killing themselves, while Isla thinks it’s an easy way out. Will also shares a memory he had while being dead for a minute, where he saw a young boy at a beach.
Will is picked up by his brother Toby (Jesse Plemons), who drives him to an isolated mansion where their father has built up his new station. Will notes people working for him, and Toby says they all attempted suicide. They enter a room where Will meets Lacey (Riley Keough) and Cooper (Ron Canada), and sees his father tied up to a machine as they kill and revive him. Will blames him for the high suicide rate.
Later, Will sees Isla on the beach as she walks into the water with a backpack loaded down by a gym weight. He runs after, barely saving her. He brings her to the mansion, where she is taken in. At a later meeting with the occupants, Thomas reveals he invented a machine that can record what dead people see in the afterlife. They decide to test it using a dead person, so they steal the corpse of Pat Phillips (Paul Bellefeuille) from the morgue.
Will reveals to Isla that his mother killed herself when he was younger. The next day, they try to record the afterlife but nothing happens. After the failed attempt, Will enters the room alone and puts back a piece of wiring he took out of the machine, which then shows a sequence of Pat Phillips driving to a hospital, visiting someone and fighting with a woman there. Will finds the hospital from the recording online and visits it, but finds that the hallway from the video is gone after remodeling a decade prior.
Later, during a meeting, Thomas brings Lacey on stage and confronts her about telling other people in the mansion about the failed device and tells her to leave immediately. Will drives Isla to the hospital and shows her the recording and tells her that he thinks the device records memory rather than the afterlife. After breaking into the hospital, they find a file from Pat Phillips’ father, who died in the hospital.
Isla finds out that the man in the recording has a different tattoo from the one she saw on Pat earlier. Will drives her to the beach, where she reveals to him that she had a son and that he died while she was asleep. Later they seek out the woman from the video, revealed to be Pat’s sister Janice (M.J. Karmi). She tells them that Pat left her alone with their dying father and that he never visited him in the hospital.
Isla and Will grow closer together and share a kiss, which is interrupted by Toby. Together they rush to Thomas, who is hooked up on the machine and dead. They observe that he is seeing the night their mother killed herself, except that Thomas stops her. They are able to revive Thomas, who concludes that the afterlife is an alternate version of their existing life, only with different choices made. They agree to destroy the machine, as this revelation would provoke millions of suicides by people wanting to improve the lives they have. Thomas prepares to hold a speech, which is interrupted by Lacey shooting Isla, claiming she has just “relocated” her. Isla dies in Will’s arms.
Later, a devastated Will hooks himself up with the machine. He arrives back on the ferry, where he meets Isla again, who states that this is a memory. It is revealed that Will is living in a memory loop trying to prevent Isla’s death and that he restarts on the ferry every time. Isla says that he saved her and that they both will move on now. Although Toby and Thomas try to revive Will, he dies, promising Isla to remember her.
Will stands on the beach, where he sees a little boy and gets him out of the water. The little boy’s mother, Isla, arrives and thanks Will. They don’t recognize each other. After she leaves, he walks away, but starting to recall who Isla is, he slowly stops and looks back.
The plot is split into three “timelines”. The first two, “Rose” and “Joan”, intercut between each other throughout the bulk of the film, before a third timeline, “Kat”, is introduced and comprises the film’s climax.
In February, students at the prestigious Catholic Bramford Academy, a boarding school in upstate New York, are preparing to be picked up by their parents for a week-long break. Katherine “Kat” (Kiernan Shipka), a freshman, and Rose (Lucy Boynton), a senior student, are left behind. Rose suspects she may be pregnant so she lied to her parents about the vacation dates to bide time. Kat has a premonitory dream of her parents dying in a car crash, and is unable to get ahold of them. The girls are left alone in the academy overnight and Rose departs with her boyfriend to inform him of the pregnancy. Kat, meanwhile, receives a call. Hours later, Rose returns and finds Kat in the boiler room, repeatedly prostrating herself before the boiler. She presses for an explanation of the strange behavior, but Kat speaks cryptically and claims her parents are dead, disturbing Rose. After Rose leaves, Kat’s body starts convulsing and contorting in her bed.
The next morning, Rose and a sickly-looking Kat join the nuns for breakfast, where Kat behaves erratically, vomits, and curses at the nuns. After receiving an alarming phone call, the nuns order Rose to shovel the driveway for the abrupt return of the headmaster Gordon. Gordon arrives with a policeman; as they enter the nun’s cabin, a bloodstain is seen on the wall, and the men react with shock to something offscreen.
A young woman, Joan (Emma Roberts), arrives at a bus stop after escaping a mental institution. A friendly older man named Bill (James Remar) offers her a ride with him and his wife Linda (Lauren Holly) to Bramford, which is near the town where she claims to be headed. They stop at a motel and Joan showers, revealing a scar on her shoulder, and a flashback shows her being shot by a policeman. Bill tells Joan that he picked her up because she reminded him of his deceased daughter, revealed to be Rose – the next day will be the ninth anniversary of Rose’s death, on which her parents visit Bramford every year. Joan recognizes Rose and retreats to the bathroom, where she suppresses laughter. Joan is revealed to be a fake name; the real Joan was a woman she killed to steal her I.D.
During the days leading up to winter break, Kat is in contact with an entity depicted alternately as a horned shadow and a gravelly voice on the phone. This entity informs her of her parents’ impending death, and instructs her to kill everyone. After breakfast, the nuns receive a phone call informing them that Kat’s parents have died. After Rose is dismissed to shovel the driveway, Kat murders both nuns. She pursues Rose; shortly after Rose has her period, confirming she is not pregnant, Kat stabs her to death and beheads her. Gordon and the policeman find Kat prostrating in front of the boiler again, with the decapitated heads of her three victims next to her. She exclaims “Hail Satan!” before the policeman shoots her in the shoulder, revealing that “Joan” is Kat. Kat is detained in a mental hospital, where a priest performs an exorcism. The exorcism is seemingly successful, but Kat begs the demon not to leave her before it vanishes.
“Joan”, the Kat of nine years later, murders Bill and Linda when they pull over in Bramford. She beheads their corpses, and brings the heads to the boiler room of the academy, seemingly in an effort to summon the demon she lost years ago. However, she finds the boiler cold and unused. Now completely alone, she leaves the academy and breaks down crying in the middle of the road.
Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh) is director of the Warsaw Zoo, one of the largest in 1930s Europe, assisted by his wife, Antonina (Jessica Chastain).
On 1 September 1939, the aerial bombardment of Warsaw and Invasion of Poland commences. Antonina and her son Ryszard (Timothy Radford and later, Val Maloku) barely survive. As Polish resistance collapses, Dr. Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl), head of the Berlin Zoo and Adolf Hitler’s chief zoologist and Jan’s professional rival, visits the zoo while Jan is away; Heck is now Hitler’s chief zoologist and chief of the Warsaw Zoo. He offers to house their prized animals in Berlin, until after the war. Later, he returns with Nazi soldiers to shoot the other animals, an act that reveals his hidden brutality. He develops an infatuation for Antonina.
The Jews of Warsaw are forced into the Ghetto. The Żabińskis’ Jewish friends, Maurycy Fraenkel (Iddo Goldberg) and his partner Magda Gross (Efrat Dor), seek a safe place for a friend’s insect collection. Antonina then offers to shelter Magda. Despite knowing they can be executed for helping Jews, Jan and Antonina decide to use the zoo to hide others and save more lives.
They seek out Lutz Heck to propose turning the abandoned zoo into a pig farm, to feed the occupying forces, secretly hoping to bring food into the Ghetto. Heck, in need of a new site for his experiments in recreating aurochs as a symbol of the Reich, agrees.
When Jan collects garbage inside the Ghetto, he sees how Jews are starving. He uses his trucks, secretly, to bring them to the zoo, working with the Underground Army to transport them to safehouses throughout the country. Jews are hidden in the zoo’s cages, tunnels, and inside the Żabińskis’ house. When Antonina plays the piano late at night, it means it is safe to come out of hiding. But if it is played in the daytime, they must hide. Jan also rescues a young girl, Urszula, who was raped by German soldiers. Antonina takes a particular interest in Urszula, treating her the same way she would treat a frightened animal, until Urszula emerges from her terror to join other “guests” in the Zabinskis’ home.
In 1942, Germans begin deporting Jews to death camps. At a loading station, Jan tries to convince Janusz Korczak, head of the Jewish children’s orphanage, to escape with him, but Korczak won’t leave the children. Jan has no choice but to help load children into cattle cars bound for death camps. He becomes aware of Heck’s obvious feelings for his wife, and a rift begins to form between the couple.
In 1943, two women rescued by Jan and disguised as Aryans by Antonina are discovered and executed outside their boarding house. Several months later, after the failed uprising, Germans liquidate the Ghetto on Hitler’s birthday, also the first night of Passover. While hidden Jews mournfully celebrate a secret Passover Seder, the Germans burn down the Ghetto, killing everyone inside.
Jan decides to join the Warsaw uprising, and in a reconciliation, the couple make love before he leaves. Antonina later gives birth to a baby girl, whom Ryszard names Teresa. During the uprising, Jan is shot and captured, presumed dead. As Heck’s attraction to Antonina intensifies, she struggles to fend him off while guarding the secret “guests.” Heck visits the house unexpectedly and finds Ryszard there. He questions the boy about his parents’ whereabouts, but is unable to get any information. In growing suspicion and rage, Heck pins the Nazi cross onto the boy’s shirt, goading him to say “Heil Hitler.” As Heck leaves he hears Ryszard cry out “Hitler is kaput!”
In January 1945, as Soviet troops force the Germans to retreat, the enemy begins evacuating Warsaw. Desperate to know Jan’s fate, Antonina seeks Heck’s help. When he asks what he can expect in return, she begins to undress, though it’s obvious she can’t bear him. Becoming increasingly sure of her deceit, Heck attacks her in attempted rape. She finally confesses that he disgusts her, and Heck begins to realize how far her deceit has gone. As he calls for his car to return to the zoo, Antonina races home and quickly helps her guests escape, just as Heck arrives. Magda takes baby Teresa with her, but Ryszard insists on staying; Antonina hides him in the basement.
Heck enters the house in fury and discovers the secret drawings on the basement walls: Stars of David, dates, and guests drawn with animal faces. He hears a noise and sees Ryszard in hiding. Heck chases Ryszard through the animal tunnels, catching him at gunpoint. Heck locks Antonina in a cage, ignoring her pleas as he drags the boy out of eyesight. A shot rings out and Antonina collapses in wailing grief. A moment later, Heck walks back to his car and Ryszard returns to her side, unharmed. Heck leaves the zoo for good.
Antonina and Ryszard join the march out of Warsaw, bringing a rabbit and one of Heck’s young bison. They release the bison in the woods.
Four months after the Nazi surrender, Warsaw begins rebuilding. Antonina, Ryszard, and baby Teresa return to find the damaged zoo still standing, along with Jerzyk, their loyal zookeeper. Much to everyone’s shock, Jan returns home, having survived a prison camp.
In the film’s final moments, the Żabińskis paint Stars of David on all the cages in the zoo.
A postscript reveals that the Żabińskis saved 300 Jews. Lutz Heck returned to Berlin, where his zoo was destroyed by Allied bombings. His efforts to recreate aurochs failed. The Żabińskis were recognized by Israel (Yad Vashem) for their righteous acts and defiance against the Germans.The Żabińskis rebuilt the Warsaw Zoo. It remains open to this day.