At the end of Gattaca, before Vincent heads to his flight, Jerome shows him a whole lot of samples and says that he's going on a "journey" himself. He gives Vincent an envelope not to open before he's up in space. When Vincent then finally starts his journey to Titan, Jerome puts on his silver medal and then commits suicide in the incinerator. And when Vincent opens the envelope he finds a tuft of hair, most probably Jerome's.

But I wonder what Jerome wanted to say with this envelope. Was this his way of telling Vincent that he commited suicide? If yes, then how is this to be deduced from a tuft of his hair? If not, what other message did he want to convey this way?

8 Answers 8


A lock of hair is traditionally a token of remembrance, but throughout the movie, Jerome was giving his hair to Vincent purely for practical purposes. At the end, the hair was finally and purely given for its sentimental value. This symbolically fixed one of the broken things in the movie's dystopia.


Because real Jerome could never travel to Titan, by saying "I'm traveling too" I think it's obvious that by giving him his hair he, real Jerome, gets to travel to Titan as well. If you remember, he was curious "what is Titan like" and knowing he wold never make it there himself, by having his hair with Vincent, he vicariously gets to go to Titan, as well. Just my view.


It's been a while since I saw the movie, but apart from the sentimental interpretations in the other answers, I always considered the purpose of the hair to be more practical.

Throughout the movie Jerome allows Vincent to assume his identity by various means. This allows Vincent to fulfill his dream and Jerome to have some kind of fulfillment in his life as well. Jerome decides to end his life on this high note, but he does not want to end the dream of Vincent with it. So, he leaves him some more hair, so he can continue assuming Jerome's identity even when Jerome is no longer to support him directly anymore.

In a way Jerome is giving Vincent his blessing and the most precious farewell gift he has to offer: his identity. Note that Jerome has burned his remains, so Vincent will be able to return and live as Jerome.


The film's screenplay explicitly states that Jerome placed the lock of hair into the envelope for 'sentimental' reasons.

Jerome's eyes blink open. He holds the letter from Eugene his hand. It contains no words, merely a lock of EUGENE'S hair - for once preserved solely for its sentimental value.

The hair, weightless, floats off the page.

Per wikipedia, a lock of hair is a symbolic way of showing that Eugene remains with him in spirit, if not in actuality.

Historically, giving a lock of one's hair to someone has been considered a sign of love and devotion, especially before an impending parting.

  • 1
    Identical to the accepted answer, different words. Your 1st paragraph states the same: "At the end, the hair was finally and purely given for its sentimental value." (widely known). And the second is around the same Idea: "A lock of hair is traditionally a token of remembrance.".
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jan 21 at 17:43
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    @OldPadawan - Sure, but mine actually has proof rather than merely asserting that's what it means.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 21 at 21:48

Vincent has a knowing look after he opens the envelope with the lock of hair. I think Vincent knows that Eugene plans on suicide. First you have to find the links between the characters. Both Vincent and Eugene were not valued. Eugene isn't valued anymore because he is just "good genes" and achieved less than his potential. This is suggested by his name change from Jerome to Eugene. Eugene kills himself because he doesn't feel he has anything to offer. Vincent remembers Eugene saying "I'll be traveling too" and recognizes that Eugene has essentially linked himself with the better man. Eugene isn't necessary because he recognizes that Vincent with his dream and value in determination is better than all of his own genetics and value in potential. It was his way of saying I'm with you in spirit and ideology.

  • Eugene isn't necessary - To be fair, Eugene was, in fact, necessary for Vincent's survival at his job. He left Vincent a lot of his body matter - but, unless Vincent plans on retiring very soon after returning, in a couple of decades he'll have a heck of a time explaining why a middle-aged man has a 20-year-old's DNA.
    – Misha R
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 20:43

The ending where Jerome/Eugene gives Vincent an envelope with his (Eugene’s) hair to open only when he is in space (“upstairs”), can be understood in the context of other events at the end of the movie.


  • Eugene says he is going on a Journey too
  • Eugene gives vincent “two lifetimes” worth of supplies, so that Vincent wont need him anymore.

The locket of hair that is given to vincent is obviously the part of Eugene that is going on journey too. Vincent will be aware of this.

Given this and everything else Vincent knows about Eugene, Vincent was most likely aware that Eugene had killed himself upon opening it.


Another option is that the lock of hair is from Vincent original, and was given to Jerome when they replaced identities. Vincent was trying to look (and be) Jerome but Jerome also needed to apper to be Vincent if the accation apper itself.

Jerome returning the lock of hair to Vincent is like saying - it's really you that sould be up there - you are the better man. And it's a farewell as well - for he won't be needing it any more.

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    The hair in the envelope is dark brown. Jerome's hair is sandy brown. Vincent dyed his hair to match Jerome's. Vincent's original hair is reddish brown. It's a bit ambiguous either way to be honest. I lean towards it being Jerome's hair, though. If it's Jerome's hair, it implies that Jerome has vicariously 'traveled with him' (he implied he would travel also). If it's Vincent's hair, it implies that Vincent should remember who he is.
    – VoteCoffee
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 1:37

Basically I think Eugene thinks he hasn’t had anything else to offer. When he gave Vincent his hair it’s like he was traveling too. But also pay attention to why Eugene is actually in the wheel chair. It was never an accident. He says he tried to jump in front of the car. But Vincent thinks that he’s just drunk. However this could be his second attempt at suicide. Before even when he had his genes and his legs he wasn’t happy. Showing that each character intertwined. Eugene wanted a normal life where he wasn’t expected to be perfect because of how he was born. But Vincent wanted to be recognized because he was perfect. He wanted a goal that couldn’t be reached with his genes.

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