I just watched Detachment (2011) and I wondered what was the result of Erica's HIV test (one could optimistically guess that it was negative, by the ending). I don't recall any moment in the movie where it was said explicitly. It is unlikely, but I could have missed it, though. Is there any concrete info on that?

1 Answer 1


No, this is not resolved:

One of the closing sequences, where Barthes visits Erica as a foster care facility may seem outwardly optimistic. The two are smiling, the facility looks welcoming and the sun is out, but the scene is also preceded by phone call from a clinic telling Barthes that Erica’s HIV test results are in. It is an ominous voice, not optimistic. The results are not articulated and at the end of the film we are not told the answer to this question, but we see there is pain present in Barthes’ face as he approaches Erica. He may or may not know the results, but whatever the results might be, moving forward will not be easy. It is a parallel with the education system. The final scene is Barthes reading from ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ by Edgar Allen Poe, and we get the sense that the education system, like the House of Usher, is a dilapidated ruin, at least for the people who the system fails.

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