God’s Crooked Lines: Explained (Ending: Was Alice Insane?)

God’s Crooked Lines (Los renglones torcidos de Dios) is a 2022 Spanish psychological crime drama directed by Oriol Paulo. The movie is based on the novel Torcuato Luca de Tena, and the film alters the execution of the plot a little. It’s an intriguing piece of cinema, and Oriol Paulo is excellent with his narrative; he loves to keep the audience guessing, so do give it a watch. Here’s the plot and ending of the movie God’s Crooked Lines explained and compared to the book; spoilers ahead.

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Contents

Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

God’s Crooked Lines: Book Ending Explained

While the book’s story doesn’t decide the movie’s plot, it’s good to have some context. This book makes it very clear that Alice is indeed schizophrenic and imagines Dr Donadío to be Del Olmo. She does try to kill her husband by poisoning him. When she realizes she’s going to be committed to a mental institution, she comes up with a narrative of investigating the hospital for the death of Del Olmo’s son. 

That said, the husband is also an unfaithful gold digger and claws on Alice’s wealth and runs away. The committee finds Alice to be mentally ill but also assesses her to be able to go back out and live a regular life now that her husband is gone. But Alice finally acknowledges that she needs medical help and chooses to get it.

With that out the way, let’s go through the plot of the movie God’s Crooked Lines.

God’s Crooked Lines: Movie Plot Explained

God’s Crooked Lines Spoiler

One of the critical, confusing elements in God’s Crooked Lines is that the event with the patients out in the rain and the fire is not something from one year in the past. It is simply beautiful non-linear narration. The rain and fire event is the present, everything else (other than the final committee hearing is a flashback). It was done this way to make the viewers believe that a year ago, there was a murder. But in reality, the murder happens in the present.

Let’s go over the story in linear order and try and use the elements in the film God’s Crooked Lines to reach a definitive conclusion.

Who is Damian? 

Damian is the son of a man named Raimundo García Del Olmo, who was committed to the mental institution a year ago. We are not told why he was sent there or what his illness was.

God’s Crooked Lines: Who killed Damian?

The death of Damian was claimed to be suicide. But considering we have seen the institution covering up deaths as accidents, it is very possible there was some foul play. That said, as mysterious as Damian’s death may have been, it doesn’t play a role in the lives of the main characters in God’s Crooked Lines. We’ll talk more when we cover Raimundo García Del Olmo.

Did Alice actually poison her husband, Heliodoro?

Yes, Alice appears to have poisoned Heliodoro multiple times, and this is not made up. Heliodoro is revealed to be a gold digger in the end and always fancied Alicia’s money and not her. He is a man who indulged in gambling and polo. We’ll circle back to the poisoning later in the article.

God’s Crooked Lines: Who is Dr Donadio? Is he trying to frame Alice?

No, Donadio is not trying to frame Alice. He is the family doctor and is doing what is best for her, or at least believes so. He probably doesn’t realize Heliodoro is a jerk who’s after Alice’s money. It’s important to note that the letter calling Alice ‘highly intelligent and dangerous’ was typed and signed by her and not Dr Donadio. We’ll get back to Dr Donadio a little later in the article too.

Who is Dr Samuel Alvar? Is he working with Heliodoro?

God's Crooked Lines: Is Alvar Working With Heliodoro?

Yes, it appears that Alvar is in cahoots with Heliodoro and is happy to keep her in the institution indefinitely. Considering the ‘by-the-books’ kind of person Alvar claims to be, it is very out of character for him to receive money from his patient’s husband as a donation, that too four times her fee amount. We’ll put this all in perspective in this article soon.

God’s Crooked Lines: Was she crazy? Was Alice insane? Was Alice Mentally ill?

While it is true her husband was a no-good gold digger, Alice is also spinning up false narratives as she goes along. The biggest clue comes from the fact that she goes into a fearful panic mode when she sees Dr Donadio enter in the final scene, the man she has assumed to be Del Olmo. It’s arguable that Alice is either cooking up a new narrative or that Dr Donadio is also in on the scam. We’ll talk about this in a short bit.

God's Crooked Lines: Handwriting in the two letters

Also, look at these two letters above – the one Alice faked as if from Dr Donadio and the other she claims Del Olmo handed to her. Observe the alphabet A. Two personas of Alice have written each of these letters. Alice states that the letter to Del Olmo was written by someone with hebephrenic schizophrenia, but it appears to be an altered version of her own handwriting.

Why does Alice create a false narrative about Del Olmo?

Who is Dr Donadio Del Olmo?

Alice’s ‘private investigator’ mind protects her – she spins up a well-thought narrative which depicts that she is mentally well. When she lashes out at her husband when she finds out he is no good, her actions (possibly poisoning) lead her to think she will be institutionalized.

So the first time, Alice spins up the story of Del Olmo asking her for help investigating his sons ‘mysterious suicide’ based on the news on TV. She believes this so much that she starts seeing Dr Donadio as Del Olmo. She’s never actually met the real Del Olmo, and has only seen him on TV and in the newspaper. 

When she meets the real Del Olmo, her story falls apart, and she comes up with a new narrative of her being scammed.

Also note how Alice can subliminally exert force on people. She convinces Montserrat to allow her to take a book with her even though it is against the rules. From this, Alice knows that she can get Montserrat to bend other rules when the time is right. With Dr Arellano she uses her charm and thereby winning his trust; he gets himself new spectacles because she advised so. 

God’s Crooked Lines: Who is Raimundo García Del Olmo?

Del Olmo is a random man who once lost his son to an alleged suicide at the same mental institution Alice is in. We see this real Del Olmo in the institution, and Alice can’t recognize him. The real Del Olmo has never met Alice or suspected foul play of his son’s death and asked her to investigate. For all practical purposes, he’s just some guy. But his character is key as Alice spins that into her false narrative. The person who the audience has been seeing as Del Olmo is Dr Donadio.

So let’s then address the big question…

God’s Crooked Lines: What Really Happened?

God's Crooked Lines: What Really Happened?

Well, it appears to be one of two things now: Alice is insane, and Alvar is correct, or she’s a regular individual, and the doctors and her husband have entrapped her. The answer is both and here’s why. 

So, let’s assume one of the options and see if everything else falls into place.

Let’s say Heliodoro, Alvar and Donadio are all in cahoots. Donadio impersonates Del Olmo, pleads to Alice’s motherly side, and gets her to investigate the institution. Del Olmo (Donadio) tells her that Alvar is the inside man. Heliodoro bribes both Donadio and Alvar. Once she’s in, Alvar is ready to make her look as crazy as possible and take her to the point of lobotomy if required.

But Dr Donadio is a family doctor. Alice knows him, fakes a letter from him, and carries it with her to the mental institution. It does not make sense that Dr Donadio, of all people, impersonated Del Olmo and requested her to investigate. In that final scene, it was a shock for Alice to see the man she thought was Del Olmo was indeed Dr Donadio, whose identity the doctors could verify.

This tells us that Alice’s mind saw Dr Donadio as Del Olmo, confirming her mental illness. And given Dr Donadio didn’t impersonate Del Olmo, he doesn’t appear to be one of the scammers trying to steal Alice’s money.

Probably, the way it happened was that soon after the poisonings, Dr Donadio started experiencing Alice referring to him as Del Olmo, confirming to him that she needed medical help. Alice’s fear of being institutionalized is the very thing that gets her committed to the mental institute, but according to Alice, she’s not going in as a patient. Dr Donadio is the one who drops Alice off at the institution in the opening scene. When Dr Donadio asks her, “Are you sure you’re all right without me?” she says, “Yes. Someone might recognize you”. At this moment, Dr Donadio knows Alice believes he is Del Olmo, and you can see an expression on him that aligns with sympathy rather than malice.

Now this leaves us with Heliodoro and Alvar. We know for a fact that Heliodoro has emptied all of Alice’s bank accounts, as one of the doctors confirms this. And Dr Montserrat finds evidence that Alvar got paid four times the fees by Heliodoro, which Alvar claims was a donation. If it was a donation and Alvar was clean, he would have asked Heliodoro to pay the institution directly.

God’s Crooked Lines: Ending Explained

God's Crooked Lines Ending

The ending of the movie God’s Crooked Lines shows us that Alice realizes she projected Dr Donadio to be Del Olmo and is now desperately looking for an alternate narrative to make her look sane again.

The summary of the scam:

  • Dr Donadio was not part of the scam. He believed Alice needed to be institutionalized.
  • Alice needed help and was beginning to project false narratives and attempted to kill her husband.
  • Heliodoro utilizes the opportunity to empty Alice’s bank accounts after she is admitted.
  • Alvar was part of the scam and was paid by Heliodoro to ensure Alice wouldn’t get released.

Why did Alvar wait till the committee threw him out to introduce Dr Donadio?

At this point, Dr Alvar was not interested in keeping Alice institutionalized. It was his personal reputation at stake, and he knew he had lost the trust of his colleagues and didn’t want to take any further chances. Dr Montse and the committee was going to ruin his reputation with a letter to the city council to have him removed. He bargains with them, saying he’ll refrain from voting, and in exchange, they accept a resignation letter from him and destroy the one asking for his expulsion.

God’s Crooked Lines: Linear summary of what transpired

Alice couldn’t bear that Heliodoro only wanted her money and tried to poison him.

Dr Donadio treats Heliodoro and confirms the poison but also saw Alice spinning false narratives, confusing him for Del Olmo as a coping mechanism.

Alice creates a fake letter from Dr Donadio and her knowing the contents proves that it was a phoney document giving her the edge.

Instead of going to the cops, Dr Donadio takes her to the institution to get help. He goes on holiday.

Heliodoro pays Alvar to ensure Alice is destroyed; he leaves with all her money.

At the institution, Alice states her narrative of investigating the death of Del Olmo’s son and that her relationship with her husband is good.

Alvar plays his part to provoke her and make her look very violent.

Alice is brilliant and convinces the rest of the doctors that she’s not a crazy person.

The real Del Olmo shows up, who Alice can’t recognize, and the doctors lose faith in her side of the story. But they find Alvar’s electric shock therapy a bit too much and check up on her again.

Alice spins a new narrative that her husband got a random person to play Del Olmo to make her look crazy.

The doctors find proof that Heliodoro has run away with all of Alice’s money and that Alvar has taken a bribe.

Alice plans her escape with the help of the hydrophobia patient, impersonates the coroner, and solves the mystery of the murder because she is, after all, a private investigator. All the doctors, other than Alvar, take her side and decide to evict Alvar.

Alvar connects with Dr Donadio, who is happy to come and clarify that Alice is mentally unwell.

Alvar’s reputation is at risk, so he offers to step down as long as they accept his resignation and withdraw his eviction request.

To prove that he was not entirely making it up, Alvar gets Dr Donadio to make an entrance at the meeting, in the end, to prove to the committee that she is mentally ill after all.

Other Frequently Asked Questions Answered

God's Crooked Lines: Who is the killer?

Who killed Gnome and why?

Rómulo (the twin who talks) killed Gnome as he saw him sexually assaulting Alice, who had been knocked unconscious. For some reason, Rómulo considers Alice to be his mother. He has always hated Gnome and the Elephant Man as they target Nina, who Rómulo continuously protects. When Gnome attacks Alice, he strikes him dead and leaves the scene.

Who is the killer? Who killed one of the twins? 

The Elephant Man sees Rómulo killing Gnome. While we don’t know why he doesn’t attack him immediately, the Elephant Man seeks revenge. In all the commotion caused by Alice, he finds the opportunity to trap and kill who he believes to be Rómulo.

Who died – Rómulo or Remo? How did Alice know it was Rómulo who survived?

The Elephant man thinks he’s killing Rómulo but ends up killing Remo, the mute twin. Alice finds this out because Remo’s hands show no sign of a counterattack. We only see Rómulo standing up to the Elephant Man, while Remo is just a scared, quiet individual. Had Rómulo been the one to have died, his fingers would have been hurt from struggling. When they check the cuts on the Elephant Man’s hands, it correlates with Alice’s theory of the murderer.

God’s Crooked Lines: Meaning 

Alvar explains that all the people in his institution are God’s mistakes when he was learning to write. Alvar also claims that they have been sent to him, and it is not God but he who has plans for them. I believe the award for ‘the man with a ton of god complex’ unarguably goes to Alvar. It is not a far stretch to believe he is crooked.

And that’s it folks. What did you think about the plot and ending of God’s Crooked Lines? Do leave your comments in the section below.

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