People spend so much time analyzing films these days. It is easy to think that we know it all. In our minds, if ever we do miss something, we expect that someone somewhere will point it out to us. But with so much information flying around and so many incredible movies out there, we're all bound to miss stuff. In some cases, the stuff we're missing in films is incredibly important. Call them plot points or full plot lines, the things on this list were large pieces of famous films that the average fans missed. Sure, the movie still made sense without these gems, but everything on this list adds an extra element to the film. Since most of the films on this list were great, these hidden plot lines just add to already outstanding stories.
So, why are these hidden? What effect do they have if no one spots them? Well, some of these were not meant to be hidden. In some cases, they were just meant to be subtle. In other cases, there were deleted scenes which would have made these plot lines more obvious. For the most part, however, these hidden plot points just help round out the film. They may develop one line of thinking or may just complement or mirror the main plot. In any case, these are plot undercurrents that help showcase the talents of these filmmakers and writers. Here are 15 Hidden Plot Lines You Missed in Major Films.
15 The Monolith In 2001: A Space Odyssey
By now, most people either understand the brilliance that is 2001: A Space Odyssey or, at the very least, they accept it. It is known. What is not known, however, is what the hell is going on half the time. Most people have come to think that the Monolith, the large black rectangle that shows up in random places, was an evolutionary tool. In the novel, it was that in a roundabout kind of way. It was a tool that tested species to learn if they were worthy of help. If they were, it would help. Whenever the apes, or people, or single man, come in contact with it, there is a musical piece that plays loudly, Gyorgy Ligeti's "Atmospheres." We can imagine this as the testing period. It's important to know that Stanley Kubrick was adamant of three things when it came to playing the film. One, it had to be started in complete darkness. Two, it had to be played in widescreen format. And three, the theater could not give it an additional intermission. After all, one was built-in. Now, for the most amazing part. The dimensions of the Monolith were exactly that of a widescreen film display. In the beginning of the film and during the intermission, we see only blackness, and we hear Ligetti's "Atmospheres." In these moments, we, the audience, are staring directly at the monolith. We are being tested to see if we are worthy.
14 Sullivan In The Departed
While we admit that this is more of a theory than a for-sure hidden plot line, it definitely makes sense. Sullivan (Matt Damon) is in the police force and is a gangster. He's also an overly homophobic man in his speech and professions. But, he seems to be a closeted gay man as well. Sullivan openly hits on women when in the presence of other men, even dating the psychiatrist who works in his building to keep the ruse going. He exaggerates his s*x life to Ellerby (Alex Baldwin), who says marriage is important because it "lets people know you're not a homo." In reality, Sullivan suffers from erectile dysfunction. Later, when his wife gets pregnant, Sullivan is surprised, hinting at the fact that they probably don't sleep together often. It's not for sure, but it's completely believable.
13 Sabotage In The Prestige
The Prestige follows the competition between two magicians. Each one tries to outdo the other with new and improved tricks. The battle between them results in sabotage and obsession. Throughout the film, there are mixed in shots of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla as well. Astute viewers connect the two scientists and inventors with the magicians as all four are competing creators, but most miss out on an important, albeit subtle, plot line. Tesla and Edison were also saboteurs. In one scene, we see a man in the crowd at the Tesla demonstration declare that the show was unsafe and encourages everyone to leave. Later on, we see that same man with Edison, clearly in his employ. Historically, these two were known to mess with each other and attempt to devalue the other's work, so this story works well.
12 Liberal Racism In Get Out
While Liberal racism might be the "point" of Jordan Peele's Get Out rather than a plot line per se, it is something that many viewers have missed. The antagonists in this film aren't a group of people who hate black people. They aren't lying about their love for black culture. They do love it; at least they think they do. They just don't understand blackness. They see it on Tiger Woods and Barack Obama, and they feel as if they understand it. Early in the film, we see Chris having an emotional reaction to a dead deer, while Rose is unaffected by it. This is mirrored in the way that she and her family are unaffected by the violence against black people. Perhaps, the most central commentary in the film is that liberal racism is born from a feeling that we as a society are beyond racism. The white liberals in this film feel they are part of a post-racism world because they respect and even desire aspects of blackness, without taking or even understanding the whole package. They've effectively commodified blackness in a different way that their ancestors might have. It's an interesting look at the evolution of cultural appropriation.
11 Main Plot Hidden In Shaun Of The Dead
Admittedly, this one has gotten quite a bit of play in the last few years, but it's so damn interesting that we had to include it. It comes from the very beginning of Shaun of the Dead. Shaun has just been dumped, and Ed is discussing how they're going to get over it. He says, "We'll have a Bloody Mary first thing, have a bite at the King's Head, a couple at the Little Princess, stagger back here and bang, back here for shots at the bar." Amazingly, this is a succinct summary of the plot of the film. Let's trace it through. Mary is the name of the bloody zombie girl in the backyard, the first one they encounter. After that, Philip is bitten, the man who is acting as Shaun's father, or "the king." "A couple at the Little Princess" refers to Shaun's girlfriend and the two friends she's with that they rescue. After that, the whole group pretends they're zombies and "stagger back" to the Winchester. Finally, the "bang" and "shots" refers to the epic shootout in the Winchester at the climax of the film. Not a bad summary in the end.
10 Batman And Joker
Longtime fans of Batman–especially those fans of Batman: The Killing Joke–are well-versed in the similarities between Batman and the Joker. Much of this was lost on fans of the films, however, particularly in The Dark Knight. The Joker and Batman are meant to be mirror images of each other. Both were born from tragedy and both feed off insanity. This wasn't lost on Christopher Nolan. Nearly every scene in the film has a mirror image—one side, the Joker, and the other side, Batman. Take the multiple decoy Batmen and the multiple clowns in the beginning, for example. Although Batman's doubles were not of his making or choosing, it doesn't make the sacrificial outcome any different. Or look at the moment they arrive at the Harvey Dent fundraiser. Every action Bruce Wayne takes, the Joker does too—they both make a grand entrance with an entourage, both look for Harvey Dent, both are distracted by Rachel Dawes, and both apparently hate champagne.
9 The Lord Of The Rings And The Barrow Blades
There's an interesting element of The Lord of the Rings that was lost on moviegoers. Now, there is an argument to be made that this entire concept was eliminated from the movies, but we will argue that that may not necessarily be true. When Aragorn takes the hobbits to Weathertop, he leaves and comes back with swords for them. Now, book fans will recognize these as the barrow blades that Tom Bombadil takes from the Barrow-downs in the books. We also learn from the books that these blades were forged to fight the evil forces of Angmar long ago. Now, in the film, Weathertop works as a stand-in for the Barrow-downs, which were eliminated in the movies, because they're both part of the same ancient territory. Although it's not explicitly stated in the film, the only reason why the Witch-king of Angmar is able to be killed in the end is not because Eowyn is a woman and therefore "no man." It's because it was stabbed with an enchanted blade, Merry's enchanted barrow blade. But wait, in the film, Merry stabs the Witch-king with a blade given to him by Theoden (he already lost his barrow blade in the movie), so how does it die? Well, there are three possibilities. One, the film versions ignored the books and allowed the Witch-king to be killed by a woman. Two, since Merry is a hobbit and not a man, he was able to pierce and technically kill the Witch-king and Eowyn simply finished it off. Or three, at Weathertop, earlier in the film, when Sam attacks the Witch-king, he appears to be thwarted easily and pushed aside. But what if one of his several strikes cut the Witch-king? He was using a Barrow blade in that fight. What if that small strike made the Witch-King vulnerable to all other strikes? That's how both Merry and Eowyn pierced it with a normal blade.
8 The Lesson In Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Perhaps because the movie seemed to go off in another direction altogether or because people just stopped paying attention, something was lost on audiences of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. There's an important lesson in the film. One of the reasons that many of us believe that Ferris is a spoiled rotten brat is because he justifies many of his actions with the fact that his parents won't get him a car. He whines about it a few times, but most of us probably just ignore him. Later in the film, after Ferris has caused a great deal of trouble, we see his mom and sister driving home. His mom complains that because of Ferris' shenanigans, a deal of hers was messed up at work. The money from this deal was going to pay for Ferris' new car. That's right. He was going to get that car if he wasn't such a jerk.
7 Helpful Hannibal In Silence Of The Lambs
It's painfully obvious that Hannibal Lecter wants to help Clarice in Silence of the Lambs, but he's a man who likes games, especially ones that highlight intelligence, both in himself and others. Clarice prods him for help throughout the film, and he dishes her plenty of information. But there are several hints he gives that she never picks up on. These hints, which lie hidden to most people, start from early on too, before we even accept that Lecter is helpful. In the very first meeting between Lecter and Clarice, Lecter describes his drawing as "the Duomo, seen from the Belvedere." It is not until much later on that we learn Buffalo Bill lives in Belvedere, Ohio. He also says, "First principles, Clarice: simplicity, Read Marcus Aurelius, 'Of each particular thing, ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature?' What does he do, this man you seek?" Later, Clarice pinpoints this discussion and some of the discussion that comes after and realizes that Bill knew his victims. But, that's not what Lecter was trying to get her to guess. Bill's killing was only incidental. He truly only wanted the women's skin so he could transform. Hannibal was trying to get her to guess at this. He says "simplicity" because Simplicity is a famous sewing company. It isn't until Clarice sees diamond-patterned cutouts on fabric much later on that she realizes Bill was making a skin suit.
6 Batman In Watchmen
Maybe calling this a plot line is a bit of a stretch, but it's an interesting and fun explanation as to why Batman doesn't exist in the Watchmen universe. In the opening credits of the film, we see a shot of the original Nite Owl saving Thomas and Martha Wayne. You will recall that Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered, and their deaths are what inspired him to fight crime vigilante style. If they don't die, Batman doesn't exist. We know this is them because of several identifying features—they're coming out of the Gotham Opera House, Alfred is there, Martha's wearing pearls, and there is a Die Fledermaus poster (The Bat).
5 The Butler In The Sound Of Music
If you've ever watched The Sound of Music play version or anything like that, you would probably know all about this. But the film version plays it pretty low key. We're talking about the fact that Franz, the Butler, is the one who rats the family out to the Nazis and not Rolfe. Since Rolfe joins the Nazis, we automatically assume that it's him who's the culprit, but this isn't the case. Just look at the way Franz watches the family flee from the window. If that look doesn't tell you he's a narc, then nothing will.
4 The Real Villain In Jurassic Park
Even though the film version of John Hammond was much less villainous than the book version, this is still the man responsible for the carnage in Jurassic Park. In the book, we see many more examples of Hammond's lack of care for others, but the film still has some important and indicative moments. Throughout the film, Hammond says on five separate occasions, "spared no expense," in reference to the park and its equipment. Yet, we know that this isn't true. There are expenses spared. Again, this is explained in much greater detail in the book, but the film still has it. Dennis Nedry, the computer guy, brings money issues up with Hammond. He says that his program allows for operation "with minimal staff." He even boasts that what he bid for the job was cheaper than anyone else ever could or would do. It's at this point that Hammond states that he won't be "dragged into another financial debate" and that "your financial problems…are your problems." We see now that this is an ongoing concern. Later, when Nedry meets Dodgson to set up the deal for the theft of the embryos, a bill comes for the meal. Nedry looks at the bill and then at Dodgson and says, "Don't get cheap on me Dodgson. That was Hammond's mistake." Obviously, some expenses were spared.
3 The Car In Memento
Remember Leonard's Jaguar from Memento? It wouldn't be all that crazy if you didn't. But watch the film again; the car has an enormous role to play. Teddy, the guy "helping" Leonard, is constantly talking about the car. He compliments it. He tries to switch cars with Leonard. He tries to trick Leonard into giving him the vehicle. We think, if anything, that it's because it's a nice car and Teddy is trying to take advantage of Leonard's condition. But, by the end of the film, we learn something that makes total sense; although they never address it specifically and can be totally overlooked. The car is full of money. Since Teddy was there and he heard the original owner of the car say this (he also saw the money in the trunk), he tries to get his hands on it.
2 David's Turn In Prometheus
When we watch Alien: Covenant, we see that David (Michael Fassbender) is a bit of a jerk. He clearly has it in for humanity and doesn't want anyone to live. We may think that this has to do with getting answers about the engineers and the alien lifeforms, but there is more to it than that. We know this because we know that David hates humanity. We know he hates humanity because he should hate humanity for how he's been treated. We see him watch Lawrence of Arabia over and over again. He watches the scene in which Lawrence puts the match out with his fingers. He shows no pain while doing so. When William tries, it hurts him, so he asks what the trick is. Lawrence replies, "The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts." We assume that David is watching the film to learn human nature and other subtleties, but later, we learn that David does have feelings. He watches this scene over and over again because, for him too, the trick is not minding that it hurts or hiding that it hurts. Obviously, in the end, David starts minding and exacts some revenge.
1 The Whole Plot In Adaptation
Like some of the other entries on this list, this one focuses on the entire plot being missed or misunderstood as opposed to one smaller plot line. So, Adaptation is about two brothers. One, Charlie, is charged with adapting a book, The Orchid Thief, into a movie script. Charlie is a proud writer who works hard at his craft. He struggles to find a way to turn this book into a movie, largely because he rejects any easy or formulaic methods. The other brother, Donald, is a less serious writer who just sold a silly thriller for hundreds of thousands of dollars. There's great jealousy there. While the story of these brothers is going on, we see the evolving script for The Orchid Thief play out in front of our eyes as well. The first half of this script plays out in a rather straightforward fashion—Charlie's way. However, when Charlie gets a serious case of writer's block, he invites his brother to help him out. This is when the story changes. This is also the point that many people overlook. All the craziness that comes in the third act of The Orchid Thief is not the result of a faithful Charlie-like adaptation of the book. It's a result of Donald's writing. It's silly and over-the-top, but it works in the end. The film is a commentary on screenwriting and how the industry works.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Reddit; Screen Rant