You just watched The Lost Patient and you have already made up your mind about who the killer is? Not so fast, baby. Yes, this french movie is pretty straightforward about the identity of the killer of the Grimauds (Betty, Marc and Dylan), thing is that it’s maybe pretty crystal clear from a story seen from the perspective of a mentally disturbed man.
By the time we see the credits rolling, it seems to be quite clear that Thomas Grimaud is the killer. He murdered his parents and his cousin in a psychotic break, after his parents decided to move Dylan to Laura’s bedroom. A bedroom that was off-limits for Thomas, who was sent to sleep in the basement since he was a baby. But all this is a very elaborated hoax: Thomas did not kill his family. Anna Kieffer did. And here are all the clues we missed.
1 ^ The Hood in the Shadows
First things first. The first hallucination Thomas got to see was the Hood in the Shadows, it’s a reaction of his self-preservation instinct. It was a red flag that this person was dangerous. In fact, one of the first connections Thomas made was that the Hood in the Shadows was in fact his mother’s lover, the one who used to stalk the house and call several times a day.
The fisr clue that something off is going on, is that after pointing that this person was really dangerous, the story was dropped, once Anna started to work on Thomas’ mind.
2 ^ «Don’t try to force your memory»
When Anna was about to leave the first we see her, she insists that Thomas should not try to remember anything, unless she’s there. Even when you see this as a nice advice to recover better, at the end of the movie, Anna herself decides now it’s a good time to force Thomas memory, just before the police decides it’s time for him to talk about what happened the night of the murders. Funny, huh.
3 ^ Dad was killed first
Taking a look at the crime scene, it is clear that Marc, Thomas’ father was killed first. He was just staying in the couch, watching TV, and then Betty and Dylan were close to Marc’s father. If Thomas was so angry, the priority list is wrong. According to broken memories of Thomas, it was his mother, Betty the one that used to be really cold and distant with him, to the point to trash every single gift from him. Then it’s Dylan was was getting everything Thomas was denied to, including his sister’s bedroom. Marc was the only one who seemed to feel some kind of respect towards Thomas, so it wouldn’t be a logic first choice to kill.
But, on the other hand, Marc would have been the first choice of Betty’s lover, the one Thomas remembered stalking the house and calling all day long, in an obsessive and dangerous behaviour. And going on with this, Marc’s killer had to kill Betty and Dylan because they saw who was responsible.
4 ^ Baby’s Memories
Now, one of the weirdest scenes in the movie is when Thomas could actually see his parents ignoring him as a baby. I don’t have to be a genius to notice that it was impossible for Thomas to remember that episode, because in fact he was a baby. So, this is proof that not everything that Thomas remember is true, and that someone is actually manipulating his memories. In fact, the whole «Your parents were assholes» storyline, may just be a very calculated attempt to neutralize Thomas, by breaking his psyche.
5 ^ Why did he come back?
And to add to the mountain of plot holes in the «My parents hated me» story is how is Thomas connected to the hood figure. I mean, Thomas killed three people and he just decides to wear a raincoat, and leave the house, just to come back later and stabbing a knife in his belly. This feels more like a desperate attempt of Anna to convince Thomas he was the hooded shadow and not her.
6 «Pardon him while you’re at it»
When Anna was talking to the nurse close to the end of the movie, he mentions that Anna needs to pardon him, why would she do that? What did Thomas did to Anna for the nurse to mention that. It seems the nurse and Anna actually know each other, enough for the nurse to be the eyes and ears in the hospital. The only thing that Thomas have done to hurt anyone, according to the nurse, is killing three people, and the only people that could be in need to pardon him are Dylan’s mother and Betty’s lover.
Anna is not Dylan’s mother, so we can actually conclude that Anna was in fact Betty’s lover.
7 ^ «I’m sorry, Thomas»
At the end of the movie, we see Thomas has fallen in a catatonic state after realizing that he was the killer of his parents and his own cousin. We see Anna reaching his bed and she tells him that she’s sorry. If Anna was actually just there to help Thomas, she would have realized that he just was crushed by the weight of his guilt, but it seems that she’s sorry she had to break his mind in order to save herself
8 ^ What is Anna doing to Thomas?
Thomas mind is really fragile after three years in comma. But he seems to remembers key things of his past, specially the hood figure, and the stalking. But once he gets his sessions with Anna, all of this disappears and the storyline about how cruel his parents were to him takes over.
Also, the way Thomas remembers doesn’t feel natural at all, in fact is like Anna is hypnotizing, to the point even Thomas suspects she’s just getting things in his mind. We already talked about the memory of him being rejected by his parents when he was a baby, but another interesting scene is when he sees the hood shadow from the window, and he’s taken out of that memory to another. Just like if Anna was not interested in Thomas to remember the hood shadow just yet.
9 ^ The Rings
And the proof that Anna is actually guilty is her rings. Yes ringssss, Anna wears two rings. And it’s funny that Thomas remembers his mother’s ring when he sees Anna’s. It’s not like the rings were special or anything, because they seem quite unremarkable, but it’s interesting he connects the memory. If you ask me, the night of the murders, Anna took Betty’s ring as a way to remember her. If one of Anna’s rings happen to be Betty’s, that’s the unrefutable proof she is the real killer.
10 ^ What really happen the night of the Grimaud’s murders?
This is my theory: Anna Kieffer and Betty Grimaud were having an affair that Betty decided to drop to save her marriage. Anna become obsessed with the idea of getting Betty back and she started to stalk the house. When Betty stopped answering her calls, she decided it was time to take action and kill Marc, thing is Betty actually saw her doing it and she had to kill her, here Anna lose focus and she takes the ring to remember her, but Dylan sees her, Anna misses the shot and she has to strangle Dylan, but now has no bullets.
When Thomas saw what was going on, Anna could not kill him because her gun was empty, Thomas actually used a knife and he got to hurt Anna in her leg (that’s why she has a limp), and proceeded to strangle her, but Anna could reach the knife and could stab him in the belly and leave the house, asking for help.
Anna thought everyone in the house was dead, until she found out later that Thomas was in a comma, maybe she didn’t see a reason to finish the job, but she asked the nurse to inform her if Thomas got to wake up. The nurse probably demanded to know the reason, and here is when she confesses she was Betty’s lover.
Once Thomas is out comma, Anna immediatly gets to the hospital and uses hypnosis to break Thomas mind, preventing from remembering what really happened the night of the murders, and creating new memories, to render him catatonic at the end, so there was no way to connect her to the murders. The new memories she created were that in fact Thomas was the one to kill Betty, Marc and Dylan, fabricating a story of abandonment, joulousy and violence. Probably using information she got from Betty herself.
At the end she wins, but still feels responsible for Thomas’ care. After all it was his broken mind that allowed her to get away with murder.