Hanna and Liv, harassed and unsafe, set The Royal Hotel ablaze in a fiery act of defiance, symbolizing their stand against misogyny in a remote Australian town.
In this thrilling ride directed by Kitty Green, "The Royal Hotel" is a tale loosely inspired by the 2016 documentary, 'Hotel Coolgardie' by Pete Gleeson. The story follows two Canadian backpackers, Hanna and Liv, who, in desperate need of cash, take up a job as barmaids in a remote Australian mining town. However, the journey takes a dark and unsettling turn as they confront an atmosphere of discomfort and danger due to the bar patrons. As the tension escalates, the burning question lingers – why do Hanna and Liv decide to burn down the hotel? Let's explore the details and decode the ending of 'The Royal Hotel.' (Warning: Spoilers ahead!)
Hanna and Liv, two adventurous backpackers from Canada, find themselves in need of money during their journey across Australia. In their quest for survival, they accept a job as barmaids in a remote Australian mining town. Hanna initially hesitates, questioning the wisdom of this decision, but Liv's persuasiveness prevails, convincing Hanna that this opportunity is their lifeline. Their journey lands them in a Western Australian town near Perth, where they are welcomed by Carol, who drives them to the Royal Hotel. It's at this pub that they meet two English women who are about to finish their stint as barmaids.
Their induction into the life of the Royal Hotel comes courtesy of Billy, the pub owner, who hurriedly prepares them for their new roles. But the reality of their new environment becomes clear quite quickly – the bar patrons can be overwhelming, making inappropriate comments and unwanted advances towards Hanna and Liv. Hanna begins to question her decision as she feels unsafe due to the predatory behavior of the patrons, especially one unsettling figure, Dolly.
Hanna attempts to convince Liv to leave the hotel, citing concerns about their safety, but Liv insists on staying a bit longer to accumulate the funds they need for their backpacking journey. Amidst all this chaos, Liv starts to bond with Teeth, a seemingly kind-hearted bar patron, and Hanna finds herself growing closer to Matty, who had previously made lewd comments about her.
The situation spirals out of control when Dolly creates a scene at the bar, prompting Hanna to lock herself and a drunken Liv in their bedroom. However, an unexpected visitor, a snake, forces them to seek Dolly's assistance. Meanwhile, Billy's drinking problem worsens, and he neglects to pay the wages owed to the women. An argument with his girlfriend, Carol, who is also the pub's cook, escalates, leading to a serious injury to Billy, forcing Carol to rush him to the hospital. This leaves Hanna and Liv in charge of the pub, a responsibility they hadn't anticipated.
As 'The Royal Hotel' nears its climax, Carol advises Hanna and Liv to make as much money as they can and leave over the weekend. On their final night at the Royal Hotel, Hanna arranges a party to celebrate Liv's birthday, with the regular patrons in attendance. However, this festive atmosphere takes a dark turn when Dolly attempts to take advantage of a drunk Liv. Hanna intervenes to protect her friend, which results in a confrontation and leads to Hanna injuring her face during a scuffle with Matty.
The situation worsens as Teeth fights Dolly to claim Liv for himself, further agitating her. In the movie's closing moments, Hanna and Liv release their pent-up frustration and start destroying things inside the pub. The breaking of bottles and glasses reaches a climax when they set the Royal Hotel ablaze before departing.
Throughout the film, we witness the relentless harassment that Hanna and Liv endure at the hands of the Royal Hotel's patrons. The behavior directed at them is not just casual but deeply entrenched in the culture of the town. From the moment they arrive, the bar patrons objectify Hanna and Liv, leaving them feeling violated and unsafe.
The bar patrons, including Dolly, Matty, and Teeth, seem to be accustomed to getting their way with women and are unaccustomed to hearing the word "no." Hanna and Liv, however, refuse to passively accept this treatment. They take offense at the behavior, but in their isolated and helpless situation, they are left with few options.
The breaking point arrives during Liv's birthday party when the men cross all bounds, making an open attempt to exploit her while physically harming Hanna. This traumatic experience finally jolts the women into action.
In the end, Hanna and Liv decide to retaliate against the oppressive and predatory men who have made their lives a living nightmare. The fire that consumes the Royal Hotel is a symbol of their revolt against the blatant misogyny and sexism that prevails in the town. It's a powerful, cathartic moment when they take a stand against the regressive and offensive behavior towards women.
The burning of the Royal Hotel serves as a testament to the strength of Hanna and Liv, who, in the face of adversity, find the courage to stand up against their tormentors. It's a statement that transcends the boundaries of the screen, echoing the need to confront and challenge toxic behaviors wherever they may exist.