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The Ending Of Premonition Explained

Warning: Spoilers for "Premonition" below.

"Premonition" is the 2007 Sandra Bullock psychological thriller that presents a nightmare scenario: what if you found out your significant other was going to die soon? How would you try to stop it — or, would you even want to?

Bullock plays Linda, a woman who wakes up one day to discover that her husband Jim (Julian McMahon) died the previous day in a car accident. But this turns out to be the "premonition" from the film's title. The next day, Linda wakes up to find her husband is still alive. 

This gives Linda a chance to save her husband's life, but it's not that simple. After another time jump, this time to the day of Jim's funeral, Linda discovers that he had an affair. The movie keeps jumping back and forth to different days on the week Jim died, giving Linda a chance not just to save her husband's life, but to save her relationship with him, too. 

In the end, Linda is only able to accomplish one of those things. Here's what's up with the ending of "Premonition." Don't keep reading if you intend to watch it before it leaves Netflix on October 31.

Unscrambling the timeline

Before unpacking the ending, it's also worth clarifying the admittedly confusing timeline of "Premonition" — Linda herself has to draw a chart for the week to figure out what happened on what day. Here are the major events of the film in chronological order:

On Monday, Jim is still alive. Tuesday, Linda's daughter Bridgette (Courtney Taylor Burness) runs through the plate-glass window, which required an emergency room visit. Jim dies the following day, Wednesday. On Thursday, Linda finds out Jim died the previous day in the car accident.

Saturday is Jim's funeral, and the day that Linda finds out Jim cheated on her with Claire (Amber Valletta). It's also the day Dr. Roth (Peter Stormare) commits her to a mental institution — because of her claims of premonitions about Jim's death. 

One of the movie's biggest questions is whether Linda is actually living through all the days of this week, or whether she's envisioning them somehow. But since she's able to live them out of order, and affect things that happen over the course of the week, it's most likely that Linda is imagining them, not actually traveling through time and experiencing them. That doesn't make what she learns any less true, however.

In the end, Linda saves her marriage but not her husband

The pivotal day in the timeline is Wednesday, when Jim dies. Everything before and after that is affected by the premonitions Linda begins having about his death. When the movie jumps back to the days leading up to Jim's death, knowing that Jim is both going to cheat on her and going to die gives her a chance to change both outcomes. After debating whether or not Jim and their relationship are worth saving, Linda relies on her faith and decides to try to save the marriage and her husband's life.

Linda recommits to her marriage and expresses her love for Jim. Because of this, Jim has second thoughts about finally consummating the affair with Claire and calls it off. In this way, Linda prevents the affair from happening and saves her marriage with Jim.

However, Linda still can't stop Jim's death. On Wednesday, Linda follows Jim to the spot of his accident and warns him to turn the car around. He does, but this only makes him stall his car, and a tanker truck crashes into him and explodes.

If Linda hadn't had the premonitions, she wouldn't have known that she needed to save her relationship. Yet Linda's interference is literally what causes Jim's death. In the end, that's the movie's message: some things in life, like death, are unavoidable. But the choices we make, like how to conduct our relationships, are very much under our control. And even if we can't save our loved ones, love is still worth fighting for.