your requested inquiry is complete
movie: THE IDES OF MARCH
request: WHY DOES MOLLY COMMIT SUICIDE?
Molly's suicide isn't as straight forward as one may think. The Ides of March is structured to emulate its source material: politics. And politics is, as we all know, not a straight forward creature.
The film is a house of mirrors. The end, for example, has two readings: either Stephen keeps his mouth closed and sells his soul, or he follows through with what he believes in--integrity, decency--and reveals Morris' infidelity.
Look at Morris. At first we think he's the paragon of excellence, the politician we all wish for. A good man. But that's not the case. Maybe he isn't a bad man, but it turns out he isn't a good one, that he is, at best, just a man.
Look at Stephen's firing. We watch Zara fire Stephen. That's one version. Then we hear a second, from Ben, after Molly's had the abortion and returns to her room.
...but Stephen goes ape shit THEN...THEN Paul gives him the speech about loyalty...
That's not how it happened. Is Ben reconfiguring events? Or is he lying to make himself seem cool because he thinks Molly's hot and wants to impress her (or just to brag)? But Stephen does go to Duffy and does say he has something big he wants to reveal, that goes with what Ben had said ("he said he's taking everyone down on his way out...Morris, everybody!"). So...fuck. What happened?
The movie provides us with many questions but only answers two: we find out who leaked to the press Stephen's meeting with Duffy; we find out why Duffy asked Stephen to the meeting.
Duffy explains the meeting was win-win for him. If Stephen accepted the meeting, liked what he heard, and joined Duffy on the Pullman campaign, great. If Stephen accepted the meeting, didn't like what he heard, and walked away, Zara would find out and fire Stephen.
I say all of this to make this point: The Ides of March is operating on this same level of "win-win". However we choose to read the actions of the characters, it doesn't matter. The movie still wins.
Is there a suicide note? Is there not? Does Stephen tell? Does he not?
So. Does Molly commit suicide or doesn't she? It doesn't matter either way, I guess. She's dead, regardless.
Don't worry. I'm still going to give you details. Ending here would be too easy.
The case for suicide looks like this.
1. Molly is impregnated by Morris.
2. She wants an abortion.
3. She tells Stephen she can't tell her dad because her family is Catholic. I'm assuming this means he wouldn't support the abortion. But he also wouldn't support her having a child out of wedlock. (Why not keep the child? Because maybe she doesn't want the child. Also, someone could, one day, trace it to Morris. I'm not saying any of these reasons justify abortion, but they're reasons someone might give to justify an abortion.)
4. The next day, Stephen, who had been so warm and comforting, calls her into his office. He's cold and distant. She looks unsure.
5. When they meet in the stairwell, he tells to schedule the abortion. But also that she's going home, she's off the campaign. When she tries to argue, he tells her "Molly, you've got to wake the fuck up...this is the big leagues...it's mean...and when you make a mistake you lose your right to play." Harsh words from the dude who was sweet on her less than 24 hours ago.
6. Then the next day. Stephen drives Molly to the women's clinic. Then he leaves her. To get the abortion. By herself. I thought she looked scared. He has the compassion to kiss her on the forehead before he goes.
7. Then he doesn't pick her up. She waits. She has to walk to a diner. She sits. She has to take a cab home. So she's abandoned immediately after having an abortion, which, I'm guessing, exacerbates the emotional riot of an abortion.
8. After two emotionally draining days, she gets back to the hotel. Can she finally rest? Nope. In comes Ben. And what's Ben reveal? That Stephen has been fired and is going to bring everyone down...
9. Here she just had an abortion to protect her family, to protect herself, to protect Morris. She feels shitty. And now, just when she thinks it's over and she can move on...Stephen's going to reveal EVERYTHING? What was the point of the abortion? Of her grief and stress???
10. She tries to call Stephen, to speak with him, to hear from him what he's going to do, to, if he was planning to tell, talk him out of telling. He doesn't answer.
11. Frustrated, scared, flabbergasted, terrified of what would happen to her, to Morris, of facing her father and family, distraught at Stephen who had been so wonderful to her just two days before...She's overwhelmed. Suicide.
We hear on the news that "The coroner has stated, that based on the evidence found by the police in the hotel room, that this was an accidental overdose, a lethal cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs."
So she didn't commit suicide?
But then the news report continues: "The Cincinnati police chief, Darryl Mathews, has called for a full investigation pending a toxicology report which could take up to two weeks."
Will the toxicology report that the suicide wasn't accidental? That it seems, by the amount ingested, it was intentional? Could it be that the "accidental" report was merely out of politeness, that it seems better for the family, and for the campaign, to report it as an accident rather than intended?
Stephen tells Morris there was a suicide note. Was there? During the scene when Stephen is in Molly's room, and Molly is dead on the floor, we see a shot of her bedside stand.
Notice the note pad. There's no note on the stand. But that doesn't mean she didn't write one and put it somewhere...But it could also mean there is no note...because she didn't meant to commit suicide...
Think about the voicemails too.
In the first she's angry. In the second she's drunk
Regardless, she sounds fucked up. Which supports the OD-on-purpose theory. But what she says in the second voicemail confounds the theory. "I'm not going away..."
What does she mean by that?
It's probably a reference to Stephen's earlier speech about this being "the big leagues" and she has to go away. But does she mean she's not going away as in...I'm staying right here. Or does she mean she's not going away as in...I'm committing suicide and you won't be able to forget about me.
We can build a case for either. For suicide...well, I already did that.
For not suicide.
1-10: all the same.
11: Frustrated, scared, flabbergasted, terrified of what would happen to her, to Morris, of facing her father and family, distraught at Stephen who had been so wonderful to her just two days before...She's overwhelmed.
12. So she drinks and takes some pills. She wants to calm down. She either takes too many. Or takes some and they don't work fast enough so she takes more, then takes a few more. In this state she decides she's staying. Why? I don't know. Maybe she decides she's tired of being pushed around. That she doesn't care what her dad thinks, or what her family thinks. That Stephen can't tell her what to do. That she's her own woman (especially after having to take care of herself after the abortion). She calls Stephen. She tells him "I'm not going away." And either it's already too late because she's already in the maw of an OD, or she takes some more stuff, not understanding the consequences and...
But the film isn't honest enough for me to fully believe that. My "accidental OD" argument isn't as strong as it could be, I don't think. I'm confident it's on the right track though.