In the Heart of the Sea (2015) Ending Explained

In the heart of the sea (2015) movie ending explained by brainless pen

In the Heart of the Sea (2015) is the movie about the sinking of a New England whaling ship named Essex in 1820 by a giant blue sperm whale. Inspired by this event later, the novel Moby-Dick was written by Herman Melville.

In the Heart of the Sea Ending Explained with Plot Story in Details

* * * Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen the movie yet, turn back now! * * *

The movie starts in 1850.

A man named Herman Melville visits an innkeeper named Thomas Nickerson. Herman is an author and wants to hear Thomas’s story about his survival. Thomas is the last survivor of a whaling ship named Essex which was destroyed 30 years earlies.

Herman offers all of his money but Thomas does not agree to reveal his experience.

Through Nickerson’s family needs money so her wife requests Thomas for reconsideration. This time he agrees and starts telling his story.

chase, pollard, thomas in the heart of the sea movie
Chase, Pollard, and Mathew.

The story turns them 30 years back in 1820. Here Nickerson is a 12-year-old boy who joins Essex as a cabin boy.

Essex was refitted for whale oil trading by the Nantucket whaling company. Its owners hired veteran whaler, Owen Chase, as a first mate. Owen is upset because he doesn’t receive the captain’s position on Essex. The Company declares captain is George Pollard who is a novice from an established whaling family.

In the sea, Essex faces a storm, and Chase forcibly advises Pollard to sail middle of that. Pollard refuses the idea but Chase disobeyed the captain and save the ship. Pollard envies Chase’s skill and popularity.

This leads to a clash between them. Later at dinner, Pollard insults Chase as a lower-class citizen of their town.

Pollard wants to back to the port without killing any whale and Chase tells him that will destroy their reputations. Then they agree to go further for hunting whale oil.

Very soon, the crew kills its first bull sperm whale.

Three months pass with no further successes. Pollard realizes that the Atlantic Ocean holds no sighting of whales. The Essex sails past Cape Horn to the Pacific, hoping for better luck in catching one.

RELATED: Hypnotic (2021) Ending Explained

As the officers arrive in Atacames Canton in Ecuador, a Spanish captain tells them about a white whale. They found it 2000 miles west from the spot. The giant whale was so destructive that it destroyed his ship and killed six of his crew. Pollard and Chase take the story as a myth and they move to the west.

After arriving at the spot, they do not see any sign of a whale. They launch a whaling boat in the sea and suddenly a massive bull sperm whale appears under the water. Its skin is full of scars thus it looks like a white-colored whale.

The white whale attacks Essex and she drowns. Pollard, Chase, and some of their crew manage to save their lives by sailing a tiny boat and very little amount of food.

giant sperm whale destroying boat
The giant sperm whale attacks the boat.

After a few days, they find a little abandoned island. But that time white whale again attacks their boat and destroy. All of them manage to reach Henderson Island.

They start gathering food and fires for smoke. The fire smoke works to grab the attention of the passing ships.

Later on, Chase finds a lot of human skeletons in a cave. That means they are not the first human group on the island. Their earlier castaways died alone. They conclude that the crew will soon die on the island before another ship passes by.

Therefore, they sail the boat again in the sea with a wish to find land. But some of them want to stay on the island and wait for another ship.

One of the men dies in the boat shortly after. After a brief argument, the remaining crew decides to cannibalize him.

One boat is lost in the currents, while the other two are separated. Henry Coffin, Pollard’s cousin, also resorts to cannibalism to survive.

Suddenly, the white whale returns and Chase prepares for a final assault. At one point, the whale breaches. Above the whale’s eye, Chase finds a fragment of the harpoon he previously threw.

He stares into the whale’s left eye, unsure of what to do. The whale stares back at him. Taking a moment to think, Chase lowers his harpoon. This time he decides not to kill the creature.

This encounter ends peacefully when the whale swims off in peace and is not seen again.

Pollard’s boat is rescued by a passing ship, but Chase’s boat is left to drift without food or water. The survivors reach Chile’s Alejandro Selkirk Island as they are on the verge of death.

After reuniting with their families, the survivors are taken back to Nantucket. To protect the industry’s reputation, Pollard and Chase are asked to conceal the story. But Chase does not care about them anymore, because he has had enough of their dishonesty. Chase resigns and refuses to go along anymore.

Pollard, however, uncovers the truth in his inquiry.

Chase then goes to Henderson Island, but it’s too late to save his friends.

Eventually, he became a merchant captain and continued to sail the seas. Afterward, Pollard led another expedition by the ship owners to find the white whale. He was never able to locate it again. Later he was forced to retire.

In the last scene of the movie, Melville leaves to write his novel Moby-Dick and writes ‘call me Ishmael.’

Who survives in the movie In the Heart of the Sea?

At the end of the movie Chase Owen, Captain Pollard, and cabin boy Thomas survived. The rest of the crew members died in several incidents. Few of them are killed by the white whale, a few died in Henderson Island and others are killed for cannibalism.

Cabin boy

Is there cannibalism In the Heart of the Sea?

Yes, there arises cannibalism for surviving in the movie.

The crew of the Essex ship is trapped in a little boat middle of the sea without sufficient food and water. So, they had no choice to use corpses as their meal to be alive.

Is in the heart of the sea a true story?

In the Heart Of the Sea is based on real events of the ship Essex.

From Amesbury, Massachusetts, United States, the ship launched in 1799. On November 20, 1820, a sperm whale attacked the ship and destroyed it. Without sufficient rations or water, the crew was forced to sink in a small boat.

real Essex ship image
Early image of the attack in Mariner’s Chronicle, New Haven: A. B. Wilcox, 1834. Courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

After the Essex drowned, they survived for more than three months. There were a total of seven crew members who were cannibalized before the last eight survivors were rescued.

The tragedy drew international attention. Herman Melville was also inspired to write his famous 1851 novel Moby-Dick.

The movie In the heart of the sea tells the story of Melville and his writings.

Good Points

  • Since the movie is based on a real incident that leads to a great responsibility for the director and Ron did his job in a strong hand.
  • Most of the time ‘curiosity’ works for learning ‘what next?’ Which is great.
  • No ghosts, but scare enough for watching.

Bad Points

  • The story is a little bit changed and modified for making a cinema that contradicts real phenomena.
  • The giant whale VFX is good but not great.
  • There are some plot holes that arise and remain unanswered questions that are created inside the movie. That was necessary for the story flowing.


Original Title In the Heart of the Sea

Other Titles Au coeur de l’océan (Canada), En el corazón del mar (Mexico)

Genre Horror/ Thriller/ Survival/ Adventure

Runtime 2hr 02min

Original Language English

Directed by Ron Howard

Tagline Based on the incredible true story that inspired Moby-Dick.

Release date December 11, 2015 (USA)

Origin Country United States, Australia, Spain

Official Website In the Heart of the Sea Website

Awards 01 Wins, 05 Nominations

Brainless Pen Rating!

Cast of Characters

Actor/Actress Name Character Name
Chris Hemsworth Owen Chase
Benjamin Walker George Pollard
Brendan Gleeson Tom Nickerson
Ben Whishaw Herman Melville
Cillian Murphy Matthew Joy

Official Trailer

NEXT: The Boy (2016) Ending Explained