9. Jake Is The Janitor
As if the last point wasn’t mind-bending enough, the film’s other massive twist that may have went straight over your head is that the school janitor (played by Guy Boyd), who we see intercut throughout the film, is Jake. This means that most of the film is a complete fantasy concocted by this elderly man, with the Jake we see being the janitor’s younger self – or at least how he imagines his younger self to be.
Given that the film’s events take place in the janitor’s head, this explains how his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) rapidly change age. In the novel, their changing appearances is much more subtle, but here Kaufman goes all-out to let audiences know that what we’re seeing isn’t reality. Likewise, the writer-director alludes to this reveal, too, with the woman finding the janitor’s clothes in the farmhouse being the most notable clue, even if the meaning isn’t obvious on a first watch.
This is hinted at later in the film, too in a scene where the janitor offers the woman his slippers, a gesture which mimics Jake in an earlier scene.