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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Contagion can be found here.
When an extremely virulent disease erupts in Hong Kong and begins to spread across the world, U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) agents, Doctors Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) and Erin Mears (Kate Winslet), and World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard), struggle to identify the virus, contain it, and develop a vaccine against it while attempting to keep themselves from becoming infected. Freelance journalist and conspiracy theorist Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) posts on his blog, which is read by millions of followers, that there is already a homeopathic cure called Forsythia but that the CDC is suppressing this information so that the drug companies can profit. Meanwhile, as the contagion spreads, societal order begins to break down as people start to panic.
The screenplay for Contagion was written by American screenwriter Scott Z. Burns.
It is not shown in the film, but many viewers suspect that she ran off to call Sun Feng (Chin Han) or to otherwise attempt to get into contact with him so that she could warn him that the vaccines were fake. It was obvious that she had come to care a great deal for the village children while being held hostage, thus she did not want them to believe that they had been inoculated against the virus while they were, in fact, still susceptible to infection. She may have also just begun to run in an aimless panic, knowing that she was unable to help the villagers (id est, she didn't know where the village was as she had been blindfolded when she was taken there, and Sun Feng, having obtained the "vaccine" illegally through a kidnapping, was unlikely to accept any further communication from her as he would likely surmise that it was an attempt by the government to arrest him for his crimes). She seemed disgusted by the callous (though logical and pragmatic) actions of the Chinese government in their refusal to negotiate with the kidnappers which, while the kidnappers were well intentioned acting in the immutable self-interest of saving their community, would still set a dangerous precedent for others to obtain the vaccine through similar means. Her WHO coworker mentioned that hers was not the only kidnapping; other intergovernmental healthcare workers had been kidnapped, as had wealthy foreigners, and some of the kidnappings had been carried out with financial gains (as opposed to saving families and communities) as their goal. To allow these acts to continue, for these crimes to be rewarded with vaccinations at the expense of others, would be dangerous and irresponsible on the part of the government. This was a similar situation to the "home invasion" by those looking for the vaccine at the home of Doctor Cheever.
Day 135 and life is returning very slowly to normal. Dr Cheever is given two doses of the vaccine, one for himself and one for his wife Aubrey (Sanaa Lathan). He administers Aubrey's dose but gives his own dose to Roger's son Anthony (Joshua Seiden), who would have had to wait for another seven months until his number came up in the lottery. After making bail, Krumwiede is back on the street street, taking photos of the long line outside the MEV-1 Vaccination Center to post on his blog. Dr. Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) places the remaining samples of MEV-1 in cryogenic storage along with samples of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and H1N1 (swine flu). While Jory (Anna Jacoby-Heron) dresses for her makeshift prom night to be held in their living room, as she has not yet received her vaccine, Mitch (Matt Damon) finds the digital camera on which Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) took photographs of herself and the Hong Kong chef who prepared her dinner on the night that she was infected. Tears roll down his eyes as Jory opens the door to Andrew (Brian J. O'Donnell), who can finally be near her now that he's received his vaccine. The final scene is a flashback showing how the virus was first transmitted. An AIMM Alderson bulldozer knocks down a palm tree, sending a group of bats into the air. One bat takes a bite of a banana, dropping a bit of it into a pig pen. The infected banana is eaten by a piglet who is then delivered to the Hong Kong chef who prepares it for dinner. The chef is called out to take a picture with Beth, so he wipes his infected hands on his apron and goes out to shake hands with her. A title card announces that this is Day 1.
No, although the virus in the movie is plausible, it is not real. There are parallels with bird and swine flu however. Characteristics of it are based on the Nipah virus.
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