The movie in The Last of Us episode 6 has a poignant hidden meaning

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us episode 6 sees Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) finally arrive at the Jackson, Wyoming commune they’ve been searching for. However, while Joel is busy catching up with his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna), Ellie is taken by Maria (Rutina Wesley) to watch a screening of The Goodbye Girl along with the rest of the town. While the choice of film is probably more limited during the apocalypse, it’s very clear this choice of movie was no coincidence.

As pointed out by Kotaku, the 1977 romantic comedy begins as a dancer named Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) and her ten-year-old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings) are abandoned by Paula’s partner. As Paula finds new love with Elliot (Richard Dreyfuss), the movie navigates Lucy’s constant worry that she’ll be left again by another father figure. What’s more, the scenes we see in the background of the shot are of Elliot trying to connect with young Lucy.

Sound familiar? There are plenty of parallels that can be drawn between the movie and Ellie and Joel’s dynamic. However, perhaps the most poignant is Ellie’s fear of being left alone again. In fact, the decision to place the movie scene just before Ellie and Joel’s painful exchange over loss also seems to be no coincidence. 

Ellie finds out Joel is planning to send her on the rest of the journey with Tommy. "I’m sorry about your daughter, Joel," Ellie says, "But I’ve lost people too". After Joel replies, "You have no idea what loss is," Ellie then reveals: "Everybody that I’ve cared for has either died or left me, everybody fucking except for you so don’t tell me I’d be safer with someone else, because the truth is I would just be more scared."

For more on the latest episode of The Last of Us, check out the major changes from the game, what those Part 2 Easter eggs might mean, and why Joel’s medical condition is much more canon than you might think.

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.