Why “Free Guy” Tugs at Our Heart Strings (Warning: Spoilers)

Free Guy with Ryan Reynolds was released on August 13th, 2021, and is now available on Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, YouTube, and many other platforms.

[Warning: Spoilers Ahead]

The Plot

“Free Guy” is a story of an NPC (“Non-Player Character”) in a video game called Free City. There are three main characters in the movie: Guy (the NPC), plus Keys and Millie (the coders who built the video game, who are also in love with each other).

Guy becomes the first NPC in history to be freed from his never-ending loop of programmed phrases and routines, and to become a real “living” AI. This happens because Keys programmed Guy to feel an unshakable emptiness in his heart until he enters into a relationship with a girl who has the exact attributes of Millie. Of course, Millie is living in the “real world”—while Guy is living in the video game—but Millie enters into the game as Motolov Girl, and she “lives” and “speaks” through this character. Through Motolov Girl, all of Millie’s attributes are put on full display—enabling Guy to see Millie through Motolov Girl, and to be enlivened through her.

Once Guy encounters Motolov Girl, everything changes. He is freed from his enslaving daily routines, he becomes a better person, and he experiences true “life” in ways he never imagined possible. He also begins pointing other NPCs to the life that can be found by looking at the world through the glasses of Motolov Girl. At the end of the movie, Free City is transformed into a new city and a new earth—one where peace, love, and freedom reign.

Guy: The (Lifeless) Slave Set Free

Guy was (literally) programmed to desire Millie, and his heart would remain restless until he found rest in her. Until Millie entered into Guy’s life through Motolov Girl, Guy was without hope and without a savior in his world (cf. Ephesians 2:12). He was a slave to his routines, and he had no eyes to see anything different (cf. Matthew 13:16). But when he met Millie’s character, his eyes were opened and he saw the entire world in a new way. “It wasn’t until I met you that I felt alive,” he testified (paraphrased, cf. Colossians 2:13). Through his relationship with Motolov Girl, Guy’s desires were righted, his shackles were broken, and his life was transformed forever.

Motolov Girl: The Christ Figure

Although Guy was programmed to find true life through Millie, he had no way of meeting her unless she “came down” into his world. Until that happened, no other NPC (or real life player using the video game) would have Millie’s exact attributes—so Guy’s longings would never be met, and he would never be set free. But when the fullness of time had come, Millie sent Motolov Girl into Guy’s world (cf. Galatians 4:4) and revealed herself to Guy (cf. Colossians 1:15). Because Motolov Girl is the exact imprint of Millie’s nature (cf. Hebrews 1:3), she possessed everything necessary to set Guy free (cf. John 8:36). Through seeing Motolov Girl, Guy saw Millie (cf. John 14:9)—and by seeing her, he was changed forever (cf. 1 John 3:2).

Keys: The God the Father Figure

Even before he created the world of Free City, Keys loved Millie deeply (cf. John 17:24). He wanted others to enjoy her as much as he enjoyed her—he wanted others to join them in their love—so he wrote Millie into the story as Motolov Girl. His plan was for the characters in his game to be transformed by her beauty (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18), so that Millie would be exalted (cf. Philippians 2:9). This plan succeeded—at the end of the movie, Millie felt noticeably loved and prized when she realized that Keys saved Guy and Free City through her. Millie was a gift to the world of Free City, and the world of Free City was a gift to Millie. All of this was accomplished because Keys loved Millie and the world he had created (cf. John 3:16).

Free City: The Broken World Redeemed

Free City is something of a postmodern Sodom and Gomorrah—ravaged by violence, oppression, and crime. What’s more, all of the NPCs in the city are enslaved and lifeless—trapped inescapably in their programmed phrases and routines, and seemingly unable to imagine life in a different way. Yet, as the movie progresses, it becomes clear that all of the NPCs have a deep desire to be set free and to live in a world of safety and love. By the end of the movie, Motolov Girl ushers in a new kingdom through a transformed people. There all of the freed NPCs live together in unending righteousness and happiness (cf. 2 Peter 3:13).

We are “Free City”

As is true with countless movies, “Free Guy” inspires us because it is based on a true story—on our story. Like Guy, our hearts are restless until they find rest in the Savior we were created to love. We are all naturally enslaved to our passions and dead in our sins, lifeless and unable to save ourselves. But God has written himself into our story by sending his Son, who died to set us free (cf. Revelation 1:5). By trusting Christ and his sacrifice on the Cross, we are given new life, new hope, and new freedom. And one day, our Savior will return to set up his kingdom, where we will dwell with him forever in a world of righteousness, peace, and love.


Blake Glosson is a student at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has been published by The Gospel Coalition and republished and/or referred by Eternal Perspective Ministries (Randy Alcorn)Challies.com (Tim Challies), Moody Radio (Dawn and Steve Mornings—here and here), The JOY FM (The Morning Cruise with Dave, Bill, and Carmen)ChurchLeaders.comThe Aquila Report, and numerous other sources. Previously, he served as the director of young adults at New Covenant Bible Church in St. Charles, Illinois.

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