Fan Theories From Leonardo DiCaprio Movies That We Can't Stop Thinking About

List Rules
Vote up the theories that have you ready for a rewatch.

Leonardo DiCaprio has the type of memorable filmography that most actors dream of. With Oscar-worthy performances and a knack for choosing great stories, Leonardo DiCaprio has given fans a lot to love. From unanswered questions to character quirks, more than a few passionate fans managed to come up with some interesting theories surrounding the best of Leo's films.

Check out these Leonardo DiCaprio movie fan theories below, and don't forget to vote!

  • 1
    9 VOTES

    The Cigarettes Trigger Breakdowns In 'Shutter Island'

    From Redditor u/metromachine:

    Towards the end of the film when it's revealed that Edward Daniels (Leonardo Dicaprio) is actually Andrew Laeddis, Andrew reluctantly accepts reality and comes to terms with the fact that he's a patient in the asylum. This is perfect timing considering how he only has short time left before his scheduled lobotomy. So you think, yay! Andrew doesn't have to get the lobotomy because he has accepted his craziness before it was too late. Dr. Crawely explains to him how he once broke him before, but he snapped back into insanity nine months prior. Although he is prone to snapping back into insanity, I believe that he was actually perfectly fine and ready to re-join society. His final step was leaving the island, and not snapping back.

    Now we get to the final scene. Andrew is sitting down, waiting for the ferry. I believe that right now, he is cured and truly waiting for the ferry. But uh-oh, here comes his caretaker. During his insanity, Andrew believed that his caretaker/therapist was actually his police partner named Chuck. He sits down and joins Andrew. He offers Andrew a cigarette. This is where Andrew went back to insanity - after being offered that cigarette. The entire film, especially towards the end, crazy Andrew was taught by his imaginary friends that cigarettes were bad, and not to take them. The cigarettes also have a distinct logo on them, something he becomes familiar with after his own pack becomes wet, and he takes some from the hospital's workers. Being offered that cigarette, accepting it, and smoking it brought Andrew back, and created Edward once more.

    If Andrew got back to Boston, even after seeing those cigarettes again, I don't think he would have snapped. He would have associated them with his breakthrough. but since he was on the island, had them handed to him from his "partner" and being watched down by Mr. Crawely, his brain put 1 & 2 together, and out came Edward.

  • From Redditor u/kenmoviemaybe:

    Shutter Island basically ends with the doctors on the Island convincing DiCaprio's character (Teddy Daniels) that he is crazy. And after this scene, most viewers walk away convinced too. They think Daniels really was crazy the whole time and the idea that he was U.S. Marshal investigating a crime was just part of his fantasy.

    But wait a minute. The doctor’s explanation for why Daniels was crazy the whole time has several major holes.

    The Storm

    First, Doctor Crawley (played by Ben Kingsley) says he knows all about Dicaprio’s delusions, saying:

    I've been hearing this fantasy for two years

    I know every detail.

    Patient 67. The storm.

    Rachel Solando.

    Your missing partner.

    Dreams you have every night.

    Wait a minute—the storm? Dr. Crawley is claiming the storm that took place throughout most of the movie was a fantasy. Of course he has to. That’s the only way to explain why Daniels hasn’t tried to leave the island anytime in the last two years. But claiming that the storm was a delusion makes no sense at all.

    First, many characters throughout the movie reference the storm in its various stages. Daniels is even forced to sleep in the basement with other hospital staff as part of their storm preparations. And he interrupts a meeting of the hospital doctors in which they are discussing what to do with the patients in Ward C if there is flooding. It’s hard to believe that this meeting was entirely staged in the off chance that Daniels happened to stop by.

    And Daniels was attacked by an escaped patient in Ward C. This was possible because Ward C lost power during the storm and many patients escaped. But if the storm never happened, why was this patient walking around out of his cell? This goes entirely unexplained by doctor Crawley.

    Daniels was told to “run” by another patient

    Early in the movie, Daniels decides to interview some of the patients to help him track down the escaped patient. One patient appears especially lucid, and she asks Daniel’s partner to get her a glass of water. While the partner is gone, she takes his paper and writes “run” on it.

    But if Daniels really was a patient as Dr. Crawley claims, telling him to run would be futile. Of course the staff would never let him leave the island. And it would be in his best interest to stay on the island in order to get the treatment the doctors have arranged for him in order to avoid a lobotomy. This character’s actions only make sense if Daniels really was a U.S. Marshall who wasn’t crazy.

    The doctor in the cave

    Daniels spends most of the movie talking to various hospital administrators and doctors. They are in on the plan to trick Daniels into thinking he’s crazy, so they tow the line. But occasionally he talks to other people, and they contradict Dr. Crawley’s claim that Daniels is crazy.

    The best example is the doctor Daniels meets in a cave. This doctor informs Daniels that the doctors on the island have indeed been performing secret experiments on patients for the government. In order for Dr. Crawley’s claims to make sense, however, this encounter must be a complete delusion. The doctor in the caves can’t exist.

    But that can’t be true because the doctor provides Daniels with new information, information he had not known before. For example, Daniels says he doesn’t know what a lobotomy is, so the doctor explains it to him. Of course, if she was a complete delusion, Daniels’s encounter with her would essentially be a conversation in his own head. He couldn’t learn any new information by talking to her because he is just talking to himself. But he does learn new information from her, so she must be real.

    The anagrams

    The best evidence Dr. Crawley has to prove that Daniels is crazy is the anagrams. But while Edward Daniels is an anagram of Andrew Laeddis, that can be chalked up to coincidence. The anagram isn’t particularly moving because Daniels always goes by “Teddy” not “Edward.”

    And while Dolores’s name is an anagram of Rachel’s, this doesn’t prove anything because the hospital provided the name of the escaped patient to Daniels. The staff could have easily chosen a name that’s an anagram of Daniels’s wife’s name in order to further their efforts to convince him he is crazy.

    My Theory

    For starters, Teddy Daniels never killed his wife, she never killed their kids, and he never went crazy. Instead, as he explained, he started investigating Shutter Island after his wife was nearly killed in a fire by an arsonist who was eventually sent to Shutter Island. Once he started digging, he began to grow suspicious.

    The administration at Shutter Island, and the government it worked with, found out that Daniels was on to them. So they made up a story about an escaped patient. They also disguised one of their doctors, Doctor Shepard (played by Mark Ruffalo), as his new partner. Once the two met up, Doctor Shepard gradually drugged Daniels through cigarettes and headache medicine to start inducing delusions.

    For most of the movie, the hospital doctors and staff are playing along in the ruse about a missing patient. Everyone knows this isn’t true, but they need time to gradually supply Daniels with drugs in order to convince him he is crazy. After a storm really does cause major damage on the island, they lose track of Daniels, who finds out about the true nature of the Island when exploring Ward C and the caves by himself.

    Recognizing that Daniels really is a threat, they decide to confront him at the lighthouse and try to convince him he is crazy. Confronted with this argument, Daniels passes out.

    Then, an unknown amount of time passes. During this time, the doctors are presumably repeatedly badgering Daniels about being crazy. They insist he killed his wife after she killed their kids. This, when coupled with drugs he has been slipped that make him delusional, eventually has an illusory truth effect on Daniels (which basically is the idea that the more times someone is told something, the more likely the person is to believe it). Eventually, Daniels capitulates, and believes he is in fact crazy.

    Eventually Daniels agreed to get a lobotomy. The government gets exactly what they wanted, Daniels eliminated as a threat and silenced as a crazy person.

  • 3
    14 VOTES

    Cobb's Wedding Ring Is Not His Totem In 'Inception'

    From Redditor u/Dickwaffler:

    In the Inception universe, a totem is a clever method, devised by Mal, of detecting if you are in someone else's dream. A totem is a physical item that secretly behaves abnormally in the real world; for instance, the weight or feeling might be different than one would expect. Therefore, if an Architect attempts to recreate your totem in their dream, it will not feel right and you will know it's a dream.

    So let me reiterate: a totem behaves normally in a dream but abnormally in the real world.

    But this contradicts the action of the top, which behaves abnormally in the dream world and normally in the real world. Why would an Architect assume that the top would behave so strangely? Any person would rightfully assume that the top would fall over in a dream and make that the reality, making the totem check useless.

    There's a popular fan theory going around that Cobb's wedding ring is his totem. This is a silly proposal in my opinion because of one simple fact: he wouldn't need to check the top as his reality test if he could just glance at his finger (I'm overlooking the fact that this totem, too, would violate the original definition described above). Why does he compulsively check the totem after waking up from Yusuf's workshop in Mombasa?

    Clearly, something more is going on. Cobb, as the world's most skilled extractor, has developed a better test of the dream world.

    Once a dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming (becomes lucid), they gain the ability to manipulate their reality within reason. This is why the team was able to summon guns out of nowhere and how Eames is able to project himself as different people.

    Cobb's reality check is to assume that he is in fact dreaming and attempt to bend reality. In this case, he focuses on making the top keep spinning. If it topples despite his focus, then it must be reality; but if he is able to keep it spinning indefinitely, it must be a dream. Notice how intently he stares at the top whenever he spins it.

    This theory lends special credence to the end of the film. Cobb spins the top and walks away. The top is wobbling, obviously preparing to fall over, but this doesn't prove anything since without Cobb willing it to behave strangely this will prove nothing. However, notice that Cobb isn't watching anymore. He doesn't care if the top spins or falls because this reality is where he wants to be, dream or not.

  • From Redditor u/GibbyGibsonUSC:

    The top totem is a paradox and doesn't work properly.

    -Cobb is the one stuck in a dream; when Mal killed herself, she actually woke up in reality.

    -Cobb is essentially stuck in a coma-state in the real world, where Mal and others are continuously entering his dream and trying to figure out how to convince Cobb he's still dreaming and wake him back to reality. The reason Mal can't just enter back into his first-level dream and tell Cobb he's still dreaming is because he's in denial, and he has to convince himself that he's still dreaming on his own, essentially the whole point of the movie. They need to perform Inception on him to convince him he's still dreaming, they can't just tell him outright for it to work.

    -Cobb is the one who got lost in his dream. He purposely "forgot" his actual totem, and made up the intricate backstory about taking Mal's totem (the top), so he can fool himself into believing his dream (first-level) is a reality. The biggest support for this is because the top totem and it's quirk is a plothole - a totem should be unique in real-life, so when it behaves normally in a dream, the dreamer will know it's a dream. The idea is that if someone else is trying to convince you a dream is reality, they won't know what is unique about your totem (or what it even is), so they would naturally make objects, including your unknown totem, act normally in a dream. A top would normally fall down eventually, so if a spinning top was actually going to be a totem, it should spin perpetually in real life (or at least an abnormally long amount of time), so when it topples after a normal amount of time in a dream, the dreamer will know they're dreaming. As it is, the top is pointless as a totem, since if it topples, Cobb will think he is in reality. In reality, the top would fall, but in a dream, another architect would also make the top fall, so Cobb will always be convinced he is in reality. The top works antithetical as it should, which suggests that Cobb's reality is actually a dream, and he created the top totem as part of his fantasy because he subconciously wants to believe his dream is reality.

    -Adriadne and Saito were hired/involved for two reasons:

    • To perform Inception on Cobb: The group performs Inception on Cobb in (potentially) two ways. The first idea they need to 'incept' is the idea of Inception itself. Almost too meta. Cobb ultimately believes he's the one that discovered the possibility of Inception, but the idea is planted when people around him begin asking if it's even possible. The second idea to be 'incepted' is the whole "do you want to become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone?" question. It's said 3 times in the movie - the first time Saito says it to Cobb, the second time Cobb finishes the sentence after Saito starts it, and the last time when Cobb is "rescuing" Saito from Limbo, you can see Cobb have an epiphany when he says it himself, showing that the Inception has worked, as the idea has manifested in his own subconscious. This idea helps Cobb overcome his (fake) guilt for "killing" his wife. If he can't overcome this guilt he will never be able to wake up from his fantasy.
    • To extract information from Cobb's mind: they need to figure out how his fake totem works. If the whole backstory about how he took Mal's totem etc. is part of his intricate fantasy, no one, including real-life Mal, would know the mechanics. Once they know how the totem works they might be able to convince Cobb that he's still dreaming.

    -Adriadne gets Cobb to reveal his totem and its quirk, this is the extraction succeeding.

    -The end of the movie when Cobb spins the top, is the first time he spins the top in his first-level dream state (what Cobb is convinced is reality), AFTER Adriadne finds out what his totem is and how it works. If Cobb had kept looking at his top, he would have seen that it keeps spinning because Adriadne could have incorporated it into the dream architecture. However, after moving on from the guilt of Mal's 'death', he no longer cares, and just wants to spend time with his kids. He already grew old and lived a life with Mal, now he wants to live a life with his kids. He may have his doubts if this is reality or not, but he would rather not know, since he believes it's not worth the risk if he's wrong (because if he's convinced he's dreaming and it's reality, he will die if he kills himself.) However, if he accepts his current state as reality, "it doesn't matter, because [we'll] be together", meaning Cobb and his kids. Alternatively, maybe he just couldn't wait to go say hi to his kids, comes back a couple minutes later to see the top is still spinning, realizes he was dreaming all along, and kills himself to go back to reality.... kidding. Kind of.

  • 5
    7 VOTES

    Danny Archer Had HIV In 'Blood Diamond'

    From Redditor :

    The answer is right upfront near the beginning. Danny Archer is approached by a prostitute who says "No HIV" and Danny responds "Ja, I've heard that before". There's a little more evidence to support this.

    The reason Danny keeps his romantic distance from Maddy (Jennifer Connelly).

    Also, after he had been shot, he had resisted to have Solomon (Djimon Hounsou) carry him because he would come in contact with his blood.

    From this, it could be that Danny's reason to get the blood diamond is so that he could possibly pay for his treatment (maybe even find a cure)

    It's pretty simple but I think it's pretty clear and I've looked up to see if there's any confirmation about it and there hasn't been anything to say that it is so.

  • 6
    5 VOTES

    'The Revenant' Is A Ghost Story

    From Redditor u/drmorton:

    I Think Hugh Glass dies after Fitzgerald and Bridger leave him in the shallow grave, he then begins a journey as a wandering spirit, eventually returning to the mortal world to kill Fitzgerald, which releases his spirit allowing him to move on to the afterlife.


    -The title is the first major give away, the second dictionary entry for revenant after, a person who returns, is, a person who returns as a spirit after death; ghost.

    -Another big hint is the scene when he's back at the camp and he tell the captain hes coming with him to hunt Fitzgerald, he says "I ain't afraid to die anymore. I'd done it already."

    -I started thinking he must already be dead when he started surviving non-survivable things over and over, that as well as the miraculous speed by which he healed.

    -The native tribe that is pursuing people throughout the film are alike to the Wild Hunt from pagan mythology, I believe they are vengeful spirits hell bent on revenge in search of the soul of the chiefs daughter. They kill everyone they come across in the film. as well I believe they hunt the lost souls that wonder the world between worlds. The one exception would be the french settlers who they trade with, I think this is a red herring and they do slaughter them all, we just don't see it on camera(more on this later).
    They pursue Glass during the film because he is trespassing in the plain between worlds which is their domain. This theory fits with the ending of the film after Glass dumps Fitzgerald into the river the Hunt fishes him out and slit his throat, this fits with them killing anyone alive they catch in the mortal world. They then ride past Glass because he is a spirit and since he is no longer in the world between worlds they have no claim on his soul.

    -Everyone Glass meets on his journey back to the real world are lost souls. firstly the Indian he meets after the buffalo scene is just a lost soul(I need to watch the film again) but my theory is that through helping Glass he frees himself and is able to move onto the afterlife, at this point glass finds his body. Supporting evidence for this is that if he was captured it's highly unlikely they would not have also found glass, and the snow on the tongue scene I believe is also a hint but i need to re-watch that part. The next scene when glass sneaks into the camp and frees the native women. The men in the camp I believe to be the ghosts of the slaughtered french traders from earlier. Hints that they are spirits are that they have no lookouts, if they did they surely would have spotted glass the way he stumbled onto their camp. Ghosts would not need lookouts, also the lively camp the singing and the drinking feels wrong for those people in that area, it reminded me of warriors in Asgard from Norse mythology. I think the women who is raped might be the daughters soul of the native chief but that's unsubstantiated.

    The ending also lends itself to this theory, after he gets his revenge his wife shows up to lead him to the afterlife where he belongs.

    The last bit of evidence, and maybe I'm giving him to much credit, is that Alejandro González Iñárritu is to smart of a film maker to make such a unrealistic simplistic film, I base this off his past work. Just based on the shear amount of flaws in this film otherwise this is the only interpretation of the film that makes sense. if glass did not die in the film he should have uncountable number of times from exposure, fever, infection, drowning, and capture to list a few, he magically heals inhumanly quick. the whole thing has a surreal feel, it felt like a journey through hell, for lack of a better word.