I think this movie is a really good example of Deontology (or Duty Ethics), and I like it for that. Patrick does the “right thing” because it is his duty, because it is the right thing to do period; he doesn’t base his decision on the consequences. A perfect example of a Deontological choice.
When the movie was over my mom said, “He made the wrong choice didn’t he.” I said no. She said, “but her mom will never change,” and I replied, “but that doesn’t mean she should stay with people who kidnapped her.” No telling how that would go either.
I didn’t know much about ethical theories until last semester when I took ethics class. It gave a good overview of the main theories, and while most of the student in my class seemed to think Duty Ethics was absurd, I connected with it the most.
Spoiler ahead, consider yourself warned
I also like how Patrick was somewhat taking responsibility in the end by checking up on Amanda and her mother and even babysitting. Who knows maybe the guy she was going out on a date with (who seemed quite the creep from what was told), will end up killing her, which would leave Amanda’s uncle Lionel, who was involved in the kidnapping and is now incarcerated, or his wife as her next of kin. Then perhaps somehow Patrick will have the opportunity to adopt her, knowing that he will provide a good, safe home. Then his girlfriend will come back and they can be a nice little family. That’s what I’d like to think anyway, and the ending lets you draw your own conclusions, such as that.