7th August 2020 (UK VOD Premiere)
A 30-something woman navigating through love and heartbreak over the course of one year. During that time, she will unlock the secrets to her life in a sudden turn of events and in the most surprising of places.
Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan, Sebastian Stan
Endings, Beginnings is hard to talk about. Not for any particularly positive reason either. It’s neither complex or bold, and whilst it certainly isn’t a bad film, it’s unfortunately easily labelled a boring one.
At whose feet or where does the blame lie then? That may be the next reasonable question to ask. But it’s one I’m unsure of. Is it the script? Not overtly. It’s peppered with some amusing and very lifelike natural dialogue. Is it the performances? Well Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Descendants) is wonderful. As for the two males that complete the films love triangle (played by Jamie “50 Shades” Dornan and Sebastian “Winter Soldier” Stan), they certainly can’t be called interesting characters but their performances don’t offend. Is it the direction? Again most likely not. There’s an excessive use of blur on background lighting that makes much of the film look ethereal or otherworldly. I don’t fully understand the purpose of this choice but it does create a kind of melancholic mood which is fitting of the sombre atmosphere.
The only true reason for the films failure for me that I can place my finger on is woven into its complete design. This is a story about a lost women, numb from the breakdown of a significant relationship, who doesn’t know what she wants. Does she actually want another relationship? With who? Jamie Dornan or Sebastian Stan? On paper this sounds like an acceptable cause for drama, but what Endings, Beginnings presents is something much more realistic but by consequence, much more dull. The majority of the film is simply people being sad. The film never gets over that, and whilst films don’t always have to be fun, they do have to be interesting or engaging. This is not one of those films as commendable as it’s attempts at realism may be. Events in our lives aren’t conveniently sequenced in a three act structure and not all breakups are filled with seething drama or triumphant defiance. Most of the time life just continues the way it always does. Uninterestingly.
It’s a commendable departure from conventional romantic dramas (although it’s ending goes back to formula), but the film feels lost along the way, much like its protagonist. Any supposed purpose feels lukewarm at best, and much of its ideas are half baked. It has an ending sure. It has a beginning. But where’s the middle?
Shailene Woodley is wonderful
Some nice naturalistic dialogue
About as fun as a real breakup
Dull love interests