'Endings, Beginnings' features a talented cast who are unfortunately overshadowed by a mediocre film that tries to showcase a realistic love only to fall flat.
The film follows Shailene Woodley as Daphne, a woman in her 30s who has abruptly left both her long-term job and partner. Daphne finds herself living in her married half-sister’s pool house of her while trying to deal with the emotional turmoil of losing employment and love. Daphne decides to swear off both men and alcohol for six months attempting to force a life reset but is hit with temptation in the form of Sebastian Stan as Frank and Jamie Dorman as Jack.
Now, I decided to watch this movie for one reason: the cast. I mean c’mon, the three main cast members are all recognisable and talented in their own right, so a film starring all three of them has to be good right? Unfortunately, not so much. The chemistry between the three leads is one of the saving graces of the entire film but even it can’t make up for the questionable dialogue and frankly boring tone of the entire movie.
Upon the characters’ first meeting, each man is instantly infatuated with the mysterious, sad girl that is Daphne. Frank is a charismatic, brooding guy who immediately hits her with the line ‘Who are you hiding from in that dress?’, which I mean, sets up his character very well. They talk about their suffering and essentially brood together. Very soon after, Daphne meets Jack, an acquaintance from her past. He is a good-natured, Irish writer. The next day, both men get her number somehow and continue the flirting online. Don’t even get me started on the text graphics, it’s not a good look. As you might expect, Daphne becomes caught in choosing between the two men. They each offer her polar opposite things, Jack is the sensible, good guy and Frank is the lively charmer. Oh, and surprise, they happen to be best friends because why not.
Whilst this idea of a loose, more realistic love triangle seems like it would make an incredible watch, it just feels dull. The chemistry is there, I mean there’s like three separate, very intimate sex scenes within the film which all made me very uncomfortable, but chemistry alone wasn’t enough.
A big problem was the main character, Daphne. The film is set up so we as an audience are always placed in the room, we are a third party looking in at all the events that unfold. We’re in the room watching and because of this we never fully connect with Daphne as a character. We don’t get an inside look at who she is, to us she’s just a brooding artistic who has lost her way. I should add, Shailene does a great job in the role, it’s not so much her acting but the character itself.
The actual look of the film isn’t bad, it’s seeped of colour and feels a little outdated but it’s not bad. The main issues revolve around the script and the characters, it’s just not that engaging. I found myself disengaged in the characters and their story very early on. At times there was nothing going on and at other times there was way too much. There was a baby plot line that appeared out of nowhere towards the end, Daphne seemed to decide that a baby was a chance at a new life which, I guess? You shouldn’t need a baby to motivate you to get your life in order but you do you Daphne. Perhaps, the director wanted a more realistic look at love, it’s messy and it isn’t always loud (this film was so quiet) and in that regard, it was a solid film.
Overall, it’s definitely a film you can sit through if you want to watch a tragic love triangle between three very attractive leads but it’s not one I’d recommend.