The Sense of an Ending 2017: Telling a life story

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The Sense of an Ending 2017
The Sense of an Ending 2017 (Source: bollyspice)

The Sense of an Ending 2017

The Sense of an Ending 2017 is a British-American mystery drama film directed by Ritesh Batra and written by Nick Payne, based on the novel of the same name by Julian Barnes. The film stars Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter, Emily Mortimer and Michelle Dockery.

The Sense of an Ending 2017: Telling a life story

Greetings again from the darkness. In 1967 Cat Stevens wrote “The First Cut is the Deepest” and the song has since been recorded by many artists (including Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crowe). The song’s title is also an apt description of director Ritesh Batra’s film version of the popular 2011 novel from Julian Barnes. It’s one man’s look back at the impact of his impulsive actions more than 50 years ago.

The Sense of an Ending 2017
The Sense of an Ending 2017 (Source: nudge-book)

“When we are young, we want emotions to be like what we read in books”. So says the narrator and lead character Tony Webster (as played by Jim Broadbent). Tony runs a tiny second hand camera store (specializing in Leica models) while leading a mostly benign life – rising daily at 7:00am, coffee with his ex-wife, and periodic errands for his pregnant daughter. One day a certified letter arrives notifying him that he has been named in the Last Will and Testament of the mother of a girl he dated while at University. And so begins the trek back through Tony’s history and memories.

Of course, a film version can never quite cut as deeply as a novel, but this preeminent cast works wonders in less than two hours. Curmudgeonly Tony is accessible and somewhat sympathetic thanks to the stellar work of Mr. Broadbent, who always seems to find the real person within his characters. Harriet Walther (“The Crown”) turns in a tremendous performance as Margaret, Tony’s most patient and quite wise ex-wife. Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey”) is their pregnant 36 year old daughter Susie, and just these three characters could have provided a most interesting story. The film’s best scenes feature the comfort and familiarity of a once-married couple, as Tony and Harriet talk through previously never mentioned topics. However, there is so much more to explore here as Tony’s thoughts bring the past splashing right smack dab into the present.

Billy Howle does a nice job as young Tony, an aspiring poet, who falls hard for the enigmatic Veronica (Freya Mavor). Complications arise when Tony spends a weekend with Veronica at her parents’ estate. It’s here that Emily Mortimer energizes things (and clouds thoughts) with minimal screen time as Veronica’s mother. It’s also around this time where new student Adrian Finn (played by Joe Alwyn of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) captures Tony’s imagination and a friendship bond is formed … only to be later shattered in a most painful manner.

The Sense of an Ending 2017
The Sense of an Ending 2017 (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

 

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There is so much going on that director Batra’s (The Lunchbox, 2013) low-key approach is often misleading. Looking back on one’s life can lead to the twisted version that our mind has edited/revised in order to make things seem better or worse – definitely more colorful – than they likely were at the time. Tony’s distorted view of history crumbles when documented proof of his actions is presented at his first face to face meeting with Veronica (the great Charlotte Rampling) in five decades. It’s at this point that regret and guilt rise up, and the only question remaining is whether this elderly man can overcome his repressed emotions and self-centeredness in order to make the best of what time he has left. Each of us has a life journey, and though few of us ever actually tell the story, there are undoubtedly numerous lessons to be had with an honest look back.

(Source: David Ferguson – imdb)

The Sense of an Ending 2017: This is a great movie!

The English film The Sense of an Ending (2017) was directed by Ritesh Batra. This excellent movie has an all-star cast. Jim Broadbent portrays Tony Webster, a divorced man who is technically retired, but who runs a camera repair shop that specializes in Leica cameras. Dame Harriet Walter plays Margaret Webster, his divorced wife. They have a grown daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery) who is a pregnant, partner-less lesbian. Charlotte Rampling plays Veronica Ford. She holds a secret that is the key to a critical moment in Tony’s life that took place 50 years earlier.

The Sense of an Ending 2017
The Sense of an Ending 2017 (Source: Straight From a Movie)

Jim Broadbent is one of the greatest actors of the late 20th and early 21st Century. I’ve seen him in many films, and he always inhabits his role as if he were, indeed, that person. Dame Margaret Webster is a fine actor, and has appeared in dozens of movies and made-for-TV specials. However, I think the only time I’ve seen her on screen was as the vile Fanny Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1995). She does a highly professional job as a embittered woman, whose life is absorbed by her business interests.

Michelle Dockery looks as if she just changed costumes and walked into this movie from Downton Abbey. She is always angry and depressed. For the record, her part is small and non-central in this film. I think she wants to broaden her range, but that didn’t happen here. Could she ever star in a comedy?

Charlotte Rampling was one of the most beautiful women in movies. At age 70, she still is one of the most beautiful women in movies. She is not only beautiful, but she is a consummate actor who is made for this role.

This film is complicated. About 75% of it takes place in present time, and about 20% takes place in flashback. (The other 5% are dream and imaginary scenes, when the present enters into the past.) You’ll have to pay close attention or you’ll miss the point. In fact, during the middle of the film, I missed the point. However, towards the end, it all came together and made sense.

(Incidentally, there’s a tedious sequence in the beginning, when Tony gets a certified letter, and he almost opens it, then he sort of opens it, then he opens it and doesn’t read it, and finally, finally reads it. The letters starts off the entire plot, so he needs to read it, and we need to know what it says. That’s the only weak part of the movie.)

We saw this film at the excellent Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. Even though it’s meant to be seen on the large screen, it will work well on the small screen. This movie has a ridiculously low IMDb rating of 6.5. It’s much better than that. This is one of those ratings that you have to ignore. Don’t miss this movie just because it’s rated so low.

(Source: Red-125 – imdb)

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