Movie Review – The Sense of an Ending

Like honey on burnt toast – sweet, but dull overall.

⭐ ⭐ ½     
Cody Fullbrook 

Older characters detailing their nostalgic past are surprisingly underutilised stories in film. Anthony Webster (Jim Broadbent) is one such person, forced to revisit key moments of his life, leading him to a series of startling revelations about himself and those in his life.

The Sense Of An Ending is incredibly intimate and sincere, with every actor naturally portraying their down-to-earth characters in a heartfelt and well shot film. I say this to sugar-coat the depressing conclusion that I wanted so badly for it to be better. Excluding clever, though rare, shots of present day Anthony walking through locations of his past, the film’s presentation is just too dry to effectively carry heavy themes such as suicide, first loves, parenting and secret affairs. The events themselves are fine, but an average story within a sluggishly paced production kills your empathy for these people who, honestly, aren’t that interesting and don’t have lives that are extremely different from most people you would know in your own life.

Even Anthony’s revelations don’t pack much of a punch.  Not only are we given no reason to care about what are, essentially, average people, but the quantity of these events and the characters they involve cripples the impact. I wasn’t able to keep track of all the characters names as they discussed their history, and the chatter of fellow viewers during these moments reassured me of my warranted ignorance. With mothers, siblings, daughters and friends to keep track of, Anthony’s intense exposition dump near the end of the film is a surprisingly necessary blessing.

I feel bad for being so harsh on The Sense Of An Ending. The cinematography and score are above average, but, unfortunately, the story alone is too confusing and dry to make it anything more than a mildly sweet film to watch to kill some time.  Just find a movie where Robin Williams has a beard and pick that instead.

The Sense of an Ending is available in Australian cinemas from May 18

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films

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