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#TIFF19 Review: Endings, Beginnings (Special Presentations)

September 15, 2019

By John Corrado

★ (out of 4)

Following a bad breakup, Daphne (Shailene Woodley), a typical twenty-something millennial, decides to take a six month sabbatical from both alcohol and dating as she tries to find her footing and get her life back on track. But it doesn’t last long, because shortly after announcing her hiatus from men, she meets fellow sad-sack Frank (Sebastian Stan) and his more serious best friend Jack (Jamie Dornan) at a party, and starts sleeping with both of them. Exactly what you think will happen happens.

The latest film from writer-director Drake Doremus, who has struggled to regain his footing after bursting onto the scene in 2011 with his breakout film Like Crazy, Endings, Beginnings is an incredibly dull, boring and insufferably twee indie romance that is rife with clichés. The film’s screenplay, which mixes pre-written and improvised dialogue, is often cringe-inducing, with a story that feels like bad Twilight fan fiction. The film’s insistence on referring to normal young adult searching as actual anxiety and depression also borders on insulting, treating melancholia as a cutesy character quirk.

For example, Daphne warns others to stay away due to her “radioactive sadness” and she has a Spotify playlist of sad indie pop songs titled “music to suffer to”, which are just two of the things in the film that made my eyes roll back in my head. But perhaps the biggest sin of all that Endings, Beginnings commits is that its characters are bland and nothing remotely interesting or surprising happens throughout its nearly two hour running time, and the whole thing has an ugly, washed out colour grade that made my eyes hurt. Watching it feels like an endurance test. Remember how I said Lucy in the Sky was the worst film I saw at the festival this year? Well, I take that back…

Shailene Woodley in Endings, Beginnings

Public Screenings:

Sunday, September 8th – 9:00 PM at Ryerson Theatre

Monday, September 9th – 3:00 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

Saturday, September 14th – 9:00 PM at Elgin Theatre

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