CBS Films | Release Date: March 10, 2017
5.9
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Mixed or average reviews based on 21 Ratings
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8
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4
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3
GreatMartinMar 17, 2017
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Like many English dramas “The Sense of an Ending” start off slow, takes it's time getting to the know the players. Unfortunately there are too many characters in the past,the 20+ year olds of today’s 60+ year olds that look too much alike without enough emphasis on their names to keep them straight. This becomes very important to the denouement. The film is a look at meditation, memory and aging about what we remember and what really took place. We follow Tony Webster—a very solid performance by Jim Broadbent—who is taken back to the past by an unexpected notice that he has received a bequest involving money and a diary from a friend at collage from 40 years ago who committed suicide. Tony is divorced, owns a very small camera shop and has a lesbian daughter about to give birth without a partner. He is friendly with his ex, played by Harriet Walker and attends breathing classes and is in attendance when the daughter, played by Michelle Dockery, gives birth.

Tony as a young man, played by Billy Howle, has a puppy love crush on Veronica, played by Freya Mavor, who will only go so far sexually with him. He spends a weekend with her family including Veronica’s mother, Emily Mortimer, father, played by James Wilby and brother played by Edward Holcraft. He, also, has a strong attraction to classmate Adrian Finn, played by Andrew Buckley. Veronica later pairs up with Adrian and Tony sends her a vicious letter which the now older Veronica, played by Charlotte Rampling, shows to Tony and telling him that she burned the diary. This leads up to the denouement which became more of a mystery to me and others I spoke to in the theatre auditorium afterwards.

“The Sense of an Ending” is a quiet, slow movie with many flashbacks that only confuses the narrative. Though the flashbacks are themselves easy to follow it is those cast in the younger roles, mainly the 5 males that make for the confusion. Also, and this may or may not be a spoiler, who are the parents of the child, not the lesbian’s child, which is a pivotal point of the whole film

The Sense of an Ending Trailer

Like many English dramas “The Sense of an Ending” start off slow, takes it time getting to the pay-off while giving you time to get to the know the characters. Unfortunately there are too many characters in the past, the 20+ year olds of today’s 60+ year olds that look too much alike without enough emphasis on their names to keep them straight. This becomes very important when the denouement is made.

The film is a look at meditation, memory and aging basically about what we remember and what really took place. We follow Tony Webster—a very solid performance by Jim Broadbent—who is taken back to the past by an unexpected notice that he has received a bequest involving money and a diary from a friend at collage from 40 years ago who committed suicide. Tony is divorced, has a very small camera shop and has a lesbian daughter about to give birth without a partner. He is friendly with his ex, played by Harriet Walker and attends breathing classes and is in attendance when the daughter, played by Michelle Dockery, gives birth.

Tony as a young man, played by Billy Howle, has a puppy love crush on Veronica, played by Freya Mavor, who will only go so far sexually with him. He spends a weekend with her family including Veronica’s mother, Emily Mortimer, father, played by James Wilby and brother played by Edward Holcraft. He, also, has a strong attraction to classmate Adrian Finn, played by Andrew Buckley. Veronica later pairs up with Adrian and Tony sends her a vicious letter which the now older Veronica, played by Charlotte Rampling, shows to Tony and telling him that she burned the diary. This leads up to the denouement which became more of a mystery to me and others I spoke to in the theatre auditorium afterwards.

“The Sense of an Ending” is a quiet, slow movie with many flashbacks that only confuses the narrative. Though the flashbacks are themselves easy to follow it is those cast in the younger roles, mainly the 5 males that make for the confusion. Also, and this may or may not be a spoiler, who are the parents of the child, not the lesbian’s child, which is a pivotal point of the whole film
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2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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9
foxgroveApr 28, 2017
Thoroughly engrossing drama based on a good story by Julian Barnes has some top class British actors giving great characterisations. Jim Broadbent shakes off his usual predictable mannerisms and is actually very good here and the story keepsThoroughly engrossing drama based on a good story by Julian Barnes has some top class British actors giving great characterisations. Jim Broadbent shakes off his usual predictable mannerisms and is actually very good here and the story keeps you guessing right up to the poignant end. It's always good to see Charlotte Rampling on screen and the film also makes very good use of familiar London locations. A small gem of a film which is my favourite of the year so far. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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4
ThomassAug 20, 2017
Watched it on pay per view w/friend. We spent about 25 minutes trying to figure out all the connections and we never got clear. Went to Wikipedia and its still not clear. I hope this is not a trend...giving you not quite enough info.When theWatched it on pay per view w/friend. We spent about 25 minutes trying to figure out all the connections and we never got clear. Went to Wikipedia and its still not clear. I hope this is not a trend...giving you not quite enough info.When the emotional climax took place wtf? Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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7
BHBarryMar 26, 2017
“The Sense of an Ending” is based on the prize winning novel written by Julian Barnes. Adapted for the screen by Nick Payne and directed by Ritesh Batra, the film boasts a stellar cast headed by Jim Broadbent, Helen Walter, Michelle Dockery,“The Sense of an Ending” is based on the prize winning novel written by Julian Barnes. Adapted for the screen by Nick Payne and directed by Ritesh Batra, the film boasts a stellar cast headed by Jim Broadbent, Helen Walter, Michelle Dockery, Emily Mortimer and Charlotte Rampling. Unfortunately, not even a star studded cast giving wonderful performances can save this film from the difficulty the audience experiences as it tries to follow this complicated story told in flashback and present day events. There are just too many characters attempting to go in and out of the lives of the others to make this film easy to comprehend as it weaves its way in and out of the decades it spans. Even the most difficult and lengthy films can be enjoyable to watch and to understand but this one is neither.
Recognizing the tremendous talent one sees on the screen it is difficult to give the film less than a 2 and ½ star rating although the reader should be warned that 2 or 3 cups of regular coffee might be needed to help his or her concentration process.
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1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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5
SpangleJul 16, 2017
As the latest entry into the indie sub-genre that is "afternoon leisure watch for grandma and grandpa", Ritesh Batra's The Sense of an Ending is alright. Playing like the elderly version of a young adult film, but looking at those moments inAs the latest entry into the indie sub-genre that is "afternoon leisure watch for grandma and grandpa", Ritesh Batra's The Sense of an Ending is alright. Playing like the elderly version of a young adult film, but looking at those moments in retrospect rather than living them again, the film is a nostalgic, regretful, and largely pleasant experience. It is a film with a good mystery element to it, even if it takes far too long to get there and has a twist that was rather obvious the moment a particular character was introduced. Toss in a "what does it all mean" monologue at the end and The Sense of an Ending is certainly a film that feels adapted from a novel. Trying to capture everything that is in there, thus accidentally turning itself into an abbreviated version of the source material, the film adaptation is rather messy and unfortunately lackluster.

Set in the present day with flashbacks to Tony's (Jim Broadbent) time at university, The Sense of an Ending often lacks flow in its flashback transition, but aside from that, this flashback element is often what makes the film so engrossing. Without, the film just be about Tony trying to get a diary from ex-girlfriend Veronica (Charlotte Rampling) that was willed to him by her late mother Sarah (Emily Mortimer), while he also deals with the pregnancy of daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery). Thus, not particularly interesting. By introducing the flashbacks, Batra tosses in that element of mystery. Dating Veronica in school until his best friend Adrian (Joe Alwyn) steals her from him, Tony writes a scathing letter to the both of them only for Adrian to slit his wrists not long after. Now, confronted with a letter he had long forgotten, Tony must come to grips with whether or not he is responsible in some way for Adrian's death and Veronica's unhappiness. Given that the diary willed to him is Adrian's, Tony sees it as his only chance to get clarity from this moment in his life.

As suspected, the main attraction here is often the actors. It is what grabbed my attention initially and the cast certainly all deliver. In a rare starring role Jim Broadbent is not as kooky as he often become accustomed, but is actually a rather sturdy element of the film. He really captures the essence of Tony and shows how, after putting this time in his life out of his mind, he is still embodying many aspects of that troubled young man. He gets easily agitated and begins stalking Veronica to try and get the diary, after of course getting quite agitated with the law firm handling Sarah's will. Broadbent plays these convincingly enough that it becomes clear he is not just some old man prone to fits of rage based on perceived injustice, but a troubled man who has a lot of anger and confusion stored within him. Alongside him, Charlotte Rampling gets a disappointingly minimal amount of screentime, but similarly shows that the scattered and decidedly odd Veronica has never really changed. She is still quite impulsive and all over the place, eluding definition. Rampling captures this flighty element perfectly and serves as a perfect counter to Broadbent.

However, the film is far too on-the-nose. At the end of the film, Tony just goes through a monologue where he explains how it is true that he is nostalgic. However, that is not a bad thing. Nostalgia is good as long as one does not get lost in that dream world. Furthermore, it is only logical that he would not know elements around Adrian's suicide or other events that happened in his life, as his history is merely a story he tells himself. Coming right out and saying these things, director Ritesh Batra leaves no chance for any mild interpretation of the meaning of the film and instead just spoon feeds the audience. Its on-the-nose and exposition-laden nature is really what makes it feel like a young adult film but for retirees with the film feeling obligated to do a lot of hand holding to get its audience across the finish line. Additionally, the film is far too wistful and nostalgic. It is a film that far too often plays like a cliche "old man tries to make amends" story, instead of focusing o its compelling mystery element. The two often go hand-in-hand, but given the focus on the setting right of things with Veronica and flippant reveal of the secret behind their past together, it is clear that the film is one that is more concerned with allowing Tony to make things right than anything else. Toss in that spoon feeding at the end and it is a film that never really clicks with the on-the-nose treatment of its themes and the wrong focus for the story and characters. Had it focused on the mystery side with Tony trying to uncover what had been long ago lost to the passage of time, The Sense of an Ending could have been a far better film. As it stands, it is just a remorseful and often dull film about an old man wishing he could go back and change all of the things he did wrong to Adrian and Veronica out of guilt.
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1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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4
TVJerryMar 20, 2017
The title of this movie lends itself to jokes about the film's indulgent tedium. The script describes Jim Broadbent's character as a curmudgeon and they're never especially sympathetic. As he delves the memories and meanings of a long-agoThe title of this movie lends itself to jokes about the film's indulgent tedium. The script describes Jim Broadbent's character as a curmudgeon and they're never especially sympathetic. As he delves the memories and meanings of a long-ago relationship , we see that he's always been a bit of a dick. Even so, we're forced to watch the slow revelation of his past, while not particularly caring about the man. Broadbent and the rest of the cast are fine, but the restrained storytelling and tame emotions will only be of interest to those who enjoy a mature character study in the studied manner of a novel (guess what…the film is based on one). Expand
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
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6
Brent_MarchantMar 18, 2017
Strangely enough, an ending is precisely what this meandering, bloated, self-important melodrama needs, but its lack thereof, one might suppose, aptly enables the film to authentically live up to the essence of its title. It's trulyStrangely enough, an ending is precisely what this meandering, bloated, self-important melodrama needs, but its lack thereof, one might suppose, aptly enables the film to authentically live up to the essence of its title. It's truly unfortunate also that the picture features a bevy of excellent performances in search of a story in which to place them. Ultimately, however, fine acting and stylish production values aren't enough to save a film that fundamentally doesn't bring its narrative to satisfying or even ironically ambiguous closure. Expand
0 of 3 users found this helpful03
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8
DawdlingPoetNov 23, 2021
This is a slow moving drama about grief, loss and self reflection. It includes references to suicide, so I thought I should point that out in terms of it being a trigger warning. Its quite nostalgic and somewhat thought provoking and JimThis is a slow moving drama about grief, loss and self reflection. It includes references to suicide, so I thought I should point that out in terms of it being a trigger warning. Its quite nostalgic and somewhat thought provoking and Jim Broadbent gives a particularly good performance as the main character, Tony Webster, who recalls his younger days and wonders what may have been. Its not especially maudlin (i.e. overly sentimental), which I appreciated as I'm not really a big fan of over the top sentimental type films, I have to say. This is a fairly understated film.

I found this a quite engrossing and thoughtful watch and would recommend it to others.
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