CBS Films | Release Date: March 10, 2017
5.9
USER SCORE
Mixed or average reviews based on 21 Ratings
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Positive:
9
Mixed:
8
Negative:
4
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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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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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