2019 TIFF Movie Review: ENDINGS, BEGINNINGS (USA 2019)

Endings, Beginnings Poster

A 30-something woman navigating through love and heartbreak over the course of one year. During that time, she will unlock the secrets to her life in a sudden turn of events and in the most surprising of places.


Drake Doremus

ENDINGS charts disappointments in relationships from a female point of view.  An idealistic woman (Shailene Woodley) attempts to get her life on track financially and romantically, but gets caught in a love triangle with a free-spirited bad boy (Sebastian Stan) and his more stable, scholarly best friend (Jamie Dornan).  

With little money, she lives in her sister’s guesthouse, she regularly witnesses her sibling and her brother-in-law fighting, which only exacerbates the once-idealistic Daphne’s growing despair regarding long-term love.  One can tell that she is going to pay for playing the two men, which she does.  But the way she gets everything back in focus is questionable especially when there are no catalyst put into by the script.  Worst is director Doremus’ fondest for closeups with the background often blurry.  

The trouble is that most of the film’s images are generally more blurry than usual making the production values look cheap.  The film is aimed at demonstrating how one can still come out strong despite total hopelessness all round.  Woodley plays the part despite the unconvincing script.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9147456/videoplayer/vi1420214041?ref_=tt_ov_vi

Film Review: ADRIFT (USA 2017)

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Adrift Poster

Based on the true story of survival, a young couple’s chance encounter leads them first to love, and then on the adventure of a lifetime as they face one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.


ADRIFT is a sea survival romance drama based on the true story of a couple caught in a devastating storm while sailing.  With minimum food and water and relying on each other’s love to survive, ADRIFT is the story, told from Tami (Shailene Woodley), the girl’s point of view.  Woodley shot to fame playing the daughter in Alexander Payne’s THE DESCENDANTS with George Clooney.  Besides having the female lead role, Woodley also has credit as a producer.

An American and Englishman with his boat sailing around the world meet in Tahiti.  Love at first sight, it appears to be after a date night.  The two take on a task of delivering a yacht to San Diego.  

The next scene is the disaster scene where Tami is below a flooded boat screaming and looking for Richard.  It is evident that they have survived a storm that had devastated their boat and Richard must be somewhere overboard.  She finds him and pulls him on board.  But he has a big gaping leg wound and broken ribs.  They spend 40 odd days ADRIFT.  She learns a bit about sailing and the film stresses that it is her love for Richard that saves the two.

At the start of the movie, it is stressed that the film is based on a true story.  This does not mean that what transpires on screen following is all true.  What really happened is revealed at the end during the closing credits.  As this is the major surprise of the film (though it can not be officially considered a plot twist), the fact will not be revealed in the review.  But stay for the closing credits if you watch the film.

ADRIFT is a romance set in a disaster setting  not a disaster movie in a romantic setting.  This results in an awfully saccharine sweet setting, all too good to be believable less true.  For a couple surviving for more than month with hardly any food and water, they only argue once.  Thy are still lovey-dubbey all the way, she clinging on to him half the time despite his broken ribs.  Cans of food and even alcohol pop up from hidden areas below the deck at regular intervals for the couple to survive.  There is even enough beer for the couple, in Tami’s own words “to party.”  Fortunately, the audience is spared from watching any drunken frolicking.  There are no scenes involving both of them having to urinate or taking a number 2.  At least the audience is spared from Woodley having perfect hair and make-up during the storm, as in the awful recent film KAYAK TO KLEMTU, where the lead always shows up with perfect make-up despite its wilderness setting.

The storm scenes with Tami and Richard scrambling around the boat look authentic enough.  CGI effects are so advanced these days it is hard to tell when CGI effects are used or the real thing with real water and a blowing fan.

The couple’s chemistry helps the film’s story.  Both are young, attractive and share the same goal – wanting independence.

One might hate ADRIFT for the Hollywood style romantic storytelling, but for those romantics who love this kind of thing ADRIFT will not disappoint.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdMP4sWc71M

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