Sense of an Ending – ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review
How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to tell us our life is not our life. It is just a story we’ve told about our lives. A story about our lives told to others, but mainly to ourselves.
One of the closing lines of the film sums the story up so well. Jim Broadbent plays Tony Webster, a man who has retired to run a small camera repair shop in order to keep himself busy. He’s divorced, but on good and friendly terms with his ex-wife Mararet (Harriet Walter). Their daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery) is pregnant and close to giving birth. One day he receives a letter from a solicitor telling him he is owed an inheritance from the mother (Emily Mortimer) of an old girlfriend Veronica (played by both Charlotte Rampling in the present day and Freya Mavor as the young Veronica). Tony tells us a story about his first love (mainly by relaying it to his last love), how they met, and how they broke up. About meeting her family, and about meeting his best friends in school. About how his friend Adrian fell in love with Veronica and about how he committed suicide. Veronica’s mother Sarah, has left Tony Adrian’s diary in her will. How did it come to be in her possession? Why did she leave it to Tony? Why is Veronica preventing him from getting it? As Tony recalls the past, and reacquaints himself with Veronica and other old school friends, the blanks are filled in, and things are not how he had remembered it, and his distorted view of history takes its true shape once evidence of the past is revealed.
This was an interesting look at how we remember the events of our own lives. We often “mis-remember” things, or embellish or omit details, especially when dealing with sensitive or painful memories. When I tell the stories, I’m pretty sure everything was my ex-wife’s fault, but if I think back and concentrate really hard, I probably can remember doing one or two things wrong too… That’s kind of what happens with The Sense of an Ending, Tony remembers a version of events that paint himself in a better light, not that it has really harmed anyone to this point, it has just been the version of history he’s been living with, and that allows him to sleep soundly at night. As we learn the whole truth (and what we assume is the actual truth) from the film, we see that there are things that went on that he didn’t even know about, but we don’t see Tony as being an evil person, who has lied his way through life. With his eyes opened, it actually becomes a coming of age story for this sixty year old man who learns how to deal with his past, and he tries to better himself in his own future.
The story was very well written, and was based on the book of the same title by Julian Barnes. It was a compact tale, but I can see how some viewers could find it a little hard to follow with the flashbacks, memories and mis-remembered memories. Jim Broadbent is tremendous as Tony and quietly delivers a powerful yet subtle performance. His Tony is a bit of a curmudgeon, but still likeable and relatable. I also really liked Freya Mavor (The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun) as the young Veronica, I just wish she was on screen a bit more. Charlotte Rampling was also excellent as the rather aloof, and somewhat nasty older Veronica. Director Ritesh Batra previously directed The Lunchbox, which I also quite enjoyed.
Quite enjoyable, and surprisingly not that heavy handed even though I guess the takeaway from the film is that we should all take an honest look back at our own lives.
Bottom Line: Hey, I’m finally caught up on my reviews!
Posted on 17-08-28, in 3.5 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged based on a book, Billy Howle, Charlotte Rampling, Emily Mortimer, Freya Mavor, Harriet Walter, Jim Broadbent, Julian Barnes, Michelle Dockery, Ritesh Batra. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.