Endings, Beginnings | Review
Director: Drake Doremus
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan, Sebastian Stan, Wendie Malick, Lindsay Sloane, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kyra Sedgwick
Run Time: 110 mins
Available on: Netflix
Still stuck on a recent break-up and living in her sister's guesthouse, Daphne has sworn off dating altogether. That is until she meets Frank and Jack at her sister’s New Year’s party. With their opposite personalities, she soon finds herself involved with both of them and unable to give up either one. Eventually, the time comes when she’s forced to choose between them and it’s not an easy decision.
“I don’t think you understand who’s next in line to be loved by you...It’s you.”
Released at the start of May 2020, Endings, Beginnings follows Daphne (Shailene Woodley) on her journey through the aftermath of a traumatic break-up as we see her navigate both heartbreak and new-found love over the course of a year. The semi-improvised film, directed by Drake Doremus, is loosely based on the screenplay written alongside Jardine Libaire and stars big names Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan as Daphne, Jack and Frank.
A lot happens in the film, possibly too much for the run time. We see Daphne’s initial character introduction in a slow montage of job interviews, phone calls and flashbacks to a man we identify to be her ex-boyfriend Adrian (Matthew Gray Gubler) and to a night spent in a club. Doremus introduces Woodley’s character well, making it clear that she’s been through a breakup, quit her job and moved in with her sister all before we’re explicitly told. The quiet introduction of Daphne leads up nicely to her swearing off dating and alcohol for six months, giving us a loose understanding of the film’s storyline at the same time as we’re introduced to her friends and her sister.
Towards the start of the film, we see Daphne at her sister Billie’s (Lindsay Sloane) New Year’s party where she meets her first love interest while outside smoking alone in a corner. Her ‘suffer buddy’ Frank (Sebastian Stan) is a bit of a bad boy with no ties and who’s always up for an adventure. He makes a comedic entrance with the two characters playing off of each other’s dark humour, making his character instantly likeable and relatable to a lot of people. However, Daphne unknowingly meets his best friend on the same night. Jack (Jamie Dornan), is an established and committed writer. Becoming involved with both of them soon revealed the bond between Jack and Frank, but Daphne can't pick one.
Shailene Woodley, previously known for leading roles in films such as The Fault In Our Stars and the Divergent series, portrays Daphne well. She gives the character a closed-off yet approachable feel and shows her emotions exceptionally clearly without having to say a word. Jamie Dornan, whose previous credits include Once Upon A Time and the Fifty Shades trilogy, achieved a good balance of channelling his character’s work ethic and the more sensitive side we see when Jack is with Daphne which made it easy to appreciate them as a couple despite the fact that Daphne and Frank are just as cute. The Winter Soldier himself, Sebastian Stan, makes Frank completely adorable right from the start, both in scenes with and without Daphne and gives even the audience a hard time choosing which guy she should pick.
Several times during the film, a shot will linger on the screen while the audio has moved on, allowing the audience to see the emotion on the characters' faces while hearing their voices describing something new. There are places in the film where that technique works but it was used often enough that it became too noticeable and started to become annoying. However, the use of voiceovers throughout the film did have a positive effect on both the storyline itself and its delivery, giving Endings, Beginnings the feel of a classic romance film with a bit of a twist.
The film is definitely worth seeing if you’re a fan of romance, there’s certainly enough of that! A storyline split between Frank and Jack’s relationships with Daphne will definitely have you invested in her relationship with both men, whichever one you think she should pick. The film is available to watch on Netflix and should definitely be on your list!
“Everything might not be okay...But that's OK. You're exactly where you need to be. You are loved.”
Words by Chloe Pollard.
Trailer from YouTube - Samuel Goldwyn Films.