#REVIEW: “THE SENSE OF AN ENDING”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
It is the great truth of life that we are all the heroes of our own stories. It is only natural that we assume we play an equally important part in the lives of the people around us. So, when a missing puzzle piece appears, we insert ourselves into that space and assume narrative will form around our preconceived notions. In The Sense of an Ending, Tony Webster is forced to reevaluate his life when a missing piece of his past reemerges and alters his quiet existence.
Tony (Jim Broadbent) receives a letter from the mother of an ex-girlfriend bequeathing him the diary of an old school mate. Attempting to track down the diary unleashes a series of painful memories Tony shares with his ex-wife Margaret (Harriet Walter) and his pregnant daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery). By the time he is able to track down his ex-girlfriend Veronica, Tony is certain that he single-handedly ruined both her life and that of his former best friend.
If Broadbent is the heart of this Film, then Charlotte Rampling’s Veronica is its firm spine. His remorseful retelling of their shared history is tinged heavily not only with regret but a selfish desire to needed by someone again, even if only in his memories. Rampling on the other hand, has no intention of indulging her former lover and has clearly moved on since her university days. Both are at their best when sharing the screen and her ennui can compete with his earnest determination to be relevant again.
Ritesh Batra, who directed TIFF ’13 favourite The Lunchbox, is at his strongest during the flashback scenes. Billy Howle (who looks shockingly like Eddie Redmayne) and Freya Mavor are perfectly cast as the younger versions of Tony and Veronica. Freya, in particular, is just as cold and detached as Rampling, giving credibility to their character’s storyline.
When Julian Barnes won the Man Booker Prize in 2011, it became an almost forgone conclusion The Sense of an Ending would become a Movie. Although Barnes is not a screenwriter, one cannot help but speculate about a Movie penned by the author himself. Less telling and more showing or perhaps less self-involved navel gazing and more character development.
The Movie’s dénouement may seem a tad too pat to merely be The Sense of an Ending, but it will leave audiences satisfied they understand the boy Tony Webster was and the man he became.
Elevation Pictures release The Sense of an Ending on Friday, March 17, 2017.