#SUNDANCE: “HOW IT ENDS”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
On the day an asteroid is set to obliterate the world, Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) decides to head to a friend’s end of the world party. But before she gets there, she intends to right her regrets. With her metaphysical younger self (Cailee Spaeny) beside her, the two walk around the deserted LA Hills. Along the way, they run into strangers and friends seeing how they’re spending their last living day.
How It Ends has a funny premise and ample amounts of comedian cameos, such as Fred Armisen, Charlie Day, Nick Kroll and more. One of the greatest scenes involves Lister-Zones visiting her ‘psychic’ friend, played by Olivia Wilde. The two talk over one another in their attempt to make amends. Lister-Jones and Wilde have perfect comedic timing together and are delight to watch. However, this dramedy steers more often into drama territory rather than comedy. In these cameos there are laughs to be had. But when we are back in the central storyline there are dramatic topics discussed.
Particularly the main lesson which is learning to love yourself. This beautiful message is touchingly brought to the forefront with the sweet performances from Lister-Jones and Spaeny. The two have amazing chemistry that perfectly resembles the intimate, frustrating and funny understanding we have with ourselves. It’s Spaeny who’s the true scene-stealer as the younger, free-spirited Liza who encourages her adult-version to love and care for herself.
How It Ends is at its best while walking around the streets of LA and randomly running into strangers and friends. We witness how everyone’s idea of a perfect last day is different. Some want to do drugs, others clean and garden, some seek retribution and others perform their craft. The one thing never experimented with is the complete fear of knowing today is the day they’re going to die. Each character is in a state of calm because they knew and planned for this. But it might’ve been funny to see someone losing their minds.
Overall, How It Ends is loaded with comedic cameos and has charming performances from its co-leads.
How It Ends screens at Sundance:
Live Premiere: January 29 at 6 PM (EST)
On-Demand (available for 24 hours): January 31 at 10 AM (EST)