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Film Review: ‘The Sense of an Ending’ Ponders a Vague Mystery

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – “The Sense of an Ending” is a highfalutin title, automatically putting most folks into book club mode. It is adapted from a novel, and the narrative has the same page turning-type rhythm. An old man, portrayed by Jim Broadbent, is encountering his past, while his current situation remains untenable.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The “ending” is what the story is driving towards, and it involves a past that is hard to grasp in the complexities, since it involves university days, girlfriends, best friends, parents and post adolescent anger. There is a secret among all this, which is buried under layers of feelings and the years. We are all products of our past, and what haunts us about it defines much of our emotional make up. That is the theme of “The Sense of an Ending,” and that theme is established early and is not much affected by the reveal of what actually happened.

Tony (Jim Broadbent) is long divorced and curmudgeonly, but his only daughter (Michelle Dockery) has decided to have a baby as a single women, and he is helping her through her pregnancy. His ex-wife Margaret (Harriet Walker) is still in the picture, but their relationship remains tentative. His life is further woken up when he receives notice that a diary has been left to him by the mother (Emily Mortimer) of an old lover, which involved an incident that happened to him nearly 50 years earlier in university.

In flashbacks, we learn that Tony was in a love triangle with Veronica (eventually portrayed by Charlotte Rampling) and his complex friend Adrian (Joe Alwyn). In his younger days, the stab of Veronica and Adrian pairing up caused Tony to write a hateful letter. That letter is what haunts the present day, and causes the Veronica of now not to send Tony the diary. The old man becomes obsessed with his past again, which could lead to that sense of an ending.

“The Sense of an Ending” continues its nationwide release on March 17th in Chicago. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walker, Joe Alwyn and Emily Mortimer. Screenplay adapted by Nick Payne, from the novel by Julian Barnes. Directed by Ritesh Batra. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Sense of an Ending”

Sense1
Tony (Jim Broadbent) at the Crossroads in ‘The Sense of an Ending’
Photo credit: CBS Films

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Sense of an Ending”

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