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Anchored by a strong starring performance by Jim Broadbent, The Sense of an Ending proves consistently gripping even as it skims the narrative surface of its literary source material.
All Critics (116)
| Top Critics (27)
| Fresh (88)
| Rotten (28)
While the lack of answers may frustrate some, the assured direction of Batra and an affecting performance from Broadbent make this a film to remember.
All this couldn't be further in spirit from the source material, where part of the point is that the "real" Tony remains a mystery, even or especially to himself.
This is a mature film that asks us to bring a lot of ourselves to it.
Broadbent and Walter are perfectly paired...
Watching The Sense of an Ending, I was struck by the realization that this should have been a good movie.
Director Ritesh Batra's adaptation of Julian Barnes's my-theme-is-memory novel serves as a grand showcase for star Jim Broadbent as a sour old soul who is ever so gently forced to reckon with his past.
I loved the restrained grammar of this film.
Despite a great deal of faithfulness to its source material...the whole film comes across as rather clinical and unaffecting; all of this is strange considering the emotions at play.
Director Ritesh Batra...has created another sensitive yet unflinching story of emotional connections not quite being made and the quiet devastation that causes. It's compelling.
It's a film filled with slow-burning intrigue, and offers a nice mystery plot to the usual 'slice of life' drama.
Ultimately, this film presents a high level of drama in a distinctly low-key way, and the result is refreshing but still very affecting.
It's an unreliable protagonist and Jim Broadbent excels in this role as someone looking back. It is the younger actors that draw you in.
Not bad for a one off watch. I liked the idea but it fell a little flat. There was quite a lot of truth in the idea of the film.
The sense of a compromise: this looks something that started out with an idea of substance and was then taken over by lesser considerations. Its theme is how we see ourselves, and how blind or wrong we can be: an ageing, self-satisfied man finds out, maybe in time to change. Had the film made full use of its fine cast and drilled down into that problem, it might have delivered its message effectively. But it gets distracted - if you have the likes of Broadbent and Rampling, why waste them on long silences and vacant, unsatisfying dialogue? It resorts instead to unnecessary twists and incongruent bits of prurience. The latter is an annoyingly frequent feature of otherwise good quality British shows, and this one was not immune. The subject of sex is dealt with clumsily - the infantile lasciviousness of the girl's family, the unlikely and ambiguous car back seat scene, the tossing in of gratuitous references to the genitals including an awkward one about childbirth, which seems anatomically wrong in light of the preceding childbirth scenes. There are gaps and non-sequitors: was the girl's mother really such a foolish character, or was that how the boy saw her? Why didn't his smart university friends pull him up on his poor behaviour, and did he cause the tragedy, or not? Just as the slow-paced story seems, finally, to be approaching a reasonable denouement, it doubles back and relies for its ending by talking about events between characters whom we never see actually meeting in the film. This destroys what momentum it had. The worst of the prurience however is the explicit and detailed discussion of the method by which a youth took his own life, the information delivered by a likeable boy: this is utterly uncalled for, and inadvisable in circumstances where there is concern about rates of youth suicide and the publication of methods. Families might well attend this unawares, thinking that it will have an worthwhile discussion of some big life issues: the mature and stellar cast, and the title promised as much. Not as intelligent as it looks. And mind your young folk.
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