Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Endless Love [Brief]

Film #526

THE PLOT

The story of a privileged girl and a charismatic boy whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart.

THE REVIEW: Endless Love is quite a conservative and restricted film in many ways. It follows traditional tropes in the romance genre without adding a new spin or fresh take on character’s perspectives. Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) is the young, inexperienced teenager who finds her first love the summer before she’s about to leave for college. Her naïveté is curious, and translates perfectly into many awkward moments. This is a compliment to the film: Jade and David’s (Alex Pettyfer) romance should be awkward and their performances nail this. But while the relationships themselves are almost fully realized (including those between Jade and her parents), the film doesn’t let these breathe and flourish.

The film’s pacing is quite slow and the cinematography is full of static, locked-off shots, that are generally on the medium-to-wide side. There are close-ups and reaction shots, but they seem to be downplayed which takes away from the emotion in certain scenes. It is almost as if the intent of the film is to portray the atmosphere of high-school seniors during their last summer before college. However, the focus should stick with Jade and David’s relationship and the obstacles they must overcome (mainly her father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood)). Other films cover the high-school/college transition and party scene better (pick one of the recent Hangover-type films — 21 & Over or Project X) and are a fairly well-defined genre of their own.

What Endless Love is missing is a clear focus or direction. Parts of the story are there and the characters themselves could be great, but they are restricted by a lust for beauty and imagery rather than substance. And that is perhaps what is most shocking. Jade and David’s relationship might not make much sense and seem purely superficial (like the film itself), but there’s also an endearing aspect where the two do care deeply for one another. Lose the preachy “here’s what love is supposed to be” monologues (which we already observe through actions) and focus more on characters and relationships, and Endless Love could be a truly great film. As it stands though, it’s one that will merely be lost in time.

THE RATING: 3 out of 5