I really wish I could explain why this film is called The Sense Of An Ending, but alas, I cannot, after seeing the film in its entirety and getting no where on what the hell it’s supposed to mean I can only assume it’s one of those “slot machine” titles, the kind that don’t really appear to have anything to do with the film but maybe the writer thought jamming random words together to make something slightly sorrowful sounding would sound poignant to more elderly movie goers.
The film follows Jim Broadbent playing some divorced old misery guts with a pregnant single daughter who finds out, and this is where things get a little complicated, that the mother of an old flame has died and left him the diary of a friend of his from years ago in her will but the her daughter (the old flame) won’t let him have it, and so the rest of the film pretty much chronicles him telling his ex wife about his younger years and possibly the reason the old flame wont hand over the diary and blah, blah, blah.
This is a very boring and dull piece of work, poor old Jim does his best in a serious role but everything else around him feels thematically hostile and unpleasant, aside from the completely unoriginal narrative that jumps back and forth between the younger past and elderly present as it slowly crawls closer to some kind of grand reveal it feels like it plans to release towards the end, boring cinematography and excruciating schmaltz, it does things, little things, that just annoyed the living crap out of me.
You know how it’s advisable for a film to present a reason to care about the narrative fairly early on, well The Sense Of An Ending that doesn’t come soon enough feels like it spends its entire runtime dangling the reason you should care mere centimetres from your face without letting you have it. The plot is just Broadbent telling his ex wife about a pretty dull sounding relationship he had when he was at university and how this girl then left him for his friend and trying to understand why she won’t hand over the friend’s diary and this and that and the other and oh my God!
The film is very vague on certain details so it’s pretty clear there’s going to be a revelation at some point and when you finally get to said point you realise it’s really nothing to get excited about, some details you see coming from a mile away and others make you just want to throw things at the screen with disbelief at such lunacy, I can’t reveal the details here but they’re so unbelievably sappy and unrealistic I wanted to scream. It isn’t hiding these points because they’re clever or shocking or appropriate only for the latter part of the film, they’re hidden until the end because it seems that was the only way the filmmakers knew how to make it interesting, or at least try because the only reason I was interested as little as I was is because of how much the unveiling of these details was being dangled in my face which is cheating.
The other characters surrounding Broadbent all have this weird sarcastic and meanness to their dialogue that makes hem sound like they wish to psychologically torture him, I may be looking too deeply into it but that’s the vibe I get, Charlotte Rampling has this sadistic look on her face made worse by dialogue that sounds so smug you just want to slap her right across the face. We’re expected to find it heart breaking when a character commits suicide because he got his girlfriend’s mother pregnant and he got a nasty letter from the friend he stole the girl from, and this girl also has this sharp arrogance to her character that is supposed to come across as cool and inspiring but instead just feels mean and unpleasant, the narrative is dull, the pacing is lethal, I absolutely hated the script, he music was cheesy, there are clichés scattered about like powered shit in a pepper dispenser and I did not like this movie one bit.
Broadbent tries but it’s just not enough.