What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The End of Love is a fascinating, sometimes intense, but somewhat shiftless drama about a young actor's battle to cope with single parenthood; some of the scenes can be sad to watch. For example, when Mark talks to his son about death, it's straightforward yet disturbing; another time, his son, whom he adores, paces listlessly as Mark falls asleep on the couch, exhausted and overwhelmed; and when Mark auditions for a job with his son in tow, the dialogue is riddled with swear words and the other actors are visibly disturbed by the presence of his child. Expect some swearing, including "s--t" and "f--k." There's also some drug use (primarily weed) and drinking, as well as some making out and a scene with a gun.
What's the story?
Mark (Mark Webber) is a single father to adorable Isaac (Isaac Webber). Mark is down on his luck, barely able to hold it together as he struggles to find acting work. Isaac's mother, Mark's girlfriend, has died, and Mark is all the boy has -- but he's fraying at the seams. He cares about his son but is having trouble staying responsible all the time, considering his huge financial worries and his sometimes overwhelming grief and guilt. His old friends, including actor Michael Cera (playing himself), are far more successful than he is, and his roommates are tired of helping him financially. The gorgeous owner of a playspace (Shannyn Sossamon), herself a single mom, likes Mark for what he is, but Mark balks when he becomes attached too quickly.
Is it any good?
The best acting award in this film goes to Isaac Webber, who plays Mark's son. Of course, the young co-star's natural way around Webber and the camera may have something to do with the fact that Webber is really his dad, but he still deserves plenty of kudos. (As does Webber for the way he stays in character while juggling the demands of a co-actor who thinks of him as daddy.)
THE END OF LOVE is meditative and interesting, and there's something poignant about watching Mark go through the day barely holding it together, aimless but not despicably neglectful (though he pushes it at a few points), yearning for a break (financial and otherwise), and in love with his son but not with the life that being left behind has given him. Nonetheless, the movie feels like it should have more dramatic tension than it does. For the most part, it's simply gloomy, downcast, and inert.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about how The End of Love depicts Mark's life as a single dad and an actor needing to work and pay the bills. Does it seem authentic? Is he a sympathetic character? Why or why not?
Is Mark a good parent or a bad parent? What is the movie saying about parenting?
Talk to your kids about how Mark explains death to his toddler. Does it seem appropriate?