Parents' Guide to

End of Sentence

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Road trip drama is dour but solid; mild sexuality, language.

Movie NR 2020 96 minutes
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Elfar Adalsteins makes a solid feature film debut in this drama, which is well acted and well directed and has excellent production values -- it's just that the story is a bit of a bummer. End of Sentence is about a son who can't forgive his father for a terrible childhood incident he believes could have been stopped. It's easy to see why the leads signed up for the film (besides scoring a free trip to Ireland, presumably). Lerman, still known best for playing sensitive teens (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) or average kids destined for great things (Jack and Bobby, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief), shows new range as Sean, a troubled man with a chip on his shoulder who would be thrilled to have an average life. Sean is full of rage, resentment, and sadness, and Lerman is excellent conveying that. Hawkes also plays against type as a buttoned-up, highly suppressed rule follower who has doubts about his late wife's fidelity while trying to contend with his son's disprespectful attitude. It's not quite a character study, but the characters are certainly rich.

Movies about forced road trips in which battling family members eventually work out their differences aren't uncommon, but, certainly, this take on that chestnut is more dour than usual. Hopefully very few viewers can relate to the specific circumstances the main characters share. Perhaps the idea of a parent and child who have no idea how to relate, connect, or open up to one another will strike a more common chord. While the filmmakers make attempts to liven up the film and give it some humor, they can't overcome the fact that, despite how good the filmmaking elements are, the end result feels like the visual representation of depression.

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