End of Sentence

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
End of Sentence Movie Poster Image
Road trip drama is dour but solid; mild sexuality, language.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes of reconciliation and keeping faith in loved ones.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The story is about three people who are trying to work through their trauma; they sometimes hurt each other, and they sometimes help heal each other -- but no one is an obvious role model. 

Violence

Main characters are survivors of domestic abuse. Slapping and shoving. A punch is thrown. Animal attack. Character briefly seen in the late stages of cancer before dying.

Sex

A couple makes out with the clear intention of having sex.

Language

"F--k" used a few times. Middle-finger gesture, portrayed comically.

Consumerism

An Audi is a plot point.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character gets drunk after slamming beers; the results aren't appealing. Several scenes take place in a bar. Recurring mentions of an alcoholic who was a mean, sadistic drunk. A young man smokes cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that End of Sentence is a road trip drama featuring characters who are survivors of domestic abuse. Recently released prison inmate Sean (Logan Lerman) carries anger and resentment toward his meek father, Frank (John Hawkes), for allowing Sean to be victimized by another relative as a child. Despite their strained relationship, the father and son are traveling together to fulfill the final wish of Frank's late wife/Sean's mother, who's briefly seen in the late stages of cancer. During their travels, Sean falls for someone, and there's passionate making out and sexual implications. The men meet family members at a pub, where quite a bit of drinking occurs. A troubled character gets drunk, smokes briefly, engages in some shady but not totally illegal activity, and occasionally curses ("f--k"). Violence includes a fistfight and a punch to the face. 

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What's the story?

In END OF SENTENCE, Frank Fogle (John Hawkes) sets out to fulfill his late wife's last request: to travel with their son, Sean (Logan Lerman), through her homeland of Ireland to scatter her ashes. When Sean is released from prison, he doesn't want to have anything to do with his father, whom he blames for many of his difficulties in life. But when Frank offers a bargain that will help Sean set up a new life, away from his dad, Sean reluctantly agrees.

Is it any good?

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 BobbyPercy 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different ways in which End of Sentence's three central characters dealt with their trauma. How do they compare in their approaches?

  • What message do you think the filmmakers want you to take away from watching?

  • How are drinking and smoking depicted? Do you think they're glamorized?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

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