Parents' Guide to

Endings, Beginnings

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Uneven indie love triangle drama has sex, smoking, language.

Movie NR 2020 110 minutes
Endings, Beginnings Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (5):

Woodley's nuanced performance and the leading men's on-screen magnetism make for good love scenes, but this is a messy, meandering movie. There's an art to acting vulnerable and haunted, and Woodley has perfected it for most of her career, from The Spectacular Now to Big Little Lies. Her work in Drake Doremus' indie drama is yet another example of what a gifted actress she is, even if the film isn't as good as its talented cast. Daphne isn't necessarily a likable character: She repeatedly makes impulsive, selfish mistakes for the sake of spontaneity and sex. That's relatable in a young adult character but less endearing in someone older and (supposedly) wiser. And it's hard to reconcile the good performances with everything else: The pacing is slow, the dialogue is semi-improvised (and it shows), and the character arcs are disappointing.

Love triangles are a cliché, particularly when they involve best friends with contrasting personalities vying for the same person. Stan's Frank is the predictably distractingly attractive but no good womanizer who can't be bothered with beds when tables, floors, and cars will do. And Dornan's Jack is the predictably ridiculously handsome but somewhat dull writer who prefers the bed, cuddling, and talking about philosophy and feelings. Even the supposed twist in Endings, Beginnings will feel formulaic to audiences familiar with romance novels and soap operas. Doremus is capable of telling an emotional love story -- 2011's Like Crazy holds up -- but this is an underwhelming melodrama by comparison. Still, there's something to be said about quality acting, and the cast, from the three leads to Kyra Sedgwick and Wendie Malick (both underused but fantastic as Daphne's artist friend and co-dependent mother), is much better than the movie as a whole.

Movie Details

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