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Endless Love – Movie Review

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Endless Love – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

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Cheesy romance movies are not going away any time soon and it takes a special kind of film to produce something decent even as it digs through the excess of corn that fills the screen. Endless Love is one such case, a movie that has the hallmarks of a silly TV-movie and yet, somehow it manages to work. This is hardly great cinema that will be remembered in a couple of weeks time and yet there is a certain charm and actual dimensionality that allows it to hit the right notes for a story like this. After the forced humour displayed in That Awkward Moment and this Valentine Day’s other big release About Last Night, this is strangely refreshing.

The romantic leads are right out of an old Disney movie, with love coming right at first sight and David filling the role of the suave Prince Charming and Jade taking on the princess role. Those hoping to see a realistic depiction of young love won’t find it here as it’s mostly puppy-dog eyes and swooning between them. Nonetheless, both actors bring a likeability to their roles and their relationship is actually one worth rooting for. Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde do solid jobs and certainly help in making their romance believable. Both of these performances and the writing work in not turning David into a creeper and Jade into an over-privileged brat when it could have easily gone down those roads. Due to the delicate hand of Shana Feste’s direction and screenplay, these two manage to become worth caring about and when the inevitable pieces come falling apart in their relationship, the characters’ heartbreak feels genuine in spite of the cheesiness that surrounds them.

Another clichéd role that could have gone off the deep end into one-dimensionality is Jade’s overbearing father, played impressively by the usually reliable Bruce Greenwood. There are so many avenues Feste could have walked down when depicting this character and she never falls prey to anybody of them. While he does do some fairly malicious acts, his point-of-view is understandable as there’s a sense of a man trying desperately hard not to lose his children. When it’s revealed early on that his son died of cancer, this could have been played for maudlin sympathy, but they managed to keep it straight and use that element to further develop the character. The suspicion that arises from Hugh towards David is more from somebody uncertain about anybody who crosses his path. The screenplay does thrown in an affair subplot that is quickly forgotten about and merely seems like a way to add some extra conflict into the mix, when Hugh’s general distrust for people is already antagonistic. Providing some good support is Joely Richardson as the more open-minded mother, giving a nicely subtle performance of somebody stuck in the middle of a conflict raised by her daughter’s love and her husband’s grieving. Robert Patrick, certainly very far from his famous role as the T-1000, does nice work as well in the part of David’s caring father.

Does Endless Love occasionally fall into cliché? Absolutely, as this is a genre built on reusing them multiple times. The misunderstanding makes a brief appearance, though it’s thankfully jettisoned shortly afterwards. The meet-cute between David and Jude occurs, because of a dropped book. The ending goes through all of the expected beats. Yes, many of the clichés being checked off are incredibly cheesy. Yet what makes Endless Love different from a good number of romantic melodramas is Shana Feste seems aware these moments are corny and silly. In another film, David and Jade walking out of a closet after smooching in it would have been a big dramatic moment. However, Endless Love actually plays it for subtle laughs and that’s certainly admirable. It takes itself seriously when it needs to, but they know the material is hardly tragic drama and nothing in this film will make tears shed. The lightness of the script nonetheless works to its advantage. It never become too dramatic, but it doesn’t reach an overwhelming level of sappiness, either. Feste manages to strike the right balance of making it corny, yet still enjoyable.

It’s hard to deny Endless Love takes a lot from the Love Story playbook of how to write a romantic melodrama, one stop short from somebody saying “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Yes, it’s corny to the nth degree and yet, because of the genuine and heartfelt attachment of its main couple and the film’s ability to not turn the disapproving father into a moustache-twirling villain, it manages to piece together nicely. The material will certainly make a number of people roll their eyes, but the inner romantic in me couldn’t help but be caught up in this unassuming, little love story.

Review By: Stefan Ellison

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