UK Release Date: 14th February 2014
Runtime: 105 minutes
Director: Shana Feste
Writer: Shana Feste, Joshua Safran
Starring: Gabriella Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Rhys Wakefield, Dayo Okeniyi
Synopsis: A prim and proper high school graduate experiences a sexual awakening when a fellow classmate comes into her life over one summer and shakes the foundations of her family.
On a crowded Valentine’s Day for film releases, the film courting the date angle most blatantly was the sunshine-hued romance Endless Love. It’s a remake of the 1981 film, which in itself is perhaps known for its iconic theme song, featuring Lionel Richie and Diana Ross.
That alone makes it more memorable and remarkable than this entirely pointless reimagining of the story.
After the death of her brother, Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) finishes high school as a social recluse. Despite the ridicule of his best friend (Dayo Okeniyi), intelligent fellow graduate David (Alex Pettyfer) manages to develop a relationship with Jade. As the two grow ever closer over the summer, they must deal with the disapproval of Jade’s father (Bruce Greenwood).
| "Didn’t it ever worry you that she wasn’t out experiencing the world?"
Endless Love plays out like nothing more than a bland collage of the tropes and conventions that have become standard for romantic dramas. There’s loss of innocence, soft focus, lens flare, a disapproving father, attractive guys emerging from underneath cars, disaster bringing people together, brief break-ups and just about everything else.
The film brings absolutely nothing new to the table and manages to disappoint even when it is on seemingly sure ground. Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde give vapid performances, failing to display the talents that both have shown in the past.
Bruce Greenwood’s father character should get the most interesting character arc in Endless Love, but he is instead relegated to gurning aggressively.
Most infuriating of all is the direction from Shana Feste. Her work on Endless Love is riddled with cliché and unconvincing attempts at film trickery. Certain scenes play out as if Feste has sat through an hour of a Film Studies course and now thinks she’s Terrence Malick. We get that the character feels trapped in her relationship without seeing her framed “behind bars” by the staircase.
| "You strike me as a guy who does have a few secrets. Tell me I’m wrong."
In a year rapidly filling up with forgettable film releases, Endless Love is another cinematic turkey. Plagued by terrible performances, a risible script and every cliché in the book, it’s a film that does feel endless, but is very short on love.
Pop or Poop?
In the same week that the stunningly romantic, blisteringly funny Her was released, Endless Love shows just how generic and emotionless a bad example of the genre can be.
Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde deserve better, and so do the audience. Even a date night crowd need something worth watching.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.