Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films
“Endings Beginnings” features three recent blockbuster franchise graduates in Shailene Woodley (“Divergent”), Jamie Dornan (“Fifty Shades of Grey”) and Sebastian Stan (“Avengers”) and so with that kind of star power, it’s hard to write of this conventional romantic drama entirely. Aided by a strong central performance from Woodley, “Endings Beginnings” solidifies that director Drake Doremus (“Like Crazy”) has a knack for capturing relationships and chemistry from a script with little originality.
Woodley drives the film home as Daphne, a thirty something women looking for some form of stability in her life. She’s just left an abusive relationship, is shacking up at her sister’s pool house, and plans to take a six-month sabbatical from drinking and men. The plan for self-care becomes complicated when she meets Jack (Dornan) and Frank (Stan) at a New Year’s party and starts a courting texting relationship (the texts are thrown on the screen like paint graffiti) and, of course the two strapping lads are buddies, complicating matters in the process.
“Endings Beginnings” isn’t looking to break new ground in the romantic drama circle, but at one point Daphne mentions she feels like “The Bachelorette” and that’s when it clicked: this movie is like an extended episode of that series, complete with betrayal, lust, and sin. No offense to anyone that watches the program (I know its guilty pleasure goodness) but that’s presumably how all the rising and falling actions play out on screen, and if you can get past those notions then “Endings Beginnings” is watchable.
The attraction Woodley has to these men are convincing and the sparks that fly amongst them make for steamier sex scenes then what Dornan did in “Fifty Shades.” Interestingly, the contrast of what she has with Frank and Jack are worth looking into; Jack is a writer so his connection with Daphne is far more sophisticated than the physical attraction with Frank who just bangs it out with her on hard surfaces.
The remainder of the film is fleshed out with long monologues, voice overs, and drama galore. It goes the conventional route towards its semi-satisfying conclusion, but the important aspect is you somewhat care about what happens with these characters. We grow with them and I left the picture having a sense of closure of where Daphne ends-up.
ENDINGS BEGINNINGS hits VOD Friday April 17th.