By St. Marla's Journal contributor Emily-Ann Elizabeth Trautman.
Endings, Beginnings is a heartwarming story, following a woman experiencing heartbreak and on the path to rebuilding. Shailene Woodley stars as Daphne in this rom-dram, or Romantic Dramedy if you will. It’s a story all too familiar for many. A long term relationship goes astray leading Daphne to move in with family and find a new job, whilst coping with trauma from her previous experiences, meeting new people and finding her passion and drive for life. The plot is propelled forward when she meets two people at a New Year’s Eve party. Unbeknownst to her, the two love interests are friends and thus Daphne finds herself entwined in a messy love triangle.
While the overall storyline of this film is a tad overdone, there is a residual charm that’s due to the indie nature of Endings, Beginnings. The choppy cuts from scene to scene create a bit of a disconnect and gentle chaos that seems to parallel Daphne’s stasis in life. The film is also chocked full of closely following camera angles and plenty of chain smoking cigarette scenes, just in case you forget you’re watching an indie movie. However, there are stylistic choices such as the brief flashbacks of her past relationship and trauma that seem to come out of nowhere. These give the viewer the feeling of a memory: brief, sporadic and unintentional. With that being said, they seem to have the direct intention of revealing insight to the main character’s overall detriment and despondent persona.
Shailene Woodley’s portrayal of Daphne carries. Her accurate representation of the girl who is confused and trying to find her way through life is all too relatable. However, it can be easy to slowly slip out of attentiveness as the character development of the two love interests play out. The strength of their performances seem to fall flat. Jack, a professor and writer played by Jamie Dornan, and Frank, the bachelor type character played by Sebastian Stan, fall into the sub-par category. It could be their character development in general, but the two are incredibly similar, in general appearance and acting, which can lead toward a bit of confusion. It could be a combination of the choppy scene transitions and blending of simultaneous love affairs, but the storyline morphs into becoming muddled. This then leads to being pulled out of the story and magic of the movie, which for this viewer is quite the let-down.
While Endings, Beginnings does have the quirks of a whirlwind romance, there is a constant shroud of negativity over it, like a low hanging cloud that just won’t go away. It isn’t one that left me with a good feeling, more so just a feeling of relief by the end. Make sure you have a glass of wine to accompany you on this one.