BUFS PREVIEW: The sense of an ending

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This week BUFS is pleased to present, The Sense of an Ending a mystery drama directed by Ritesh Batra.

Based on a Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Julian Barnes, A Sense of An Ending is as its title suggests, a film about narrative, the written word, letters and diaries, about how we edit and compose our lives, and about how we find closure. The film stars a strong, British cast Jim Broadbent (Topsy-Turvy, The Lady in the Van), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Swimming Pool), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), and Emily Mortimer (Lars and the Real Girl, Hugo).

The film begins in the present and follows the daily activities of Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent), a retired camera salesman. The day to day of the present quickly gets interrupted as circumstances take the audience back in time to a mysterious incident from decades before. As the film delves into the past, the audience learns of Tony’s first love, Veronica Ford (Charlotte Rampling). The prospect of meeting with Veronica after all this time, stirs up many emotions, and more importantly memories, as we gradually learn more about what happened years before. As each painful memory unfolds, Tony turns to his wife, Margaret (Harriet Walker), as a confidant. She appears to be his voice of reason that grounds him, which we see, he needs. While this is occurring, he prepares to help his daughter who is soon to be a single mother, welcome her child into the world.

The Sense of An Ending transitions beautifully back and forth between a series of conversations between exes, each of which ends with Margaret more shocked and frustrated as she learns for the first time about these events from Tony’s past. Working with cinematographer Christopher Ross, Batra shoots each flashback scene in a wonderful warm light that contrasts the darkness of the city of London. There is a cloudy quality that suggests the haziness of a memory. It is these scenes that remind the audience that we don’t always remember things exactly as they unfolded and that sometimes its good to revisit the past for closure.

The Sense of an Ending is one of those incrementally riveting and ultimately deeply moving films that come around only once in a while.  The movie’s story, meticulously developed, is both captivating and engaging. The film is a must see of the season.

The Sense of an Ending screens Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Landmark Theatres, Pen Centre. Visit www.brocku.ca/  for details.

-Desirae Stack

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