That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion This song crossed my mind first time I heard (or saw actually) news of this movie: Endings, beginnings. Story of a modern love triangle with Sebastian Stan, Jamie Dornan and Shailene Woodley? This gotta be good! And well, it was some kind of good – when you look at it as a dilemma, then sure. It was good. Movie-wise though, as a whole… It was a film to “suffer”.
Don’t get me wrong – I can relate to the dilemma itself. And here it is: we all look for happiness in life. Happiness in a human form of significant other, that will “check all the boxes” and will throw some additional good bits. We can all agree, that it is extremely hard, because we have certain image in our head, right? The perfect picture, even though we know, that there is no such thing as perfect.
But we try anyway. People come and go, some stay, some just make a quick pit-stop and so on, we collect experiences. Good ones, bad ones – all of them. In Endings, Beginnings we are dealing with classic WHAT IF? dilemma. Daphne (Shailene Woodley) is on a life crossroad – she quitted her job and broke up with long-term boyfriend. Something inside her craved for a change… She decides to quit relationships and alcohol, because why not add liquor to the prohibited list?
On a New Year’s Eve party, she meets an old friend. And mysterious, intriguing stranger. Both have something, that caught her eye (not only the looks). They seem like complete opposites, too! So, the great debate begins!
Before we dive into the nature of the problem, let me tell you something about that crave for radical change. Because yes, it has to be radical. Human beings (and I will use female species as an example, simply because I am one), every once in a while, must do something. Doesn’t really matter what – something. Whether it’s getting new haircut, buying new books, carpet to your new apartment or getting a tattoo, there is this divine force in us, that pushes us towards boundaries of comfort zones. Before you say that THIS IS NOT HOW THE FORCE WORKS, let me just say: BUT IT IS.
I don’t need a reason. A month ago, I felt like getting a new tattoo. I remember the time, when I decided to get my first – after careful consideration and waging all pros and cons. This time, I just wanted something new. And sure, I’ve been thinking about it for a while but there was no rush. So, what triggered it? A lot of negative stuff was going on in my life – fight with a close one, shitload of work, stressing over the construction site, my grandma’s health… And, since I can’t just quit my job, I am no quitter when it comes to friends, I have zero influence over construction and my granny’s health, I needed to have something else.
It wasn’t much about “having control” over something, no. I just wanted to feel the flavor, the spice again! (Picture is completely unrelated, unless you know “Dune” world).
Because from time to time, humans need to do some shit. Stupid, smart, funny – you name it. This feeling comes and goes in waves. More than often we can overpower it with our inner strength, but there few times that we give in.
And it feels awesome.
If you decide to stand by something, life laughs at your face and shows you THE WAY. And that happens to Daphne too – once she promises herself to take a break from men and alcohol, she is thrown in the middle of very twisted love triangle. And sadly, very typical one for a woman – from one side, this good guy (Jack, played by Jamie Dornan) with life figured out, good job, he is the kind of man that all mum loves. On the other side, there is this bad boy (Frank, played by Sebastian Stan); the one that makes a girl bite her lip and wonder if this is what she really wants in life.
Look. I know. I really do – why go for something else, something… Dangerous, when you can have the good man. The right man. But is it really the right one? Because for some women, it might sound boring – that’s why they look for excitement.
Now, what if… What if you find what you are looking for – safety, love, sense of humor, a dose of Saturday night fever and emotional connection on a highest level – all the boxes checked. But there is a catch, of course. What if you find all that in two different people?
Johnny Depp once said: if you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second. Frankly speaking, I agree with that. Maybe I am old fashioned, with analog approach to love. If I am in, it means being invested 150% into that one person. But life is funny this way and likes to tests us. Only the strongest will pass this one – and you know what they say, trust but verify.
Daphne is visibly torn – but she does not feel guilty (much) about breaking her vows. Love got her high and blinded. She is a young woman, trying different things in life – and for that I can say kudos, big time. Because the most important thing in life for young person is to try, fail, succeed in new areas, in order to figure out what the hell we really want. Or, in what we are really, damn good. Daphne is an artist, but she neglects it, and you know. Neglected and malnourished skill dies, like sunlight at the seaside – slowly, with grace and unforgettable impression.
What I absolutely cannot accept, is that amid the ruins, Daphne forgot about herself. She put men first, 10 steps before her. And sure, love is essential piece in “figuring out” process, but it should not be the main ingredient. Believe me, I had to realize that the hard way. At the end of the day, you will ALWAYS have yourself. Friends and family (hopefully) will be with you forever, but there will be nights when you will feel completely lonely. This is exactly why you, YES YOU, must put yourself first. But not in a selfish way. Be that caring person, with a good heart. Just don’t forget to develop couple of defense mechanisms, okay?
So, Daphne gets tangled in this romantic-web with both Jack and Frank. This love is toxic and addictive, like the worst drug. And when her world turns upside down, none of them is there to help her. Partially, because the truth about her double-life comes to light. But Daphne learns the most valuable lesson here: that no matter what, she will always have herself.
I never liked Shailene Woodley that much, but after this film I am hopeful – she really sold me the dilemma and struggle. And there were moments, when I thought “OHMYGOOOOOOOOOOOOD just get it together”, but that was the whole point. You know, it’s easy to judge and throw great advices like playing cards. Real test comes, when it’s us wearing the same shoes.
As for the men – Jamie Dornan was always pretty “meh” to me (how professional!), it’s not the kind of actor I pay attention to. In this movie he was the personification of ideal man, the one that does not exist in real life. With one small flaw: for me he is just boring and a little obnoxious. On the opposite side there is Sebastian Stan, the bad guy. Once again, picture perfect of typical bad boy. And that is something I didn’t like in this movie, the stereotypical approach to good vs. bad problem. If only the characters were less obvious…
But overall, the performance served the purpose: highlighting the importance of right choices, and path to finding them. I think that the reason the characters were so painfully apparent, is the importance of figuring out. It’s a complex process and sometimes humans are completely oblivious, even to the obvious.
Endings, beginnings is not the best film of the year – even considering the fact, that it was my first movie in the cinema after the social lock down. It definitely triggered something in my brain; the need to think some stuff thought and reflect on my life choices when it comes to man.
I often scold myself for not settling for the “good guy”, always looking for something else, different, more creative… And now I know, that it’s the right thing to do. FOR ME. I am in no position to give love advice to all of you, lot. I can, however, tell you this: Always trust yourself. The Force inside is stronger than you think. Take a moment to close your eyes and breath. You know what’s best for you. It’s your decision, which makes it a good one in that moment. Be present about your choices, and they will be always good for YOU.
And in the end, we need something in the middle, something perfectly balanced – not only in the love life. One day, everyone of us will find it – that I can promise.
What I absolutely LOVED and ADORED about this film is the way it was shot – so intimate, so close! Camera was shaking, it was really in the center of the events, but not in obnoxious way. Watching it feels like you are following the characters so casually, like a best friend. So, camera work and soundtrack – songs used – big kudos for that, Drake Doremus. And the plot – look at this post. It made me do things. And I love it.
Great idea with the texting and captions – really got my eye. Very modern way to present relationship! The bits with dialogue outside of the scene, when the characters hugged or looked at each other… Goosebumps. And that’s why I have a problem with this film – technically it was WONDERFUL. Story line was easy to relate to, but something was missing. No flair, no crispiness which resulted in no cinematic merit. Shame…
Yesterday I had a dream with a song in it. And even though plot of my dream was completely unrealistic, it made me want to write a follow up to Somewhere only we know/Before you go and Glory. Same time next week? I have nothing planned.
We watched the planes leave us behind…
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