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  • Alex First

Endings, Beginnings (MA) - 110 minutes

Navigating a romantic entanglement can be – and often is – difficult enough.

But when it comes to two – at the same time – it is in a league of its own, especially when the blokes attracted to the "catch" are best mates.

It is just that that confronts Daphne (Shailene Woodley – The Descendants) when she opts out of a long-term relationship, quits her job and moves in with her half-sister.

In short, she isn’t in a good place and is looking to find herself.

At a New Year’s Eve party at sis’s she has a couple of interactions with guys who subsequently – individually – reach out to her.

One, Frank (Sebastian Stan – Avengers: End Game), is clearly a bad boy, who plays hard.

The other, Jack (Jamie Dornan – Fifty Shades of Grey), is more stable and solid.

She has sex with both of them.

With the bad boy, it is more urgent and intense. The sparks fly.

The other is an author on an upward trajectory, with a good soul.

Inevitably, matters will come to a head.

Endings, Beginnings is the work of Jardine Libaire and Drake Doremus (Like Crazy), with the latter directing.

It is about choices – good and bad – and how they can and do shape our lives.

Woodley is in every scene and gives and gives as Daphne, searching for some measure of peace and contentment.

The message is clear – first Daphne has to learn to love herself.

Her upbringing has hardly been straightforward and a recent experience traumatising.

Stan brings a raffish edge to his portrayal of Frank.

Dornan is a good choice as the decent citizen, who can bring a steadying hand to a future with Daphne, if only she will let him.

Endings, Beginnings plays out as a slice of life piece – dealing with highs and lows and the perplexities and pitfalls of wanting it all.

Text messages from Daphne’s suitors (and from her to them) are displayed on screen, as she moves between them. It is an effective device.

Flashbacks aid our understanding of what has gone on previously.

As a soundtrack to Daphne’s life, the music by by Philip Ekström is ear-pleasing.

Once the punch line was delivered though, I felt the film had reached a crescendo and then it fell away and tended to drag.

It also became a tad too syrupy for my liking.

Still, overall, Endings, Beginnings has impact, if only to highlight the fragility and hurt of relationships after the thrill of first encounters.

Rated MA, it scores a 6 out of 10.

It is available on Foxtel on Demand on 23rd May and on Google Play, iTunes, Fetch TV, Telstra Bigpond, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft and Quickfix from 15th July, 2020.

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