6.3/10
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52 user 112 critic

The Sense of an Ending (2017)

PG-13 | | Drama, Mystery | 10 March 2017 (USA)
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A man becomes haunted by his past and is presented with a mysterious legacy that causes him to re-think his current situation in life.

Director:

Ritesh Batra

Writers:

Julian Barnes (novel), Nick Payne (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Broadbent ... Tony Webster
Charlotte Rampling ... Veronica Ford
Harriet Walter ... Margaret Webster
Michelle Dockery ... Susie Webster
Matthew Goode ... Mr. Hunt
Emily Mortimer ... Sarah Ford
James Wilby ... David Ford
Edward Holcroft ... Jack Ford
Billy Howle ... Young Tony
Freya Mavor ... Young Veronica
Joe Alwyn ... Adrian Finn
Peter Wight ... Colin Simpson
Hilton McRae Hilton McRae ... Alex Stuart
Jack Loxton Jack Loxton ... Young Colin Simpson
Timothy Innes ... Young Alex Stuart
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Storyline

Divorced and retired, Tony Webster, an aging Londoner and vintage camera shop owner, whittles down the solitude of his isolated existence by keeping an affectionate relationship with his ex-wife, Margaret, and by accompanying his nearly full-term pregnant daughter, Susie, to antenatal courses. However, the unexpected arrival of an unsettling letter will disrupt the fine balance of things in Tony's orderly life, reconnecting him with his first love from college, Veronica, and the nostalgic, yet clouded memories of a distant past. Inevitably, as Tony scavenges for bits and pieces through flashbacks, the out-of-focus picture of his youth will gradually sharpen, nevertheless, is he ready to face the truth? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Unravel the Truth.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, a violent image, sexuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Sentido do Fim See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,692, 12 March 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,235,432, 31 March 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Matthew Goode and Michelle Dockery both appeared in Downton Abbey, which itself is also mentioned at the pub with Adrien Jr.'s group. See more »

Goofs

Young Tony affixes a 'first-class' stamp to his fateful letter, sent in 1967. This sort of stamp was not produced for another 26 years (in 1993). See more »

Quotes

[Voice over]
Tony Webster: How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we embellish, adjust, make sly cuts?
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Connections

Referenced in Adelaide's Silver Screens (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

This Is The Night
Written by M. Walton / J. Duncan / L. Fuller / H. Dunham
Performed by The Vocaleers
Published by Chester Music Limited trading as Campbell Connelly & Co
Licensed courtesy of Music Sales Group
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User Reviews

 
Telling a life story
16 March 2017 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. In 1967 Cat Stevens wrote "The First Cut is the Deepest" and the song has since been recorded by many artists (including Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crowe). The song's title is also an apt description of director Ritesh Batra's film version of the popular 2011 novel from Julian Barnes. It's one man's look back at the impact of his impulsive actions more than 50 years ago.

"When we are young, we want emotions to be like what we read in books". So says the narrator and lead character Tony Webster (as played by Jim Broadbent). Tony runs a tiny second hand camera store (specializing in Leica models) while leading a mostly benign life – rising daily at 7:00am, coffee with his ex-wife, and periodic errands for his pregnant daughter. One day a certified letter arrives notifying him that he has been named in the Last Will and Testament of the mother of a girl he dated while at University. And so begins the trek back through Tony's history and memories.

Of course, a film version can never quite cut as deeply as a novel, but this preeminent cast works wonders in less than two hours. Curmudgeonly Tony is accessible and somewhat sympathetic thanks to the stellar work of Mr. Broadbent, who always seems to find the real person within his characters. Harriet Walther ("The Crown") turns in a tremendous performance as Margaret, Tony's most patient and quite wise ex-wife. Michelle Dockery ("Downton Abbey") is their pregnant 36 year old daughter Susie, and just these three characters could have provided a most interesting story. The film's best scenes feature the comfort and familiarity of a once-married couple, as Tony and Harriet talk through previously never mentioned topics. However, there is so much more to explore here as Tony's thoughts bring the past splashing right smack dab into the present.

Billy Howle does a nice job as young Tony, an aspiring poet, who falls hard for the enigmatic Veronica (Freya Mavor). Complications arise when Tony spends a weekend with Veronica at her parents' estate. It's here that Emily Mortimer energizes things (and clouds thoughts) with minimal screen time as Veronica's mother. It's also around this time where new student Adrian Finn (played by Joe Alwyn of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk) captures Tony's imagination and a friendship bond is formed … only to be later shattered in a most painful manner.

There is so much going on that director Batra's (The Lunchbox, 2013) low-key approach is often misleading. Looking back on one's life can lead to the twisted version that our mind has edited/revised in order to make things seem better or worse – definitely more colorful – than they likely were at the time. Tony's distorted view of history crumbles when documented proof of his actions is presented at his first face to face meeting with Veronica (the great Charlotte Rampling) in five decades. It's at this point that regret and guilt rise up, and the only question remaining is whether this elderly man can overcome his repressed emotions and self-centeredness in order to make the best of what time he has left. Each of us has a life journey, and though few of us ever actually tell the story, there are undoubtedly numerous lessons to be had with an honest look back.


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