Director: Shana Feste; Writers: Shana Feste, Joshua Safran; Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Robert Patrick, Joely Richardson, Rhys Wakefield, Emma Ribgy; Running time: 103 minutes; Certification: 12A
In what was possibly my most masculinity-examining experience in the cinema to date, I slid down into my chair amongst a screening filled with entirely the opposite sex a few years my junior (save for an old man and his wife) to watch Shana Feste’s Endless Love, a remake of Franco Zeffirelli’s less than pleasantly received 1981 picture of the same title, and one of the slew of romantic movies released on Valentine’s Day. To say the film was in any way impressive or noteworthy would be untrue, but to say it was awful would equally be rather unfair. It’s nothing more than a nuts-and-bolts, black-and-white, society-won’t-allow-it teen romance played straight down the line to a very specific target audience with contrived and wildly clichéd characters – but it knows that, and plays along.
It all centres around young Jade (Wilde), a high school graduate with a promising medical career who’s never found it easy to make friends, and her blooming romance with David (Pettyfer). Of course David only works at his dad’s garage and isn’t going to college, which makes Hugh, Jade’s father (Greenwood), unimpressed with their match. The resulting hour and a bit gives way to a pseudo-Romeo & Juliet narrative; Jade and David are madly in love while Hugh does everything in his power to keep them apart and Jade’s mother (Richardson) attempts to persuade him that David is actually a nice young guy. It’s a story so well-trodden, so predictable and so straight-played in this instance that it’s a wonder we’re even remotely interested by the second act.
Yet we are, to an extent, thanks to good performances. Bruce Greenwood is a reliable pillar standing tall in his conflict-stricken role; Robert Patrick (who to this day I can still only see as the T-1000) is solid, even if he doesn’t show up enough; and Alex Pettyfur, who impressed me a lot in Magic Mike, is able to hold his own in front of camera and provides enough hunkiness for the ladies in the audience (of which we can assume there are a few).
While this reviewer is decidedly outwith the target audience, and therefore feels it rather futile to pass too much judgement, there are a few things to enjoy here, for every viewer. An expectedly unspectacular but occasionally interesting love story that’s just about okay for one sitting but will quickly be forgotten. The love is certainly not endless.