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ENDLESS LOVE – Review

February 14, 2014

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


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Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer are the two young and beautiful star-crossed lovers who take us on their journey of being in love for the first time. It is a sweet teenage romantic story full of heart and hope, that doesn’t sugar coat the obstacles of young love. Pettyfer plays David Elliot, the handsome and charismatic boy from a poor family who begins a passionate love affair with rich girl Jade Butterfield, played by Gabriella Wilde. Her authoritative father, portrayed excellently by Bruce Greenwood in an entertaining and well-acted performance, strives to prevent the relationship.

The judgemental patriarch wants Jade to pursue the family medical career and not love. The recent tragedy of the loss of a son in the Butterfield Family has led to the father’s absence of parental concern for his remaining son and made him control the life of his daughter. There is now a growing distance between the family causing Jade to question herself and what she truly wants in life. Enter David, who sparks a rollercoaster of love relationship with Jade, and both actors do well to engage the audience in their romance. The tribulations of the Butterfield family and their experiences with romantic David are enjoyable to watch, but not without moments of drama, conflict and confrontation. Robert Patrick plays David’s mechanic father who shines in his scenes. David’s best friend is played by the entertaining Dayo Okeniyi and Joely Richardson is splendid as Jade’s mother who’s stuck in the middle of a demanding father yet absentee husband, and her daughter’s new romantic awakening.

From the producers of Love and Other Drugs and Ted, the film is written and directed by Shana Feste who creates a passionate, well-captured, wild love affair and cleverly weaves obstacles and characters in an enjoyable, emotive and entertaining way. She has also previously written and directed Country Strong (2010) and The Greatest (2009). Endless Love does well to engage a young audience through its funny dialogue, pre-college setting and common teenage themes of overbearing or demanding parents. It infuses cool music and beautiful people in beautiful set pieces to make a memorable Valentine’s Day romance.

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Endless Love was originally a novel by Scott Spencer and a 1981 film starring Brooke Shields. The timeless 1981 song, written by Lionel Ritchie was originally recorded with Diana Ross and nominated for an Oscar. The story is at times reminiscent of eighties rom-coms such as Valley Girl and Can’t Buy Me Love, which incidentally helped launch the careers of Nicolas Cage and Patrick Dempsey. It is that Pretty in Pink story about how love should transcend all boundaries such as social positioning and has the potential to be timeless, but will be faced with obstacles. Although it is interesting to note that instead of school social exclusion as the main obstacle like it was in many similar films in the eighties, this post high school modern day rom-com, focuses more on the conflict between the once teenagers of that era and their children’s generation. The film also hopes to remind the audience of their first summer of love, and the obstacles they may have faced. Easily identifiable locations from our lives and the lives we witnessed on screen, as well as universally common supporting characters such as the comic male best friend and the ex girl friend who just doesn’t get that it’s over, help to move the story forward and keep us entertained.

The reason I particularly enjoyed this film, was the way in which Feste along with Pettyfer created an original troubled, masculine, funny, yet sensitive and romantic character, that funnily enough is still believable. He impacts all those around him in the film and stands out on screen and Wilde is perfect as his on screen darling. Pettyfer was most recently seen in Magic Mike and Wilde in the remake of Carrie. What makes Endless Love so adorable is that it’s intended to appeal only to romantics and to those who want to see a more traditional romantic story over a more cynical look at love. In doing so, it will satisfy romantic film fans who will delight at the illuminating exchanges and on screen chemistry of Pettyfer and Wilde. And for the guys having to endure the film against their will on February 14th, the sweet, stunning and sexy Gabriella Wilde and this intriguing story are most definitely more than watchable!

Endless Love is released in the UK on February 14th.

Sidney Malik