IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF THE END OF US!
COVID-19 has transformed the world we live in, and during the SXSW Film Festival is a recurring theme amongst some of its lineup features. The End of Us is the romantic comedy that tackles a harsh break-up between a couple who lives together and because of the pandemic is forced to stay indoors… together! The End of Us may seem a bit predictable in its composition, and it surely is, but directors Steven Kanter and Henry Loevner manage to make the film funny and enjoyable throughout its short runtime. Engaging, but never quite original, The End of Us has two delicious main characters, performed by Ben Coleman and Ali Vingiano, who are surprising in getting the audience the easy laughs they need to overcome the seriousness of COVID-19. And it is more than welcome. The world needs some comfort after one full year being locked down most of the time to avoid the virus, and The End of Us is pleasant and inoffensive entertainment on the matter.
Even if at the long run, The End of Us isn’t something memorable, both main characters help the audience to stick with their quarrels and proximity moments and makes them relatable to the current situation of a pandemic-ruled planet. Ali Vingiano clearly has the upper hand in providing some of the most joyful oneliners and she is actually quite surprising in leading the film with her bold attitude. Rom-coms tend to fall in the cheesy melodramatic concepts of making the characters highly appealing, not only for their physical attributes, but also by making them basic and entertaining enough to garantee that people drive to the theater and spend their money in brainless movies that are only there because studios need more income after a blockbuster failed to perform successfully at the box-office. This is not the case of The End of Us. While taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation, Kanter and Loevner build characters that are completely filled with contrasting emotions and, even though they are physically appealing, that doesn’t shadow the actors’ abilities to be genuine and to focus on the brighter side during a difficult situation. The best part of The End of Us is that the audience feels that improvisation is the driven motto of the characters, making them more realistic and fluent.
But unfortunately, The End of Us can’t become something totally unique, because the clichés are there and there are not enough moments that stand out to make it more appealing and fresh. There is quality here, but this pandemic-based-rom-com doesn’t fulfill the need of having something new we can actually say it will leave a mark in the near future. It’s adorably funny, has two charismatic leading characters, but the story becomes a parody of itself and even if the directors’ intentions are clear, the film doesn’t quite achieve the status it clearly wants. The flow of the events sometimes feel forced, and there are not a lot of unpredictable moves to outline the formula of generic rom-coms. Nonetheless, the ending comes out as extremely satisfying and reminds us that not all stories have the happy ending we instinctively think they will have by watching romantic comedies.
With two main stars that rise to the occasion with their convincing improv acts, The End of Us arrives too early to leave its mark in the visual arts and will be easily forgotten, although there is definitely something there that really makes it highly enjoyable throughout. COVID-19 has, indeed, transformed the human narrative and the way relationships work and are suffering with the virus as well, but that is something extremely superficial during these times and even if we appreciate the lightness of the approach, we needed something fresher and substancial to invest our scarce time.
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Title: The End of Us
Original Title: The End of Us
Directors: Steven Kanter & Henry Loevner
Cast: Ben Coleman, Ali Vingiano, Derrick Joseph DeBlasis, Gadiel der Orbe.
Runtime: 92 min.
Trailer | The End of Us