Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Unfortunate Disappointments: Movie Review: Endless Love

Title: Endless Love
Genre: romance, drama, family, loss
My Rating: -** (yes, that's a negative two stars)
Official Rating: PG-13
Age Group: 18+ (if you really must watch it. but overall, it should be left unwatched)

Summary: David has been in love with Jade all through high school. He only has one problem: Jade doesn't know that, because he's never, ever, spoken with her. It might have something to do with her being rather reserved and very focused on her studies, especially after her older brother died and left her with very loving but overbearing parents.
Or it might just be that David's a chicken. For all his talk of true love, he might just not have it in him to go get it.
At least, that's what Jade's dad says. Because when Jade and David finally do start a relationship,a rather awkward and slightly misinterpreted scene causes Jade's father to strongly dislike David. That and the fact that David is getting in the way of Jade's future career as a doctor.
But Jade is happy, and David is too. Aside from all the family problems he just became a very big part of when he chose to date Jade.
Can the two of them survive the mess and get their happily ever after?

Word of Warning
  •  Jade's brother died sophomore year of high school. We don't get many details, aside from the fact that it was a car crash and his father was there, but we do know it hurt the family deeply. They can't let go of him. His father sleeps in his room and won't let anyone touch the boy's things. He takes it a step further, no longer devoting time and love to his family but becoming determined that they be as good as his now perfect (but dead) son.
  • David has been watching Jade for years and hasn't talked to her. This is made to sound sweet in the movie, but since he really has no relation to her at all (other than going to the same school) it borders on being creepy.
  • A man is rude to the valets who take his car. They take his car for a joy ride (out of revenge) and drag an innocent girl into the mess. The valets are fired, but not before a yelling match and a punch to the face.
  • David glances at Jade's legs as her skirt flies up in the wind. She quickly shoves her skirt down but gives him a mischievous glance.
  • A man remarks, "It's gonna take a lot more than stealing my car to get her to spread her legs" for which he is punched in the face.
  • Girls wear short dresses with slightly low tops, strapless dresses, and bikinis.
  • David prank calls the police to put an end to someone's party for a personal reason and, in addition to many other complaints, says, "Someone is pissing on my mini-cooper!" While this is comical, he is causing an apparent innocent's party canceled for a personal gain and making a joke of it, all while getting the police involved.
  • We see Jade in her underwear more than once. Sometimes unintentionally (like when she spins and her dress flies up), sometimes very intentionally (like when she pulls the side of her dress up so David can see the edge of them).
  • Catcalls are made when Jade and David step out of a closet. Nothing happened in the closet. They intended to kiss but were interrupted.
  • Jade's father is clearly upset about what he assumes happened in the closet, but instead of speaking to either teen involved, he just separates them and doesn't tell them what he is angry about (though they would have to be stupid not to be able to guess).
  • Jade's father shows a lack of communication throughout the entire movie. If he speaks to his family, it's because he dislikes something one of them is doing or because he is giving an order.
  • Multiple passionate kisses.
  • Jade and David meet behind their parents' backs. Later, they do the same when David has a restraining order on him.
  • When Jade clearly intends to have sex, David tells her, "You don't have to do this. As much as I want to, I can wait" but she refuses him and says she wants to "feel this with you" as if that's all it is. The two remove their clothes (we see them in their underwear) and have sex.
  • A couple is shown in a bathtub from the shoulders up. It's presumed neither has any sort of clothing on.
  • The entire first half of the movie and its passionate romance happens in about three days. It's almost as bad as Romeo and Juliet.
  • A girl throws away her internship to be with her new boyfriend she met just a few days before.
  • A father tries to run his daughter's life/future/college plans and yells at her for not doing as he had planned.
  • Father takes his family to the lake house to spite his daughter's decision and to separate her from her boyfriend.
  • Daughter disobeys and talks back to her father.
  • A husband is having an affair with someone's wife.
  • David finds out about the affair and hides it from Jade to protect her. Jade's father threatens David about not revealing the truth, but David assures him he won't because it would hurt Jade.
  • The father figure pressures his living son to be like his older brother (who is now dead) and the son is clearly hurt by this and feels like he will never be good enough for anyone or anything.
  • The father lies and digs up criminal records on David.
  • Jade suggests she and the others be "young and dumb, just for tonight" to which David agrees without hesitation. She then pressures him into doing something which he knows shouldn't be done. He ends up being arrested after fleeing the police.
  • The mother desperately wants to have her romance with her husband back and comes right out and requests this. He ignores her and turns her down.
  • A jealous ex-girlfriend turns her ex-boyfriend and others in to the police.
  • Jade's father bails David out of jail after Jade promises to stay away from David. The father then leads David to believe Jade doesn't love him.
  • The father verbally abuses David, eventually telling him that he's not good enough, that Jade will get bored of him, just like David's mother became bored of his father.
  • We learn that David discovered his mom having an affair and beat the man.
  • David punches two people in the face.
  • A teen defends something that was stupid and wrong because "it was fun" until it went wrong. The implication is that if it hadn't gone wrong, there would have been nothing wrong with doing it. A father figure, as well as a mother figure, also seem to hold the view that a little fun (reckless and stupid as it might be) isn't really a big deal and is just something kids will do.
  • David states, "I know I'm not good enough for you, but I'm not gonna spend my entire life proving that I am."
  • Jade is t-boned and breaks her wrist. She has multiple minor cuts and bruises on her face.
  • The father has a restraining order put on David.
  • David believes in a policy where there is only one girl he is meant to be with and he is afraid of missing that chance.
  • The words d*** and a**hole.
  • The father sabotages David's chances at a future by getting him in legal trouble and not mailing his wife's letter of recommendation--all out of spite.
  • Jade cheats on David because they have not officially broken up and she starts dating another guy. Then, she cheats on that guy by kissing David when she hasn't broken up with the new guy.
  • A wife and son walk out on the father because he is so angry and controlling. It is implied the mother is going to get a divorce but that's seen as ok and everyone is fine with that. The son elopes with his girlfriend.
  • The father chases David with a baseball bat and almost hits him.
  • David and the father are caught in a house fire. A window explodes at David. The two almost die.
  • The father is obsessed with his dead son and won't let go.
  • The movie promotes a strange view of love that proposes there is only one person with whom you are "meant to be" and with whom you can truly be happy. While it also promotes the idea of love that never ends, it sees this more as a feeling and less as an ideal that both people have to work at to achieve. The movie leads the audience to believe that this "meant to be" yet all-feeling love is the only true kind of love and it is attainable.
My Thoughts
Honestly? I think the list above said it all. Aside from my frustration with the trailer making this movie look semi-decent, I still can't get beyond the dysfunctional family (which is making no effort to heal itself) and the sparkly and unrealistic view of love this movie promotes.
But let me take a moment to find goodness in the movie. Because there is goodness in everything, since evil is only goodness used for a selfish purpose.
David's attempts to reconcile his relationship with Jade's father is the goodness I find here. He honestly tries his best to get on her father's good side.
Other than that, the movie was a disappointment. The plot was poorly done, kids running around having fun in reckless ways was seen as acceptable, and the dysfunctional family knew it was not right but made no effort to fix itself.
It was sad, really. There probably is a good way to tell this story (or one similar). The actors were fantastic. It just didn't come together right.
It didn't really come together at all.

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