Keep Calm

Nicole M. Campbell is a KFI editrix. Someone please explain to her how Bitcoin works. This week, the Girl on Film gives us her review of the British drama, “The Sense of an Ending.”

Perhaps if that whole American Revolution thing hadn't happened, Yankees would like different kinds of movies. What we like is seeing stuff blown up, and debased comedies and endless remakes and reboots and unoriginal ideas that make you wonder what the hell everyone at a Starbucks is working on.

The Brits don't do movies. They do cinema, and they do it more refined than we do. In particular, their dramas are quiet, reflective. They move at a slower pace. Americans can't stand that. We want our stuff fast and loud.

Indeed, "The Sense of an Ending" fits the typical British bill. It even stars Jim Broadbent, a most veddy British actor. The film's framework, however, belies the frenetic, flashback-and-forth narrative. It's exhausting to keep up with Who's On First. Broadbent plays a fussbudgety camera shop owner who gets word he has been left something in a will. But the executor of that will won't give it to him. That's only a minor point. The executor is a former lover, and there are entanglements up the wazoo. 

Charlotte Rampling, a fine and brave actress in the vein of Isabelle Huppert, feels like a waste here as the will's executor. Her screen time is limited and her character's arc ends abruptly, with no resolution. No doubt that was intended. But there are beautifully nuanced ways to achieve a fuzzy finale, and this movie falls way short.

And some of the stuff in between is irrelevant, most notably the subplot involving Broadbent's character's daughter giving birth as a single mom. You get no supporting information as to why she's making that choice and you don't care.

I wanted to learn more about these flawed, slightly secretive people and their relationships only because I wanted, ahem, some sense of an ending, not because I felt truly invested in these characters.

British dramas are often very good and I've seen some great ones over the years. So I don't want to scare you off, fair reader. But my advice if you're wobbling - stick with the good stuff from Britain that's totally understandable: the appeal of Prince Harry, Cadbury chocolate, the Beatles.

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