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ENDLESS LOVE (2014)

SYNOPSIS:
The story of a privileged girl (Gabriella Wilde) and a charismatic boy (Alex Pettyfer) whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's formulaic and predictable, but with its two appealing leads and romantic notions, this Hollywood style Romeo and Juliet melodrama about forbidden love, caters perfectly for its young target market as they discover a love that is worth fighting for. Shana Feste's remake of the 1981 film (based on Scott Spencer's novel) is Mills and Boon in flavour as it depicts the central relationship between its star-crossed lovers, offering its saccharine version of tortured love.

Brooke Shields was 16 when she starred in the original film (opposite Martin Hewitt, 24), whereas here its two stars are in their mid twenties. This detracts somewhat from the premise, despite the fact that leggy, blonde and gorgeous Gabriella Wilde is eye candy and Alex Pettyfer is credible as the boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

The film begins on graduation day and we hear through David's (Pettyfer) voice that he has watched Jade (Wilde) from afar during their school days waiting for the perfect opportunity to make a connection. She has had her nose in a book all this time. Their connection is made as David sweeps Jade from her sheltered, insular, studious world and offers her fun on a platter.

There is even a balcony scene of sorts and Bruce Greenwood delivers one of his best recent performances as Jade's obsessed father who keeps his beautiful daughter on a tight leash. Greenwood embodies the complexities of a man who has tragically lost his favourite son and assumes control by stitching up his family as personal possessions. He is despicable, flawed and tragic all at once. In supporting roles, Joely Richardson is excellent as the warm, compliant wife, mother and author who brims with new energy when David comes into their lives and Robert Patrick shines as David's no-nonsense mechanic father.

David is the catalyst for change as Jade blossoms under the spell of first love. The flames flicker in the fireplace as flames of passion roar on the hearth before it. There are stolen kisses in the library, spontaneous dancing, sparklers under the stars and the bloom of love is intoxicating, albeit M-rated. There are twists and turns to the relationship and in most cases we can see them coming.

Nonetheless Feste has paced the dramatic arcs with precision amid its melodramatic plot points, angry fists and tears. The settings are pretty and the sequence at the holiday lake house is especially appealing. There are no major surprises but the strong support roles do much to elevate the stakes and the film effectively delivers the Valentine Day date movie it promises.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

ENDLESS LOVE (2014) (M)
(US, 2014)

CAST: Gabriella Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Rhys Wakefield, Dayo Okeniyi, Emma Rigby, Anna Enger, Fabianne Therese

PRODUCER: Pamela Abdy, Stephanie Savage, Josh Schwartz, Scott Stuber

DIRECTOR: Shana Feste

SCRIPT: Shana Feste, Joshua Safran

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Dunn

EDITOR: Maryanne Brandon

MUSIC: Christophe Beck

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Clay A. Griffith

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 13, 2014







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