The Sense of an Ending

This film came close to being a very good movie. But close does not win a cinematic cigar.

The Sense of an EndingThe trouble with Director Ritesh Batra’s The Sense of an Ending is that the ending made no sense. Though the film tells an intriguing tale of an aging British retiree, played by the always competent Jim Broadbent, who is struggling with memories of youth, a critical loose end is left totally unanswered.

In summary, Mr. Broadbent plays Tony Webster, a divorced retiree running a small camera shop. One day he receives a letter from a law firm, and his life is dramatically changed.

The letter is from the now deceased mother of an old girlfriend who left him in college, and it says it contains a diary of his best friend who ran off with the then love of his life. The problem is that there is no diary in the envelope.

Tony is left in a quandary, and he is left reliving moments from his past. Obviously, he quickly remembers Veronica (Freya Mavor), a college girl who looks like Hayley Mills. Unfortunately, while you see his attraction to her, she appears to be a rather dull, uninteresting young woman.

Tragedy struck the new young couple, and Tony seeks out the advice of his ex-wife Margaret (Harriet Walter), an individual who clearly represents the smartest person in the film. Also helping is his pregnant, single daughter Susie (Michelle Dockerty), a young girl who sees her father morphing into a stalker as he tries to solve his dilemma.

The problem of the film flows from Tony’s meeting with Veronica in a restaurant, and no one plays a distant, morose woman better than Charlotte Rampling. Following that meeting, Tony follows Veronica and sees her walking with a young man he soon presumes to be her son. That turns out to be a mistake.

Unfortunately, that mistake concerning the identity of that lad is never answered, and it left me approaching several people after leaving the theater to see if they could provide an answer that escaped me. They couldn’t. What’s worse, there was reason to conclude that the young Tony had some type of sexual relationship with Veronica’s outgoing mother (played effectively as always in a small role by Emily Mortimer), but that issue was never addressed.

Given that the film is based on a bestselling book, the answer to this principal question had to be answered in those pages. If you read it, please answer this question. Was Tony the father of his old flame’s brother? Inquiring minds want to know.