I may put on a callous facade, but in reality I’m just a big romantic loser. Everyone likes feeling stupid every now and then, sacrificing great opportunities just to be with someone who makes your stomach feel weird, and stuff. But some people take it too far, like the kind of couples who declare their love for one other twice a day over Facebook, or make a point of kissing in public, or who completely remove themselves from society in order to spend all their time saying boring things to one another. David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer) and Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) are part of this group of people.
Even on paper, Endless Love is insufferable. It’s churn-out romance, a remake of the 1981 movie of the same name that nobody liked either, and follows two post-grads who suddenly throw themselves into a melodramatic relationship. They do this because they have to; after all, the filmmakers do go out of their ways to provide all the traditional set-up clichés. They even saturate the girl with coy innocence, the boy with ‘not-good-enough-ness,’ and situate the pair beneath an overbearing father who absolutely cannot bring himself to treat his daughter like an actual person.
With nothing interesting to say about the romance itself, it is on Jade’s father that much of the attention is spent. Once this narrative strand becomes boring, it quickly becomes grating, and while the father character is obviously there as an antagonist, his constant vitriol starts to boil your blood without ever much of a payoff. It’d be alright if he was actually interesting as a character, but that’s the problem of the whole film, really; Endless Love is accurate and realistic in that it depicts human beings as a set of massive idiots.
Just joking, of course. None of the characters resemble the way real people behave, and every single beat of the movie reeks of cheese. The movie would be much better if it took a satirical route, because the only aspects of David and Jade’s relationship that do resemble reality are the aspects that are usually the most annoying; everything positive that happens to them is straight out of the most fantastical of romance novels. And yet we’re supposed to buy into the image of ‘tr00 luv xo’ that this movie purports, as if there was ever any possibility of us identifying with such a pathetic set of pricks. Worse still, the politics of this thing are ridiculous, especially for 2014 – these two white kids become the embodiment of passion and desire, while David’s black friend is basically there as some meathead put in the film to make us laugh, and to later get David into trouble.
Then again, I guess I’m putting too much thought into it. Endless Love begs to be taken as a simple love story, and as a result it provides simple pleasures for people with simple tastes. Unless you’re ready to buy into the same old romantic schtick as has been demonstrated a million times before, there is nothing – maybe even less than nothing – that this movie can provide. It could be a good drinking game, however, to put on Endless Love at a party and then drink every time you find yourself tutting, cringing, or laughing. On second thoughts, probably not; you’d be wasted.
Endless Love was directed by Shana Feste, written by Shana Feste and Joshua Safran (based on the novel of the same name by Scott Spencer) and stars Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Rhys Wakefield and Dayo Okeniyi. It drags on for 104 minutes and is a production of Bluegrass Films and Fake Empire Productions. Distributed in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray by Universal Pictures UK (but don’t buy it). Originally released in 2014.