I have followed the acting careers of Shailene Woodley, Sebastian Stan, and Jamie Dornan for a while now. I have traced my interests with each back to the early 2010s, with Stan and Dornan featuring in the early seasons of Once Upon a Time, and Woodley starring in the Divergent series. When I saw that the three of them had come together in Endings, Beginnings, I knew instantly that it would be a film I would enjoy. And my, was that an understatement.
Not only did the impressive, improvised acting in this film draw me in, but director Drake Doremus’s take is exquisite. The film’s grainy cinematography combined with up-close intimate shots make the film feel raw and fresh. And this, alongside the moving soundtrack, truly make it such a beautiful piece of film.
Having seen Stan play a range of mysterious characters over the years, all men of few words (like Marvel’s Bucky Barnes), it’s clear that he has truly mastered the art of speaking with his eyes. Every scene he is in you just cannot take your eyes off him (and I am not just talking about those steamy scenes with Woodley).
Woodley plays Daphne, an artist who leaves L.A. after a traumatic experience and returns home to live in her sister Billie’s (Lindsay Sloane) pool house. Throughout the film flashbacks of Daphne’s trauma are woven in particularly well, implicitly telling us what happened, and it’s after these flashbacks, that she decides to become celibate, whilst also completely cutting out alcohol.
But, this all changes at her sister’s New Years Eve party.
It’s at this party that Daphné meets Jack (Dornan), and before long it seems the pair are already well acquainted. At the same NYE party, Daphne establishes a similar connection with Frank (Stan). Daphne instantly connects with the pair, but later finds out that they are best friends—making this love triangle that little bit more complex.
I would not necessarily say the pair of men are polar opposites, but there are some clear differences. Frank is a free-spirited and mysterious guy, while Jack is career driven and sensitive. They both cater for Daphne’s needs; Jack gives Daphne stability and encouragement, whereas Frank reminds her it is okay to be care-free and just have fun. The pair become essential in Daphne’s path to finding herself.
Daphne fails to see how she can be loved, as her traumatic experience leads her to: split up with her boyfriend Adrian (Matthew Gray Gubler); live at her sister’s house, who is constantly arguing with her husband; and fall for two guys—one who appears to love his career more, and one who cannot connect with his own emotions.
In the end, however, Daphne learns to become independent as she prepares to bring her child into the world. Daphne’s friend Igrid (Kyra Sedgwick) points out to her that this child will love her and that that is enough for her to be strong.
Overall, the film hits the right notes and the fact that the majority of it was improvised truly gives it that natural feeling. Woodley, Stan and Dornan work remarkably well together, each bouncing off each other in the random scenarios the characters found themselves in.
Above all Endings, Beginnings is a film that I will forever love and recommend. It is truly a film to connect with.
Words by Jen Charlton.
Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Endings, Beginnings is available on Netflix.
Support The Indiependent
We’re trying to raise £200 a month to help cover our operational costs. This includes our ‘Writer of the Month’ awards, where we recognise the amazing work produced by our contributor team. If you’ve enjoyed reading our site, we’d really appreciate it if you could donate to The Indiependent. Whether you can give £1 or £10, you’d be making a huge difference to our small team.