Endings, Beginnings is a movie that hits really close to home for me. The movie, starring Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan, had to skip a theatrical release and got a digital release on April 17 2020.
It’s a messy, meandering story about love – for others and for oneself. It’s about striking a balance and learning to accept and find peace in what you have.
Endings, Beginnings starts off with heartbreak. Daphne’s recent breakup with his long-term boyfriend Adrian changes her life – as it often happens with very intimate relationships. For her, he was the one. He was the perfect person for her, and the realisation that it won’t work out makes her leave him and her job (we’ll get to that in a bit) and move-in with her sister. There are moments here that reminded me of what it feels like to not feel anything and how hurt can sometimes manifest itself as numbness.
However, her sadness, and sobriety, comes to an end when she meets Jack and Frank at her sister’s New Year’s party. Both of the men are charismatic and have a magnetism about them. But their personalities are poles apart. Frank is a bad boy – free-spirited, adventurous and unpredictable. On the other hand, Jack is a writer and professor – intelligent, sensitive, sober and serious about his career. These two men are everything Daphne wants in a person, unfortunately they are split between two different people – poles apart. It also doesn’t help that they are best friends.
Daphne’s instant attraction to the two men starts a passionate and stable romance with Frank and Jack respectively. She doesn’t stop even when she gets to know about the two men’s friendship.
There’s a lot to unload in Endings, Beginnings. Daphne is confused with a very idealistic approach towards love. She wants both the personalities of Frank and Jack. Or maybe, she doesn’t know what she wants and thus both these poles opposite men attract her. There’s also the fact that she was almost raped at an office party after which she left her job. She hasn’t processed that part of her life yet and it comes back to haunt her and has a big impact on her life.
Things come to a head in Endings, Beginnings when Daphne finds out that she is pregnant. She decides to tell Jack about it and come out clean about her affair. Jack, understandably, is distraught and breaks things off with her. Frank doesn’t pick up her calls either, and she is left alone. This is probably her biggest fear. Daphne is not someone who functions very well alone, and has never thus been alone. She doesn’t know how to.
However, she makes the decision to keep the child and raise her on her own. On the way, she finds herself and decides to love her before trying to give love to others. She realises that she has no idea about how to take care of the child or how it will all work out – but she knows it will. That things are going to be ok.
Love and Loss
One of the reasons Daphne is how she is, is because of her mother. Daphne had grown up watching her mother move from one man to another – all for love. She then saw her sister Billie and her husband fighting and maybe somewhere she started believing that perfect relationships don’t exist. That people are supposed to either find passion or stability – there’s no in-between. And I felt for her – this dichotomy is a real thing when you come out of relationships or leave people that/who mean a lot to you.
But it’s okay. Things have a way of working out and it’s important to have faith in yourself and live one day at a time.
She also calls her old office to report her assault to the HR. It’s a very tender moment of moving on and letting go. Past baggage has a way of coming back to the present to weigh you down. It’s, thus, always a good idea to face them.
I don’t really have the answer to life’s problems and neither does this movie, because the same problem has a different solution for everyone. Endings, Beginnings does not try to give its audience an answer – it’s a raw depiction about the other, more difficult side of love. Shailene Woodley does a brilliant job as the broken Daphne – she’s passionate, raw and nuanced. You will feel the confusion that she is feeling all throughout. So are the two male leads – Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan. They’re true to their characters and are as raw as their female counterpart. Every scene of Endings, Beginnings is real and passionate.
However, I must mention here that it’s not a must-watch. It does make for a lazy and emotional watch for a quarantine afternoon though.