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A Film Diary

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Watched: 24 November

A decades-spanning British drama by The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra, based on the well-received novel by Julian Barnes. Jim Broadbent stars as an elderly divorced Londoner and vintage camera shop owner (that’s fairly significant within the plot) named Tony, whose fleeting relationship with a young woman named Veronica during his late teens came abruptly to the end when she fell in love with one of his close friends. He is reminded of this episode in the present when he suddenly benefits from the estate of Veronica’s late mother; the film subsequently goes back to different periods in Tony’s life and charts the strange, single meeting that he had with Veronica’s family, as well as his reaction to being dumped, and then slowly fills in some (but not all) of the details of the interim years as he meets with Veronica in the present (Charlotte Rampling). Because of its focus on memory, unreliable narrators and the way that certain people’s perspectives on events can differ from others, the film reminded me a little of Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, which also starred Rampling. There is perhaps more mystery here, and more left open, which seems to have pleased some critics, but I found it all a bit dreary at times, and admittedly in recent years I have found it hard to distinguish one British period drama that focuses on white, upper-middle-class Oxbridge students during the 1950s or 1960s from the next. The Sense Of An Ending isn’t bad, but it never drew me in. (**½)

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