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Simon Read [Celluloid 06.24.19] scifi drama romance

A science-fiction love story expanded from the 2014 short of the same name by writer-directors Cesar Esteban Alenda and Jose Esteban Alenda, Not the End sees Javier (Javier Rey) travelling back in time from the near future to the morning of the day that his wife Maria (Maria Leon) will kill herself. Javier waits until his past-self leaves for work, before waking Maria (who is unaware of the switch) and suggesting that they recreate their very first date. As they spend the day together travelling to the beach, we see that first date in flashbacks and begin to understand how Javier and Maria have changed, and what has, or will, lead Maria to suicide. Will this new day change their destinies, or is Maria's fate just that?

Is it uncool to admit a film has made you cry? (And do kids still use that word, 'cool'?) It's 2019, so I guess it's okay. Not the End made me cry. (Hey, stop laughing at the back.) It's not a film about time-travel as much as it is about how time changes people, how relationships can either develop and grow or wither and die, and that we can never truly go back to the way things were in the past. It is a quietly beautiful film, full of small moments, glances and gestures, that speak volumes.

Javier and Maria were young once, they fell in love. So, what happened to that love? In the younger Maria we see a woman full of life, her passion and curiosity at odds with young Javier's awkwardness and introverted nature. But opposites attract. The future, or present, Maria, is broken, can barely sit up in bed, and we sense that over the years it's Javier's disinterest in their relationship, his malaise, which has brought her to this point. Future Javier now understands how important she was to him, but it's taken her suicide to finally open his eyes. We wonder if he even deserves his second chance, but the question is, will Maria give him, and herself, that chance.

Although I went to this film anticipating a romantic spin on Primer or The Infinite Man, Not the End is far more meditative and sad, a drama which happens to feature time-travel rather than a straight up sci-fi flick. Don't let this put you off though, it is a genuinely rewarding experience, featuring exceptional performances, not least from Leon as Maria.

Recommended Release: Bokeh

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drrobk (2 years ago) Reply

I'm told by a 7-year old that "privo" is the new "cool"...

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