SXSW FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! The End of Us, a pandemic rom-com, has all the recognizable paranoia and COVID-19 hassles that everyone knows from living in lockdown all this time. However, directors and writers Henry Loevner and Steven Kanter provide all the necessary cinematic charm and storytelling to keep your interest in the film where you feel you already know the outcome.
As California goes into lockdown and COVID-19 becomes a reality, Nick (Ben Coleman) and Leah (Ali Vingiano) have come to the end of their relationship. Nick, a struggling actor and all-around bohemian, has to move on and out of the house. Leah, a working professional climbing the corporate ladder, who embraces the creative, has made the decision to end their relationship of several years in a home that represents both of them.
At the same time, the pandemic begins to wrap its ugly head around their lives with job losses, money issues, health obsession, and all the stay-at-home protocols and behaviors that became the norm in the age of the coronavirus. In this case, Nick and Leah are forced to deal with each other, the lockdown, and their breakup with no place to go except room to room of the house.
“…California goes into lockdown…[just when] Nick and Leah have come to the end of their relationship.”
The End of Us does not just happen around the house. Shots of empty parking lots, streets, and L.A. freeways keep the eeriness of the pandemic at the forefront, along with having meetings in cars and a reminder of social distancing awareness at every turn. Unfortunately, the coronavirus does not care about your emotions or your broke financial state of being. So, the couple’s life continues, and we watch them drive each other mad.
Then they hit a turning point, and we get a glimpse of their past relationship and believe they could possibly reconcile. Coleman and Vingiano’s chemistry really sells the will they/won’t dynamic at play, as the film could go either way. Knowing the genre, though, the ending will not come as a great shock. Still, the filmmakers do an excellent at investing us into these characters and their lives.
In the making of this film, in the times of a pandemic, a small crew did a great job with coverage and ingenuity, with so many limitations to their ability to tell this story well. The End of Us should resonate with many people who were in lockdown facing similar situations. As the film nears its end with Day 63, much has happened, and life continues on, just a bit different, as we all know.
The End of Us screened at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival.
"…Coleman and Vingiano's chemistry really sells the will they/won't dynamic at play..."