Critic’s Corner: ‘Endless Love’

When I first saw the trailer for “Endless Love,” I was a bit freaked out. In all honesty, the trailer seemed to be promoting a semi-pornographic film regarding young love. And I, for one, thought, how on earth did director Shana Feste and distributor Universal Pictures think that they could get an audience for this film? And yet, the film was still pretty freaking entertaining for a random viewing. The 104-minute feature, a remake of director Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 film of the same name, focuses on the blossoming love of two recent high school graduates and the summer they share together. The couple consists of the privileged Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) and the charismatic David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer), who, in Hugh Butterfield’s eyes, is a good-for-nothing low-life. Regardless of the patriarch’s notions of their “love,” Jade and David take us on a whirlwind romance that seems entirely unreal—and not necessarily in a good way. We learn in the very first scene of the film that David has been “in love” with Jade for almost the entirety of their high school years together, but has never once spoken to her. Creepy. Soon after, the two actually meet and speak to one another, and their relationship gets kicked into high gear. About 20 minutes after we first see the two meet, they’re having sex in front of a fireplace in Jade’s mansion. Seriously, what the hell is happening here. Aside from their “love” being almost completely unrealistic, it did not help the director or the overall final product of the film to have the high schoolers be played by former models. If I had gone to a high school with these people, I would have probably fallen in love rather quickly as well; yet, that is not the way of the real world. Awkwardness is a facet of these formative years, and here we have Wilde looking like a skinnier version of Kate Upton. It appears that Feste attempted to make these gorgeous actors seem more like teenagers through their over-accentuated actions, which did not help for the majority of the time. Jade seems more like a five-year-old than a 17-year-old when she giddily runs to her beloved family members and to David, flapping her arms in the air and kicking her knees up as if she’s never run before. Although there were some cute parts of the film, especially in regard to how Pettyfer and Wilde played up their infatuation for one another, there were a lot of disturbing bits that made the entire dynamic a bit worrisome. The patriarch of the Butterfield household (Bruce Greenwood) is scarily over-protective of his daughter, so much so that he becomes what I would describe as sadistic as the love between Jade and David becomes stronger. We are also shown way too much extravagance via the Butterfields, ranging from their mansion in Georgia to their lake-house where they go “just to get away.” Sure, there are families with wealth such as this throughout the world, but it made the film seem even more far-fetched for the expected audience. I think that there could not have been a better time to release this film—on Valentine’s Day—but the overall feel of the film made me realize just how terribly unrealistic this film is. The people who are viewing this film are more likely going to be glad to have their normal or casual relationships in comparison with that of Jade and David. For a director who only has four credits before this film, Feste cannot truthfully be blamed for this quasi-disaster of a film. Yet, based on the fact that I saw this film the

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day after it was released and was one of eight audience members of a large theater, whoever came up with the idea for this remake definitely should have their job title reevaluated.