Reviewed by: Nicole Granath
CONTRIBUTOR—first time reviewer
|Featuring:||Alex Pettyfer … David Axelrod
Gabriella Wilde … Jade Butterfield
Emma Rigby … Jenny
Bruce Greenwood … Hugh Butterfield
Dayo Okeniyi … Mace
|Director:||Shana Feste—“Country Strong,” “The Greatest”|
“Say goodbye to innocence”
Remake of “Endless Love” (1981)
“Endless Love” is a coming-of-age, romance/drama geared toward young adults. Like most romantic films of its kind, the two main characters are quickly swept away by love’s undeterrable tidal wave. Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) is a beautiful, blond senior in high school, who finds herself without a friend at graduation—except for David (Alex Pettyfer). This tall, dark and handsome young man has a secret crush on Jade, and has been admiring her from afar.
Due to the death of Jade’s brother during her sophomore year, the young woman has become withdrawn and shy. Her family and her school books are her closest friends, but this is all about to change. Meeting David sparks a curiosity and wonder in her heart, and makes her feel like she never has before. Yet, her priorities clash with her overprotective, albeit loving father (Bruce Greenwood), whose focus is on getting Jade off to her Ivy League college on the right foot. Jade is torn between pleasing her father, and spending more time with David, as they grow more intimate and attached every day.
Is it worth it to give up an important internship that could help her get into medical school, in order to spend the whole summer with David? Jade’s father doesn’t think so. No one would be good enough for his daughter, but especially not a boy who works in his father’s mechanic shop, is not planning on going to college, and who has a rebellious streak.
In an attempt to thwart their relationship, he will discover and bring to light a dark secret from David’s past. But Mr. Butterfield (Bruce Greenwood) also has a secret of his own, which could cast doubt on his own goodness and faithfulness. Can the “true love” that Jade and David have together prevail, or will they be forced to go their separate ways? Will Jade’s picture-perfect family remain intact? Family ties, loss and grief, stereotypes, and true love are all explored in this poignant, if somewhat long-winded film.
Positives: Jade is shown, in the beginning of the film, as a stand-up young lady, who has worked hard during her high school years to be able to get into a medical school program and become a doctor, like her father. She is portrayed as being close to her family, and her parents and brother all seem to be kind, loving and moral people. She seems to be an obedient, compliant daughter. The love the Butterfield family has for, Chris, the son who passed away, is evident. There is a scene in the film that shows that possessions and memorabilia, even of a loved one who has passed away, are not as important as the lives of those who still remain. Mending ties in one’s family is portrayed as being very important. David’s best friend is hilarious, and it’s fun to watch him interact and joke around with David. Keith (Rhys Wakefield), the surviving brother in the Butterfield family, is also funny and light-hearted, and appears to genuinely care about his sister’s happiness and well-being. Real, true love is said to be something “worth fighting for”.
Negatives: David, although being a sweet young man who obviously cares for Jade, is also portrayed as having a rebellious side. There are a couple instances of him doing rebellious/unlawful things. The film also shows teen partying, and there is one scene where teens decide to break into a zoo after hours and “get really high.” Although Jade does come out of her shell and make friends, which is a good thing, she also becomes rebellious toward her father, who does appear to have her best interests at heart. Jade also decides to have sex outside of marriage, even though David says he can wait. No consequences are ever shown for this decision, which is contrary to what the Bible teaches about sexual sin.
There is another scene where it appears that David and his ex-girlfriend have had (or are about to have) a sexual encounter outside marriage. David also walks in on Jade’s father as he is kissing a woman other than his wife. Clearly, this is forbidden by our Lord.
There is no mention in the film about turning to the Lord for our problems, or for guidance in life in general. The Bible says,
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
God loves us and wants us to come to Him for wisdom and direction in life. He also wants to help us with our pain. As Christians, we know that death is not the end. We do not mourn as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). If only the Butterfield family had known the Lord, they would have had the hope of heaven to get them through as they dealt with the death of their beloved son and brother, Christopher.
Lastly, the film seems to encourage the idea that if a marriage relationship is not making both partners happy, it is acceptable to get a separation or divorce. However, Malachi 2:16 says, “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel…”.
What does it mean to be “the husband of one wife”? Answer
Love may start off electric and passionate, as in the case of David and Jade, but it changes over time. Marriage has many ebbs and flows; every moment is not filled with fireworks. Lasting love within a marriage has to include a deep commitment and conviction to stay together. It requires one to keep working things out, through the happy times as well as the trials and challenges. True love should be modeled after the love Jesus has for us.
Self-sacrifice and the relinquishing of our own desires for another is what true love is really all about.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate to heavy—OMG (4), Jesus Christ (1), Oh G*d (1), d*mn (2), hell (1), f-word (1), *sshole (2), s-words / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy—cleavage, girls in bikinis, girl strips to bra and panties, girl in sheer nightgown drops the gown providing brief partial views of breasts, boy strips to underpants, passionate kisses, sexual comments, sex
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…A love-struck soundtrack saturates much of the gauzy imagery… Still, some surprising performances rise above a skin-deep plot. … Every time things between blue-collar David (Pettyfer) and pretty, privileged Jade (Wilde) get sticky—either kissy/gooey or teary/hurt-y—and the film could go deep, “Endless” morphs into music video territory. …
—Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
…A highly homogenized and sanitized remake that’s little better than its 1981 predecessor. …the film almost becomes more about the most disturbed adult character than about the young lovers themselves. …
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…Feste and co-scripter Joshua Safran turn a dark tale of self-destructive romantic obsession into an innocuous fairy tale about the shining power of puppy love…
—Ronnie Scheib, Variety
…About the only original touch is how the script, by Ms. Feste and Joshua Safran, shifts the story’s weight to Hugh, whose love for his daughter smolders with all the weird, lunatic intensity that’s otherwise missing. …
—Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
…endlessly silly… A jaw-dropping groanfest of teen romance cliches…
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
…Too silly to be romantic and not near campy enough to be enjoyable… By the dictates of forbidden love, Hugh [Dad] is of course cartoonishly villanous — he is cheating on his wife, he secretely investigates David’s past, he viciously baits David into hitting him…
—David Berry, National Post
…“Endless Love” should make Hollywood break up with remakes… The usual star-crossed lover problems ensue: frustrating obstacles, misunderstandings, arguments, violence and drama, all of which ultimately are wrapped up in a neat, Lifetime movie-of-the-week fashion. …
—Sue Pierman, Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
…this film is so colossally tone-deaf and off-key in every way that its collection of jarring missteps almost carries it into the arms of perverse comedy…
—Louis Black, The Austin Chronicle