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The Sense of an Ending

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United Kingdom · 2017
Rated PG-13 · 1h 48m
Director Ritesh Batra
Starring Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter, Michelle Dockery
Genre Drama, Mystery

Tony Webster leads a reclusive and quiet life until long-buried secrets from his past force him to face the flawed recollections of his younger self, the truth about his first love, and the devastating consequences of decisions made a lifetime ago. Based on the acclaimed novel by Julian Barnes.

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What are critics saying?

63 by Christy Lemire

Not to sound derisive, but there’s definitely a target audience here. What they’ll get will be mildly satisfying: a film that’s well-acted but tastefully restrained to a fault, with gentle humor about aging and a central mystery that isn’t all that engaging.


The New York Times by Glenn Kenny

Directed by Ritesh Batra from a screenplay by Nick Payne, The Sense of an Ending maintains intrigue and emotional magnetism as its mystery unfolds.


Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

The Sense of an Ending, despite its polished construction and immaculate pedigree, doesn’t ultimately mean as much as it thinks it does.


The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo

The entire movie consists of this same delayed-gratification tactic, as significant events from Tony’s past are first teased and then revealed a bit at a time, via numerous flashbacks. A little of that sort of thing can be invigorating. Push it too far, however, and it starts to feel like a pointless game of narrative Keep Away.


Variety by Peter Debruge

In places, The Sense of an Ending seems almost frustratingly uninterested in establishing, much less solving, the riddles at its core, when in fact, it’s merely uninterested in pandering to those who lack the patience to appreciate its nuances.


Christian Science Monitor by Peter Rainer

Without an actor of Broadbent’s poise and humor, The Sense of an Ending – which, I must add, is appropriately also the title of a famous work of literary criticism by Frank Kermode about theories of fiction – would be a bit too fusty.


TheWrap by Ray Greene

Had this well-meaning movie been more willing to directly embrace its origins in Barnes’s luminous prose, it’s quite possible The Sense of an Ending might be something special rather than something worthy.


IndieWire by Steve Greene

Modest in its ambition but profound in its specificity, Batra gets to the core of the slipperiness of memory and the allure of the past. It’s not through grand pronouncements and cosmic love stories; instead, a handful of unshakable moments do the trick.


The Hollywood Reporter by Todd McCarthy

The lineup of fine actors keenly registers minute details about the passage of time with humor, wisdom and a sharp sense of how moments of rash or just misguided behavior can forever dictate a life's path.

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