Title: Endless Love
Director: Shana Feste
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Gabrielle Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Rhys Wakefield and Dayo Okeniyi
Proving your uniqueness and worthiness of being recognized for your true personality and talents can be both challenging and invigorating. Not only do the two protagonists in the new romantic drama, ‘Endless Love,’ set out to prove their value and potential in their blossoming relationship to each other, as well as their families, friends and society, but the film also yearns to showcase it’s distinctiveness from the 1981 Brook Shieldds film of the same name it’s based on. The new remake, which was directed by Shana Feste, who co-wrote the script with Joshua Safran, showcases both the triumphs and struggles people face when trying to create their own identity, and move based certain expectations that are sometimes unfairly placed on them.
‘Endless Love,’ which is also based the story of the Scott Spencer 1979 book of the same name, follows David (Alex Pettyfer), the son of the local car mechanic, Harry (Robert Patrick), who seems as though he has no potential or promising future. He’s still pinning for the isolated Jade (Gabriella Wilde), who has cut herself off from connecting with her peers since the death of her older brother two years before. After convincing her overprotective parents, surgeon Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) and writer mother, Anne (Joely Richardson), to let her have a graduation party, in a final attempt to connect with her peers, Jade finally realizes she has the same feelings for David.
Jade and David start spending time together, much to the reluctance of Hugh, who’s determined to have his daughter immediately start focusing on her future and her pursuit of a career in medicine. When she debates if she should forgo her summer internship to spend time with her new boyfriend before starting at Brown University in the fall, her father sets out to keep them apart. While David’s friends, including Mace (Dayo Okeniyi) and Jenny (Emma Rigby), also protest the fact that he’s spending all this time with Jade, the two are determined to be together, and savor their first love. But Anne and Jade’s other brother, Keith (Rhys Wakefield), do support the fact that she’s finally embracing life again, and encourage her to go after what truly makes her happy, even if it means their family starts to unravel.
Wilde, who has garnered fame for her supporting roles several other remakes, including ‘Carrie‘ and ‘The Three Musketeers,’ was the standout performer in ‘Endless Love.’ The former model, who has genuinely grown accustomed to infusing a relatability to the modernization of her characters in her updated dramas, proved that despite Jade’s all-American looks and seemingly perfect home life, her adolescence hasn’t been as perfect as it seems. She longs for personal contact with her classmates, despite her parents’ continuous sheltering of her since her brother’s death. As a result, she understandably finds comfort in the fact that David would do anything to be with, and protect, her. The actress shows that unlike her father, Jade doesn’t care about the mistakes people have made in their pasts, or what their social standing is, as long as they work to live up to their potential in the present and future.
While Wilde gave a sentimental performance as the socially and personally prosperous Jade, Feste and Safran unfortunately failed to infuse the modernized story of Spencer’s novel with gripping, unique dialogue. The at-times cliched language and situations that arose between Jade and David when they were fighting over their future and worthiness of each other, as well as the conflict between the once sheltered teen and her father over her love’s potential, took away the authenticity of the romantic drama. The inevitable meeting between Jade and David on their graduation day, during his last-ditch attempt to draw her attention before they went their separate ways into adulthood, predictably led to their defiance against Hugh’s objections, as they wanted to experience falling in love for the first time on their own.
Though the dialogue featured in ‘Endless Love’ offered little originality or surprises, the drama did gracefully showcase Jade’s revolution throughout the course of the story through the costumes created by Stacey Battat. The designer originally outfitted the blossoming protagonist in clothing that reflected her introverted personality, including conservative dresses while spending time with her family. But once she truly begins spending time with David, and she realizes he can offer her a more gratifying, fulfilling life than just staying home all the time, she isn’t afraid to experiment with her outfits. From the vibrant, strapless red dress she wore to her graduation party, to the revealing bikinis she easily wears while on vacation with her family at their lake house, Battat’s clothing choices effortlessly show the drastic transformation of the once reclusive teen.
‘Endless Love’ offers a sentimental look into the lengths teens will go to in order to discover who they truly are, and what they want to do with their lives. Between the relatable, authentic drive Wilde infused into Jade as she took whatever means necessary to secure her relationship and future with David, to the elegant costumes created by Battat that creatively showcased Jade’s emotional transformation, the romantic drama showcased the gripping coming-0f-age story many teens face as they set out to experience the world on their own. While the dialogue and scenarios Feste and Safran included in the remake were at times dowdy and cliched, the drama surely appeals to teens and hopeless romantics yearning to relate to, and experience, first true love on the big screen.
Written by: Karen Benardello