Drama Reviews Film Reviews

END OF SENTENCE Review

Honoring his late wife’s final wish, a father and his son travel to Ireland to spread her ashes. Their journey is not without issues, as they deal with grief while confronting their own failed relationship. Starring John Hawkes and Logan Lerman, End of Sentence is a unique father-son story that showcases the complicated dynamic of estrangement.

Fresh out of prison, Sean (Lerman) is looking to start over on the West Coast. But with his mother Anna’s recent passing, his estranged father Frank (Hawkes) asks that he join him to spread her ashes in Ireland, her home country. Reluctant to go, Sean agrees under the condition that he gets a ticket back to California and they agree to not speak again.

Once in Ireland, they begin their road trip to the remote lake she had requested, but not before stopping in Dublin for a wake with her friends and family. After chatting with some guests, Frank learns of a past boyfriend of Anna’s, which brings him a sense of unease, as she had never mentioned it before. Meanwhile, Sean focuses more on a cute girl at the bar named Jewel (Sarah Bolger).

The next morning, they continue on their drive, with Jewel hitching a ride alongside. As they get closer to their destination, and the trip coming to an end, they realize how truly different they are from one another. All the while Frank continues to struggle with the revelations of his wife’s previous love.

Directed by Elfar Adalsteins, with a screenplay by Michael Armbruster, End of Sentence tackles an interesting flawed family dynamic, with a lot of unexpected layers to it. What really kept my intrigue was how the film explores all of this without sugarcoating its story. You can make assumptions about where you think the direction will go, but it steers clear of any formulaic paths; taking viewers on an emotional ride.

Without getting into any narrative spoilers, I will say I found much of its beauty to be within its themes of grief. I appreciated how it took these very wildly different people and showcased how they processed not only their mutual loss, but also past traumas. And while Lerman certainly delivers a great performance, Hawkes is the one who really steals the show with his heartbreaking portrayal.

This film was such a nice, mild drama with a touching story and beautiful backdrop. Though the best aspect is undoubtedly the magnetic performances by its stars, who really tug on the audiences emotions. End of Sentence make look like a simplistic film you could look past, but it provides so much more than you could assume.

End of Sentence is available now on Starz

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