The Sense of an Ending | Chicago Reader

The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes's engrossing novel about an old, divorced Londoner radically reassessing his past gets a conventional but penetrating treatment from director Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox) and the perfectly cast Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling. The protagonist (Broadbent), owner of a vintage camera shop, lives in peaceful coexistence with his ex-wife (Harriet Walter) and pregnant lesbian daughter (Michelle Dockery), but then an unexpected bequest from a will forces him to reconsider the suicide of an old college pal four decades earlier and to make contact again with the lover they shared (Rampling). Screenwriter Nick Payne has a hard time objectifying Barnes's sustained musing over the intricacies of time and memory, but the melodrama alone conveys the writer's conviction that even in old age one's understanding of life can be swept away in an instant. With Emily Mortimer.

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