Endless Love - Review

Endless Love starring Alex Pettyfer (I am Number 4, Magic Mike) and Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers, Carrie) is one of this year’s Valentine’s Day releases, along with Are We Officially Dating? (Zac Efron and Imogen Poots) and Winter’s Tale (Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and Jessica Brown Findlay). Chances are a lot of you guys out there might end up seeing one of these films, and perhaps not by choice ....and you had better hope it is not Endless Love.

Endless Love is something like a romantic fantasy for teen girls with Everest level heights of drama. The story follows the bumpy romance of pretty-lovelorn simple-dreamer, David Elliott (Pettyfer who shall henceforth be called Prettyfer) and lonely, studious, also very pretty rich-girl Jade Butterfield (Wilde). Both have recently graduated from the same high school, with David looking to help his father in their Garage and Jade destined for a prestigious medical education at Brown University, obsessively encouraged by her father, Hugh Butterfield played by Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek, I,Robot).
The Butterfields are reeling from the loss of their son Chris. With each family member dealing with it in their own way, but father, Hugh, displaying the most exaggerated forms of grief. He keeps Chris’s room as a shrine and fixates on his daughter, rather than his other son, as the one with most chances of being an over-achiever, a gap which brother Chris left behind... and herein lies the problem. Jade’s newfound, intense romance with David threatens to derail the start to her promising medical career and Dad is not happy. 

The major appeal for a film like this is the satisfaction of seeing gorgeous young things get together, and according to the film, young love looks something like a cross between a perfume and cola “summertime” commercial, complete with meadow walks, picking flowers, outdoor concerts and river swimming. There is believable chemistry between Prettyfer and Wilde, but mostly felt on a physical level as their characters do not run deep in personality. Prettyfer is sympathetic as David who is a “Mr Perfect” for teen girls. He is very attractive, sensitive and also the kind of complete romantic that publicly declares all he needs in life to be content is to love that special someone and have their love in return. We are also meant to believe that Jade was a shy, retiring, bookworm and Wilde has that sweet, innocent, wide-eyed kind of face complete with long flowing golden hair. But all we really see in the film is a girl fixated and in the throes of love, who prances around and teasingly flashes her pretty knickers under summer dresses...a gentle kind of nympho. 

Their characters are essentially defined by their love, David’s in giving it and Jade’s in glowingly receiving it. And I have to admit, that on some base romantic level, I did root for them to get together, but the major problem with Endless Love is that it is so full of extremes, it becomes ridiculously silly and unintentionally funny. Jade’s controlling father is relentlessly cunning and intimidating in his attempts to sabotage their romance, teetering on psychopathic. There were a few times I could actually imagine him about to “off” David, particularly in one scene with the two isolated on a lake in a boat.

The film escalates in drama from thinly veiled threats and secret romantic rendezvous to verbal and physical threats, lies, deceit, run-ins with police, other lovers, car accidents and more...there is no limit to the obstacles thrown in Jade and David’s way. In the tradition of recent popular TV teen dramas such as The OC, Gossip Girl and Revenge, the film also plays into a fantasy of extreme wealth and this provides for attractive visuals such as the Butterfield’s mansion, their holiday home by the lake, nice cars and fashion. Even David’s hovering ex-girlfriend’s pouty lips and massive eyes are extreme, played with oddly creepy effect by young actress Emma Rigby. 

A film like Endless Love, has its place in entertainment life, usually as a film that a group of teenage girls can go together to see, to be silly and enjoy some completely superficial attractiveness...and probably ogle Prettyfer. But it really is not very good and if you are looking for a romantic film to share with your partner, you would be better served by Disney’s Tangled or Frozen and more likely find something in it that you can both enjoy. Endless Love is in cinemas now. 

If you see the film, please share your thoughts below.
- Emily


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