End of Sentence movie review (2020)

End of Sentence is a father and son drama which, at first, seems slow in pacing and sometimes feels like there isn’t a clear direction. But, it eventually pays off with a plot revelation that makes it all worthwhile.

Prior to watching End of Sentence, there were plenty of rave reviews surrounding it, which is why it peaked my interest. Plus, I’ve been a big fan of Logan Lerman ever since watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Now, after seeing it, I can say I enjoyed it, even though it’s a bit different than what I expected.

End of Sentence tells the story of an estranged father (Frank) and son (Sean) who travel to Northern Ireland to release the ashes of the son’s mother after passing away from cancer. However, it isn’t that simple considering the strained relationship between the father and son and it takes some convincing to get the son to agree to the trip after his release from prison.

Along the way, I found myself with a number of questions surrounding their relationship, such as why Sean treats him the way he does and why the father acts a bit awkward in certain social gatherings and other situations. Although I was intrigued by what was happening and invested in the potential outcome of it all, I found myself a bit confused at times since it didn’t seem there was a clear direction in terms of where their relationship was going, even though the goal of spreading the ashes in a river was clear to me.

I’m glad to say, however, that it does come full circle. You learn Sean acts maliciously towards his father because of specific situations. For example, how his grandfather would abuse him right in front of him and his father would ignore it. The film doesn’t dig too deeply into that aspect, but that’s what I understood from it. I won’t dig too much in this details, however, to avoid potential spoilers.

But, there’s one scene that truly explains everything, including why the father acts and does certain things, and it opens up a completely different kind of understanding and, in many ways, compassion from the son towards his father. That’s where I truly think the movie starts to excel.

In many ways, I feel the ultimate goal of this movie was repairing the broken relationship between Frank and Sean, not just taking the mother’s ashes to Ireland. Yes, the main premise of the film is truly important, but I feel the mother planned this all along so that Frank and Sean can understand each a bit more and, for once in a long time, act like father and son again.

The acting is great all the way through, especially from Lerman (Sean) and John Hawkes (Frank). Sarah Bolger’s performance was also great, even though her role didn’t seem all that necessary at the end. She played a pivotal role, I feel, in certain character decisions, especially for Frank, but I can’t say I’m a fan what they ended up doing with her character.

End of Sentence was a very therapeutic watch for me since I’ve always enjoyed the father and son stories and this ranks pretty high for some of the recent ones I’ve seen due to how it ends up paying off. It still has some minor issues with pacing and small character decisions, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it all come together in the end.

Score: B+

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