REVIEW: “THE END OF US” SXSW Film Festival (2021)

Ali Vingiano is Leah and Ben Coleman is Nick in co-writer & directors Steven Kanter and Henry Loevner‘s “THE END OF US”. This is a fun jaunty little look at what happens when a four year relationship ends abruptly just as the pandemic is setting in and because of the stay-at-home orders that are kicking in everywhere, we get to go on a very different journey of what would usually happen at the end of a relationship. What happens? You end up being forced to continue to live together. Why the breakup? Well, it seems Leah is the grounded one who holds a real, actual paying job and is just done with carrying the load of the relationship in regards to basic things like rent, food, and bills. While Nick, well Nick lives in a dream world of wanting to writing a screenplay and trying to get the few acting auditions that might be available. So it’s easy to connect the dots when Leah says ‘enough’.

The whole situation is unusual, yet the film makes it all work focusing on the issues the two still had to deal with while living under the same roof as it presented its own challenges. With Nick taking a turn sleeping on the couch as the two come to terms with the fact that they are together more now than…well..when they were actually together. The tension and stress is as prevalent as they confide in Zoom meetings with friends Tim (Derrick Joseph DeBlasis), Lois (Kate Peterman) and Hector (Gadiel Del Orbe), that are sometimes overheard by one another and factors in some of the petty emotions that come into play, as do the real ones as well. Apologies and half-apologies are constant, but we see both Leah and Nick change and grow despite the all the challenges presented to them. The ‘will they’ or ‘won’t they’ of getting back together is freshly done and keeps it compelling enough to watch.

Both lead actors are solid and made it work as their chemistry was great throughout and kept it fun. Along with that, the script is fresh and spot on and made the film work as a whole. There are some ‘moments’ but relatability is the key here. Nice work from all involved here as this one would work whether in a pandemic or not.

Grade: B


Review Screening: Courtesy of 42West and SXSW Film Festival

Fun note: The End of Us sent me this!!

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