Last night I had the pleasure of watching the American romance film, Endless Love.
The movie opens with a scene from a high school graduation, class of 1981. Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde), a shy but beautiful young woman, is graduating and will be attending Brown University in the fall. After the ceremony, it’s clear that she does not have any friends. Jade rejoins her family while reminiscing about her brother, Chris, who died from cancer. David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer) observes her from a distance. He has had a crush on her throughout high school, but never had the courage to speak to her.
Jade, her parents Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) and Anne (Joely Richardson), and her brother Keith (Rhys Wakefield) stop at an upscale restaurant for lunch after the graduation. While exiting the car, Jade bumps into David, who works as a valet at the restaurant. David mentions how they were classmates and she asks him to sign her empty yearbook. Inside the restaurant, Jade asks her parents for a party as a graduation present since she hasn’t socialized with her peers before. After her parents approve, Jade excitedly invites David to her party. After accepting her invite, David brings her on a brief joy ride in the car of a snobby guest, which thrills Jade. She and her family also observe David getting fired for getting into a physical altercation with the pretentious client when they return.
Jade’s requested party disappoints her at first when only her father’s wealthy, middle-aged friends show up. David arrives and informs Jade that her former classmates are at another graduation party occurring that same evening. David gets a large crowd of their peers to attend Jade’s party by calling in a false noise complaint with the police, which effectively shuts down the other event. The party becomes a success, and after bonding that night, Jade and David sneak into a closet to share a kiss. Hugh, slightly upset with the presence of the teenagers, gathers everybody together for a speech about how proud he is of Jade. When called for, Jade sheepishly comes out of the closet followed by David, stunning everyone. Her father completes the toast, thanking everyone for coming then politely asking them all to leave.
While leaving, David introduces himself and apologizes to Hugh, aware of his bad first impression. He makes it clear to him that he truly cares for Jade. Jade secretly listens to this conversation from inside the house and smiles at his words. As David leaves, Jade runs after him for a passionate kiss, beginning their romance.
David, who works at his father’s garage, tries to please Hugh by fixing a broken car that has sentimental value to him (it was Chris’s). In return, Anne invites David to dinner, at which Hugh reveals to David that Jade is leaving for an internship soon. When asked of his future plans, David says that he isn’t going to attend college; despite having passed his exams, he just wants to find true love. While Anne is impressed, Hugh is displeased since he finds it unrealistic. As David is leaving, Jade throws him a paper plane from her balcony asking him to come back inside the house when the lights are off. That night, David sees Jade waiting for him in a negligee. David assures her that they can wait, but Jade insists she wants to have sex. Afterwards, it becomes clear that they are in love.
The next day, Jade declines her father’s invite to observe a surgery at the hospital. Her father is taken aback by her not following his wishes in preparing herself for a career in medicine. Jade meets David and explains that she cannot pass up the internship, for which she is leaving in ten days. David just wants to spend their remaining time together. A montage shows them enjoying each other’s company with reckless abandon. After their last evening together, Jade decides to spend the summer with him. When her father finds her unpacking, he knows it’s because of David and is furious.
The next morning, Jade’s father announces that their family is going to their lake house; this upsets Jade, since Hugh is rather obviously doing this to keep her and David away from each other. Shortly after they arrive, David unexpectedly shows up and reveals that Jade invited him. Hugh insists that David leave, but Jade boldly points out that she – not her father – invited David, and declares that she wants him to stay. Later, Hugh talks with Anne about Jade’s uncharacteristic rebelliousness; Anne, however, is pleased to see their daughter truly happy for the first time since they buried Chris. Hugh later apologizes to David for being unwelcoming. David decides to apply for college, and Anne offers to write a letter of recommendation that should greatly help his chances of admission. That night – while Jade, David, Keith, and Keith’s girlfriend are outside setting off fireworks – David catches Hugh cheating on his wife in the garage. David is shocked. The next morning, Hugh takes David by boat to the center of the lake. He intimidates David into remaining quiet about the affair.
Trouble ensues when Jade and David get caught sneaking into a local zoo after hours for fun with some friends. David lets the police catch him so that the others can escape. When Jade begs her parents to bail him out of jail, her father displays a criminal record of David that he dug up on him, exposing a history of violence. Jade is distraught that her father has gone to such lengths for the purpose of breaking them up. Hugh finally agrees to bail David out, on the condition that Jade goes for the internship, which she agrees. Hugh tells David that his and Jade’s romance is over. Their tension escalates when David insults Hugh for his cheating, and when Hugh insults David’s father and criminal record. David snaps and punches Hugh. With a bloody face, Hugh goes home and tells them that David is out of control. Desperate for an explanation, Jade confronts David…who asks her to trust him despite his secrets and then walks away. Jade accuses him of being a coward, and for not fighting to maintain their relationship. She then gets into her car to drive away, moving David to run after her. She is slammed by another car.
At the hospital, Hugh takes David’s father aside and gives him a restraining order, demanding that David stay away from Jade. David’s father resists, arguing that they’re only kids, but Hugh refuses to hear him. When Jade wakes up, having suffered only minor injuries, she wants to see David. She goes to his house, but his father reluctantly refuses to let her in since that would land his son in prison.
Jade leaves for Brown while David stays home. They each try to move on with their lives, including seeing other people, but it is clear they are unhappy. Months go by and David runs into Anne in a bookstore. While having coffee together, she tells David that she admired his love for Jade. She arranges for him to meet Jade at the airport, when she comes home for the holidays. Anne confronts Hugh about his obsession with ruining David’s life. It’s then revealed that Hugh sabotaged David’s chances for college by making sure Anne’s recommendation letter was never sent. She voices her disapproval of the man he is becoming. Despite this, Hugh tries to stop David from meeting Jade. Meanwhile, David and Jade successfully meet and re-affirm their love. She agrees to meet him that night and go off with him.
Upon arriving home, Hugh fights with Keith and his girlfriend for being in Chris’s room. Keith and his girlfriend leave and Anne goes with them, having had it with Hugh’s behavior. Jade also has had enough of her father and tells him what she thinks of the way he has been dominating their lives ever since Chris’s death. Jade further declares that David will be a part of her life, whether Hugh likes it or not, and she is going wherever he goes. Seeing Jade’s packed bags in her room, he realizes her plans. Then Hugh sees David waiting for her outside and attacks him with a baseball bat. He furiously accuses David of wrecking things between him and his daughter. Jade intervenes and breaks up the fight, telling Hugh that if anyone hurt their family, it was him. Heartbroken over realizing the truth of Jade’s words, Hugh retreats inside as Jade prepares to leave with David.
Unknown to anyone, a candle has fallen over in Chris’s room during the fight…and ignited a fire. As Jade and David are leaving, they see that the house is in flames. Her father desperately tries to collect Chris’s things, as David rushes inside to save Hugh. When trying to open a window, David is knocked down and loses consciousness. Seeing this, Hugh puts down Chris’s belongings and picks up David. They both make it out and reconcile their differences.
The next scene shows Jade and Anne standing at Chris’s grave. Jade’s parents have separated. Hugh drops Jade off at the airport, where she meets David. Jade and David take a flight to California, where Keith and his girlfriend get married. The movie ends with the four of them on the beach as Jade and David lie next to each other. Jade’s voice over explains how her first love was everything all at once and is the kind of undying love that is worth fighting for.
It was a very good film, with an interesting plot that had a lot more going on than most romantic films. The acting was great throughout, with everyone giving strong performances. Special mentions must go to Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood and Robert Patrick, though the best performance for entertainment and creativity definitely came from Rhys Wakefield. Overall, an entertaining film that was easy to watch, and I’d feinitely recommend it.
Thanks for reading.