Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde star in Shana Feste’s remake of the 80s classic romantic drama, Endless Love; but will it fair better than its predecessor?
What’s It About? The film tells the story of a privileged young girl who became a social recluse after the death of her older brother. But before heading to university, she falls in love with a charismatic boy and begins a passionate affair that soon makes her question her future. Seeing the change in their daughter, her parents try to end the relationship, forcing the pair to fight for their love.
Verdict: The 1981 Endless Love is mainly remembered for the soundtrack duet by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, so a remake wasn’t going to ruffle too many feathers.
Director Shana Feste decided to team up with Joshua Safran to write a script that would relate more to the youth of today by working in all the stereotypical expectations of modern romance flicks. No more than 10 minutes goes by without someone talking about David and Jade’s intense and inspirational love, making it almost impossible for us to actually take it seriously.
The film starts with Alex Pettyfer (David) introducing the audience to Jade Butterfield (Wilde) as he watches her from afar. Thankfully, Dayo Okeniyi, who plays David’s best friend Mace, makes the development of their relationship more enjoyable and brings laughs throughout the film.
The focus is mainly on the two lovebirds, but you soon find yourself more interested in the relationships of the other characters.
Joely Richardson does well as the well-meaning mother who sees how loveless her marriage has become as she watches love bloom between David and Jade. And the constant tension between Jade’s dad (Bruce Greenwood) and the rest of the family provides a bit more depth to the story.
While I appreciate the fireplace love scene is a clear throwback to the original, it didn’t flow naturally within the film and simply felt too orchestrated. The big fire also plays a part, but is thankfully far less destructive to the characters’ relationships.
Scott Spencer, who wrote the book that inspired the original film, has already written an article about how the spirit of his novel was lost in the Franco Zeffirelli version and is nowhere to be seen in this new re-visioning. Maybe one day we’ll get another attempt that actually looks at the destructive violence of young erotic obsession.
Final Words: While the original tried to break new ground, this remake focuses more on every teenage girls’ dream about their first love. Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde and the entire cast put in good performances despite the predictable script. Better than the original and it does enough to please the Nicholas Sparks crowd!
Endless Love is in UK cinemas on Valentine’s Day 2014.