Handsomely mounted and deeply sincere, The Sense Of An Ending is based on the Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Julian Barnes about aging, regret, and the sneaking suspicion that we’re all somehow passengers in our own lives.
A gimlet-eyed and self-deprecating Jim Broadbent is Tony Webster, the aged proprietor of what must be London’s smallest storefront business: a camera shop dedicated to the sale of classic Leica cameras.
There’s a quiet obsession behind the hyper-specificity of Tony’s inventory. Back in the mid-1960s, Tony’s first love Veronica (Freya Mavor) introduced him to the Leica brand before running off with his best friend Adrian (Joe Alwyn), causing a wound Tony still carries, 50 years on.
A last will and testament thrusts Veronica back into Tony’s life after decades apart, where he finds her as enigmatic as ever (and played by a warily coquettish Charlotte Rampling). Tony has inherited Adrian’s diary but Veronica refuses to hand the possibly revelatory pages over. The reappearance of so many old ghosts pitches Tony into his own past, where he must confront both his lack of closure and his own role in a forgotten tragedy he and Veronica share.
As he demonstrated previously with his sweet comedy The Lunchbox, director Ritesh Batra has a knack for the nuances of human interaction. The scenes between Broadbent and Harriet Walter (‘The Crown’) as Tony’s patient and compassionate ex-wife are soulful and lived-in. Broadbent is incapable of giving a false performance, and he does fine work here.
– Ray Greene, The Wrap