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November 21, 2014

Movie Review: Forever's End (2013)

Directed by JC Schroeder

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Sarah White (Charity Farrel) lives on a bucolic farm in the middle of nowhere where it is eternally springtime six years after an unspecified apocalypse has left her the last person on Earth. She whiles away her days doing housework and harvesting organic vegetables, occasionally drifting into reveries about a terrible tragedy involving herself and her father in an urban alleyway. One day her sister Lily (Lili Reinhart) shows up on her doorstep during a rainstorm. She refuses to tell Sarah where's she's been but drops ominous hints … “You really don't remember what happened, do you?” A male figure comes snooping around the farmhouse late one night and Sarah shoots him dead, stashing the body in the barn.  A tall, dark stranger named Ryan then appears, who assures Sarah that the world didn't end, and that they're people and cities a few days walking distance away. Lily isn't keen on Ryan; like her, he's playing mind games with our heroine: “You don't remember who I am, do you?” Tensions arise among the various personalities involved, and the aforementioned traumatic past event comes colliding into the dream-like present. Sarah learns the real reason behind her isolation – for better or worse. 

Any audience member will be savvy enough to discern that Sarah isn't living in a post-apocalyptic world; not a single cannibalistic zombie dots the horizon and the skies are free of any radioactive clouds. Viewers will quickly deduct that her life on the farm is an idealized way of dealing with a past, terrible tragedy hinted at in the flashbacks. The story has been done before, with bigger budgets, but Forever's End makes for highly compelling viewing that rivets attention. Forever's End fits snugly in with the “millennial unreality” films that came in the wake of The Matrix back in 1999. Details about the character's past are deliberately kept out of reach of the audience, forcing them to reach subjective conclusions by the clues left strewn throughout the narrative.

Forever's End shares a lot with the recent indie hit I am a Ghost (2013); a single setting, details that only make sense once we retrace our steps through the film and a heroine deep in denial. Forever's End casts a spell using uniformly meager resources, but maintains viewer interest throughout. Forever's End does have its flaws, with some unpolished performances and a slow midsection, but you'll be glued to the screen until the very end.

Those entering Forever's End's hermetic, sealed universe should know beforehand that the film's conclusion leaves many threads untied, and will have them contemplating the film's “meaning.” Sold as a simple romantic coming-of-age story, Forever's End reminds us that things are rarely ever that simple.

Forever's End is available as both a DVD and as VOD. The film's official Web site is here.

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