As a horror fan, the word “remake” digs up mixed emotions, but as a fan of all cinema, one has to question the merits behind remaking a romantic film. Aren’t they all essentially just remakes anyway? People fall in love, some obstacle gets in the way, hearts are broken, said hearts are then mended and *usually* everyone lives happily ever after – don’t see much deviation except the who, when, and where – but a straight remake? Thankfully, Endless Love strays extremely far from Franco Zeffirelli’s original film, as similarities boil down to character names, a tale of forbidden fruits, and one chance encounter with a raging fire. No one can stop the unbreakable bonds of true love, not even an irrational father with a restraining order – LOVE KNOWS NO LAWS!
Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) lived her high school days mourning the loss of her brother, sticking close to her lavishly wealthy family as they all coped together. David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer) is a hard working son of a mechanic with a school boy crush on Jade, but as high school came and went, David never made a single move. Looking to change that, David has a chance encounter with Jade that leads to a fiery, passionate love between the two. Opposed to the idea, Jade’s father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) doesn’t see a happy daughter, but instead a brilliant medical student throwing away the perfect internship opportunity just to spend a few extra days with her new man. Can Jade avoid her father’s narrow-minded aggression and spend the summer with David? Will their freshly kindled love be stomped out prematurely?
We all saw that Endless Love trailer featuring Skylar Grey’s softly haunting rendition of “Addicted To Love,” right? We all saw how Endless Love was portrayed as this romantic thriller, possibly pitting a young, bucking Alex Pettyfer against a stern, fatherly Bruce Greenwood? Right. Forget that. Erase the word “thriller” and every possible synonym from your hopeful mind. Endless Love vomits nothing but teenie-bopper tear-jerkers in typical Hollywood fashion, possessing an exciting “bite” comparable to a de-fanged, de-clawed baby lion taking a nap – minus the adorableness. Unless you’re a starry eyed tween with Alex Pettyfer posters plastering your walls, I suggest arming yourself with the biggest barf-bag possible.
So what do we learn from Endless Love? Pettyfer and Wilde struggle to establish chemistry beyond being eye-pleasing hardbodies, so we quickly learn that Shana Feste created nothing but a hollow bit of eye-watering pornography. What follows though honestly left me speechless – more than any horror movie. Aside from assuring viewers that nothing will equate to your first love, an abhorrent comparison is suggested, equating breaking up with your pre-college boyfriend to grieving the loss of a son or daughter – specifically a son in this case. Seriously – downright baffling. Broaching the topic with the grace of a hormone-pumping high schooler, this Hallmark propaganda momentarily suggests an untimely death and an unfortunate breakup are level competition. You hear that, kids? You only have one chance at love, and if it doesn’t work – you might as well just die. Brilliant message!
Hugh Butterfield is a horrid, cartoonish villain of a father, more like an obsessive prison warden, turning Endless Love into a classical Shakespearean tale – if William fell on hard times and was forced to sell out. Credit Bruce Greenwood for trying, but he comes across as this Dick Dastardly type who’s always sneaking around behind people’s backs, tearing his family apart piece by piece – knowingly. Shunning his son, oppressing his daughter, neglecting his wife – what should have been an examination on tragedy spirals uncontrollably into your Grandma’s favorite General Hospital side-story. While my complaints may come across as cold and unresponsive, do understand that I’m sure people exist as such, but for the common moviegoer, there won’t be an ounce of relativity to the Butterfield family.
Endless Love was conceived as a vessel to inspire hope, but all I found was another Hollywood love-story where everything ends perfectly – except for the new boyfriend that Jade drops like a hot potato. I always love the unacknowledged casualties – Jade comes home from college a taken woman, yet David’s true love can’t be denied – so they run away together forever. Does anyone else see something wrong with Jade dating a man while still being undeniably smitten by David’s studly charms, only to ignore him the minute she comes home? Oh right, true love – I’m sure that poor med student COMPLETELY understood.
A loveless bastard I most certainly am not, as I’m constantly searching for my “Ramona Flowers,” but maybe I’ve just become a callous cynic after so many stereotypical fairy tales attempt to mirror romantic “reality” – right, reality. I honestly hate stereotypes and don’t pay them much mind, but there are two (vastly comical) cinematic generalizations that Endless Love unknowingly evokes. Women complain that men get these fantastical ideas about how sex should play out thanks to the filthy, smutty pornography we watch (right, only “we”) – but what about women who won’t settle for anything less than Alex Pettyfer in Endless Love? As silly as they are, I’ve heard such babbling before – it’s a shame that Shana Feste plays right into such ridiculousness.
God bless the dreamers and the hopeless romantics – but everyone’s first “true love” is different. Love isn’t mastered on the first try, and although there’s nothing more touching than high school sweethearts, sometimes those we adore the most do get away – but we’re strong enough to move on.
I'm surprised my ticket to Endless Love didn't come with a complimentary pint of Häagen-Dazs and a bottle of red wine - usual supplements to such gratuitous emotional pornography.