In 1981, a romantic drama film adapted from a novel of the same name by Scott Spencer graced the screens and filled the hearts of teenagers on dates in local cinemas. Endless Love featured Brooke Shields and Marton Hewitt in one of the cheesiest 80s films known to man and depicted a number of edgy and niche ideas not common in romantic films at the time. But this newer adaptation changes many of the elements of Spencer’s bestseller by avoiding the darker and more sinister aspects, replacing it with a tweeny melodrama that is glossy and dreary.
Working-class heart throb David (Alex Pettyfer) and privileged Jade (Gabriella Wilde) are two opposites who graduate from the same class in their small town. Having been obsessed with her for years, David takes to enlightening the closeted Jade and the two unexpectedly fall in love, spending the summer catching up on lost “teenage time”. But in true love story fashion, Jade’s stern father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) disapproves of the relationship and almost devotes his time to splitting the happy couple up. And thus the concept of the power of love comes into play and an endless love between the two characters shines through.
Plainly, Endless Love should not have been remade and it fall shorts in every instance. It’s unrealistic, predictable and an inaccurate depiction of modern day teenagers and love, avoiding teen angst altogether. David is the charming and sincere boy who is subject to the wrong-side-of-the-tracks prejudice; It is literally the 1980s brought back into an idealistic contemporary setting. The instant love formed between the two doesn’t translate well over to audiences and the Romeo and Juliet storyline is hackneyed so much that Endless Love is utterly tedious to a moviegoer.
Pettyfer is good as the lead David and in command of the character, ensuring that the “bad boy” doesn’t become a caricature or stereotype. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Wilde, who’s acting standards aren’t up to Pettyfer’s and forced reactions the main predicament here. Strangely the supporting actors are all very good, minus the shocking Emma Rigby. Australian Rhys Wakefield is pleasant as Jade’s older brother, as are Greenwood and Joley Richardson as Jade’s parents. The Hunger Games’ Dayo Okeniyi is also hilarious as David’s best friend and makes you think you’d rather watch a film about him than the monotonous love story exhibited.
The scriptwriting is flimsy and there are moments of laughter where there shouldn’t be. Clichés are the running trend in the film: emotionally scarred boy, overprotective father, jealous girlfriend, unhappy mother, indulged daughter, death of a family member and forbidden love mean that this movie can actually be guessed based on the trailer or short synopsis alone. By good chance the soundtrack (not the score) is particularly impressive and original and breathe of fresh air to the otherwise bland film.
The last part of the movie plays out like a Nicholas Sparks novel as mainstream climaxes infuse the already flawed script. It will be interesting to hear the thoughts of younger people on the film as the film isn’t an accurate reflection of their generation and may answer the long-time question on whether two attractive leads can impress despite bad scriptwriting. Regardless, Endless Love should’ve stayed back in the 80s.
Originally published on CelebrityOZ, February 17, 2014.
Watch the trailer for Endless Love below: